After we realized it was going to be in the mid-90s in the Alvord Desert in the end of June, we decided to find an alternate destination for our 10 day vacation. Neither of us had ever been to Lassen Volcanic National Park and after seeing one too many gorgeous instagram photo from there, it was time to check it out! Everything I read said it was one of the few 'non busy' natioanl parks and that finding a camping spot would be no problem. Of course, we didn't factor in that 2 of the 3 main campgrounds in the National Park were closed until July 1st. So that left Manzanita Lake Campground which was pretty much packed by the time we arrived Friday afternoon. We ended up finding the last spot, situated perfectly (ahem) near the bathrooms/shower/water. However, we were determined to make it work for a couple days to explore the National Park and then see what else we could find. And then our less than idyllic campsite experience was then met with another unfortunate incident. Since dogs aren't really allowed on any trails in National Parks, we left Inga happily napping in the Airstream while we took a walk around gorgeous Lake Manzanita. When we returned, Bill opened the door to find a scene out of a blood-spattered horror movie! Poor Inga had an abscess that must have quickly formed and then burst (and then of course she shook herself and wandered through the Airstream). We managed to get her cleaned up and kept an eye on it over the next couple days since we were quite far from any town with vet services.
I will skip over the next morning where we went on a lovely hike to a waterfall which resulted in me almost keeling over with dehydration and altitude sickness. Fun! We managed to catch some of the other sights in Lassen National Forest but the coolest looking hike (and wonderfully named - Bumpass Hell) was still closed due to snow. But our luck was soon to change! We realized we needed to figure out a new campsite and went scouting in the Lassen National Forest (just outside of the National Park boundaries, which generally means much cheaper campgrounds and/or dispersed camping that allows dogs). And lo and behold, we found the perfect spot! A National Forest campground along a beautiful little creek with huge spots (and decent enough roads to get the Airstream in safely). Did I mention it was FREE? There were no services except some vault toilets but we were set to boondock in the Airstream for at least 5 days.
Stay tuned for a couple more posts about our fire lookout visits and other cool spots in Lassen. For now, enjoy some gorgeous photos of our campsite (and bonus milky way shots!)