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When your hometown contains Mt. St. Helens, and you’ve been to Yosemite already, someplace called Lassen Volcanic National Park seems passé. However, on innumerable trips to California on I-5, the curiosity eventually guides you along the turn-off to see what’s up. The good news is if you’re a Boy Scout, or someone who likes to hike, Lassen is for you. The bad news is that there’s lots of snow on the ground and the lakes are frozen over in the middle of July.
Highlights include bubbling mudpots along the side of the road, but what did stand out, something I’ve only experienced a couple times in my life, is that we walked amongst miles of blooming yellow flowers, called Mule’s Ears. I don’t know why the mountainsides were cleared of trees; snow slides maybe, fires, some kind of heavy erosion, but it gave gigantic cleared areas for these uniformly knee-high plants. My guess is that they only bloom for a week or two, and we happen to serendipitously time our visit. Luck has a lot to do with how you feel about a place, especially the outdoors.
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