May 24, 2018 by Deborah W. Trotter
The day after tomorrow, Saturday, May 26, is the official day to walk or ride your bike on a 19-mile section of the road through Lassen Volcanic National Park before it opens to automobile traffic the next day. (Details here.) While there will be no cars, there will be lots of people. I was able to get up to the park one day earlier this month to walk on the road when there was still no one else around, and the park was still awakening from winter slumber.
Leaving my car at the Devastated Area, I walked away from the parking lot and into the embrace of nature, the embrace of one of my favorite places on earth. I admit that walking on a paved road is not quite the same as disappearing into the wilderness, but I knew that the only other creatures I might encounter would be those who call the park home. It made me feel slightly like an intruder. As it turned out, I didn’t see any other creatures at all, but I heard the wind in the evergreens, and listened to the sounds of mountain water both in the snow melt trickling beside the road, and gushing under the road and plunging down Hat Creek. And I felt like I belonged there, then.
Before I left the park I stopped by the entrance station to follow the trail part way around Manzanita Lake. As I sat on a log with my boots nearly in the water to take some photographs, I heard over and over again a soft splash beneath the willows nearby, but I could never see what was making it.
It’s that time of year again. Find a place to go out . . . and go in.