Post 149: Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
I'd like to tell you everything that I know about Lassen Volcanic National Park, ..... but as your reading this on the internet already, I suggest that 'Wikipedia' would be far more educational than I. What I will tell you is this: If you haven't already been here, then buy a ticket, steal a bike and come explore. Americans keep telling me that we English have great history, .. indeed we do, ... but I for one would gladly trade a little of our 'History' for a little of their 'Geography'. At ever corner I'm assaulted once more by 'Choice; stop and take pictures or accelerate and grind out another 'hero-blob' on the beautifully smooth tarmac,... always a difficult choice but I'm learning to compromise.
America is making me lazy, ... or the warnings of bears, rattle snakes, Lyme's disease and mountain lions is finally sinking in, .... but I stop at Manzanita Lake for a spot of 'Official Camping'. The benefit of 'Official Camping' aside from the flushing toilets and showers, is the 'Fire Ring'. Through every town in Northern California you see signs hand painted by children and adults, often placed alongside national flags, thanking the local fire fighters for their efforts and sacrifices. In these rural parts, fire fighters are 'Volunteers', and above the threat of earthquake or flood, ...... FIRE is the one danger that everybody fears and respects. Each year dozens of volunteer fire fighters give their lives protecting the lives and properties of others. The 'Fire Ring' is a circle of steel or concrete in which the happy camper builds his or her fire. Start a fire in any other place and you will be dead, ... either from the fire itself, ..... or by the actions of the enraged locals, .... be warned, the choice is yours.
In order to save money, I disregard the 'logs for sale' sign and scavenge the other abandoned fires for suitable wood. As night falls I regret my efforts at economising. I sit looking at a smouldering wreck as others enjoy the warmth and blaze of real fires. I'm camping at 8,000ft, it's cold, .. perhaps I've become too arrogant, .. if these logs didn't burn on the fires of other campers, .. then why did I for one moment think that they would on my own? Next time, .. I'll part with $6, .. and enjoy a warm evening.