A Return to Lassen County

Smoke veils the late afternoon view of Reading Peak and Mount Lassen on September 2, 2020.

The invitation to spend eight days at a dear friend’s cabin near Lassen Volcanic National Park could not have come at a better time for me and my dog, Stella. Daily bouts of anxiety, depression, and disappointment were beginning to adversely affect my well being, my relationships, and my ability to joyfully create meaningful art for myself, and my patrons.

Daku stands guard while Stella excavates for lizards.

Since I would be spending the first four days at the cabin alone, Sandy agreed to let me take her dog, Daku, with me. Having his big dog energy was reassuring to both Stella and I, and we genuinely love him.

Hiking the trail to Devil’s Kitchen in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Rarely do I leave the property once I have arrived but a Saturday morning hike to Devil’s Kitchen with my husband would afford my friend a day of solitude at the cabin. I applauded his willingness to give the 4.2 mile hike a go despite the discomfort that would likely result from him walking the distance in mismatched boots! Impressive, on a couple of levels.

George on the boardwalk, discomfort from his mismatched boots not yet impairing his gait.
We yield the path to a Drakesbad Guest Ranch trail guide as we make our ascent.

Drakesbad Guest Ranch, located within the park, offers trail rides to a number of geothermal sites. The guide said “Looking out across the broad meadow, you can almost imagine the Cartwright brothers from the TV show Bonanza to ride into view.” Different mountain range, I thought to myself as I snapped the cowboy’s picture.

One of the many fumeroles viewable from the Devil’s Kitchen loop trail.
Volcanic gas escapes into the atmosphere below a Pine and Incense Cedar tree lined ridge.

Steam vents, boiling springs, and bubbling mudpots are indicators that the volcanic center still smolders. And such has been the rhythm of my creative flow. It smolders. Slowly. Steadily. Although there is no way to predict when the next eruption will occur, we know that it will.

Be well, stay safe.

T.

© 2020, Theresa Mae Funk. All rights reserved.

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