Friday, June 17, 2011


I had a goal. I wanted to climb the Cinder Cone in Lassen NP. It looked so cool and at four miles round trip with 700 ft. elevation change, I thought I could do it.

For those of you who are interested, this trail is accessed via a gravel road off state road 44. I had previously checked with the visitor center on the condition of the road and they assured me that our low-clearance vehicle would be fine. And it was, that was not the problem.

It was a gorgeous day with not a cloud in the sky. Most of the trail wanders through a sparse ponderosa pine forest by fantastic lava beds. These flows were from the mid 1600s although they sure look more recent. It's amazing to me how the lava flowed in such a thick mass, then just stopped.

After about 1 1/2 miles, there it was, the Cinder Cone. But wait, didn't I ask if there was snow on the trail? And where is the trail?

A lady who was waiting for her family to get back down told me this is it. Yikes! But she said it was actually easier climbing in the snow than on the cinders which is like climbing in deep sand.

So I started up, and sure enough, it wasn't too bad. I just put my feet where the others had and it was like climbing stairs. I was moving right along then suddenly I realized, "Oh No! At some point I have to get back down." And I didn't listen to Ron who told me to bring my hiking sticks. So I carefully turned around and inched my way back down. (I am really terrible going down a steep trail.)

This is as far up as I went. I feel like such a failure and a wimp.

I'm sure the view would have been much better from farther up.

It did make me feel a little better watching the others slip and slide coming down, but not much since they had made it to the top.

On our way home, we stopped at a viewpoint and I got one last shot of Mt. Lassen. This area had burned recently and I though the skeleton trees were interesting too.


  1. NOT a failure in my book, you were being smart!! Its a beautiful area for sure I cant believe SNOW when its 98 in the shade here--and getting hotter!! My sister and I think this will be the year the Rainbow Bridge in Lake Powell has water under it again--once all the snow has finally melted in the high country!

  2. Better to be cautious than to get to the top and then injure yourself coming down.

  3. As someone who turned back from a hike today, well done. Better safe than sorry! (I'm picking up crampons for some high-elevation hiking.)

  4. Being bad at downhill hiking must run in the family!