The Danish Blacksmith’s Mountain

The blacksmith in this case being Peter Lassen, and the mountain Lassen Peak. Tangentially, Megowan means “son of the blacksmith”, though some sources suggest this is not in Danish.

Done hiking the Klamaths (until another year), it is on to the southernmost major peak of the Cascades. Here are my brother-in-law Brian and his sons Matt and Kyle in front of Helen Lake, w/Lassen’s summit behind. Matt and Kyle are very strong; I think they should have carried us, but it didn’t work that way.

Bumpass Hell was much prettier than the name suggests, but you definitely don’t want to repeat the mistake of Kendall VanHook Bumpass, who in the 1860’s twice broke through crusts in this 16 acre hydrothermal hotbed to scald his leg, the 2nd time eventually requiring amputation. What with fumaroles steaming, springs boiling, and mudpots blurping it smelled a good deal of rotten eggs here. One boiling spring was coated with a slick of fool’s gold, though in the light it looked black, not gold. Other boiling pools had a wonderful pale turquoise color, like this one:

The following day we climbed Lassen, a bit over 2000 feet of ascent on a scenic and generally well graded though exposed trail. From the summit plateau you could see Mt. Shasta far to the north, a final trailside view of the mountain I spent the last two and a half weeks skirting via the Klamath Mountains.

This lovely view is currently obscured by smoke from a complex of fires just to the north, and the summit trail is closed.

The black lava in the picture’s middle ground is allegedly the most recently created rock in California, black dacite from the 1915-17 eruptions. Other quartz-speckled dacites near the summit are brown, gray, yellowish, and even a dusty plum. Even on these dry and inhospitable slopes there were occasional bright patches of flowers blooming post haste in the short growing season.

Lurking off the main trail in a maze of lava towers in the summit crater was this:

A crop circle, proof of aliens!

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