Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the most spectacular park that we saw in our recent vacation . The park is located in California. It is a natural laboratory of volcanic events and hydrothermal features. Its hydrothermal areas -- Sulphur Works, Bumpass Hell, Little Hot Springs Valley, Boiling Springs Lake, Devils Kitchen and Terminal Geyser -- offer bubbling mud ponds, steaming fumaroles and boiling water. The park lies at the southern end of the Cascade Range, which is a chain of active volcanoes that stretches north to Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia. The park is famous not only for its beauty but also because of the fact that it is the only place in the world where all the four different types of volcanoes -- composite, lava-domes, cinder-cones and shields -- can be found. It also serves as an example of how Mount St. Helen might recover from its eruption in 1980. The eruption of the Lassen Peak in 1915 destroyed the whole area around it. Forests were leveled; animals disappeared; rocks and boulders, from that eruption, still lies scattered around the park. However, the scenery has completely changed -- streams are again flowing, lakes are brimming, animals and birds are back and thick forests, meadows and open grass lands have covered the area.
Diversity in plant, animal and insect lives abound in the park. It has nearly 800 species of plants. The land is also an important part of American history as Atsugewi, Maidu, Yahi and Yana Native American tribes have ancestral lands in the park. We love our national park to death. Yosemite National Park gets more than 450,000 visitors in a month. The beauty of nature gets lost among people, cars, tourist-buses, campers and bikes. Such is not the case with Lassen. Less than 450,000 visitors visit the park every year. Thus, tranquility and serenity pervades the place. Blue-sky with puffing white clouds over your head and volcanic rock and debris strewn roads or soft grasses under your feet welcomes you. The barren volcanic peaks and domes with snow or small glaciers can be seen all around. The peaks slope down to Alpine forests or wild-flower meadows. Alpine grasslands create break and openings in the forest where deers graze and curiously look at us. Clear, azure-blue lakes dot the land. Calmness is everywhere; the trees stand tall in reverence and meditation; not even a leaf stirs among them; nature is temple; mother earth is the goddess, and all her creatures, there, are praying to her in silence. The silence is broken only by the strange music created by the buzzing of an insect as it flies, a longing whistle of a bird from far afar and a school of birds suddenly taking into air on seeing us. Moss and lichens cover the trees and hung from them like garlands hanging from the neck of some beautiful women. As the web-like lichens and moss sway in the air, they create a magical show of light and shadow on the forest ground. Tiny, beautiful wild-flowers peek out from the nooks and crannies of rocks and boulders lying on the forest floor. One has to be careful while walking so as not to trample those flowers. Religious-minded people, visiting the park, would surely agree with Jean Jacques Rousseau as he celebrates the beauty of nature, "Sometimes, in the privacy of my study, with my hands pressed tight over my eyes or in the darkness of the night, I am of the opinion that there is no God. But look yonder: the rising sun, as it scatters the mists that cover the earth, and lays bare the wondrous glittering scene of nature, disperses at the same moment all cloud from my soul. I find my faith again." John Muir's description of Sierra, "Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever," aptly describes Lassen National Park. Nature has and is still trying to create one of its grandest creation here. Among the peace and tranquility, one can see the destructive and dynamic work of nature.
As I have mentioned before that photographs do not do justice to the beauties of nature. Still we tried to capture it through our lenses. Click on each picture to see a larger version.