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Lassen Volcanic national park is the site of Lassen Peak, the largest plug-dome volcano in the world, and the southern most volcano in the Cascade Range. It is the farther North in California I have ever been! Laura, Jesse, Scott, Eric, Patrick, other Eric, Madalina, Michelle, Walter, James, Katie, Emily, Becca, Mitch, Ray, and Danny came on this trip. Laura did much of the organizing and Emily was kind enough to invite me. To be honest, I didn't really know any of them too well beforehand.

Friday afternoon I took off work early and carpooled with Jesse and Becca from Menlo Park. We suffered though some rush hour traffic leaving the Bay Area and stopped once for groceries/dinner and once for gas. Jessie works at Nvidia and Becca is a thermodynamics expert who studies theoretical inefficiencies of energy systems (power plants) - way cool. We arrived after the first crew, but well before the last at the Lost Creek group site. A fire was already being made for us. That night consisted mostly of introductions and adjusting to the smell of the composting toilet. Yum. We ate bratwurst and cheeze stuffed mushrooms - the first of many lavish meals to com. Super Yum!

Saturday morning breakfast consisted of bananas, yogurt, and eggs and bacon on croissant breakfast sandwiches. I made friends with one of the Indian children at the neighboring campsite. Then, we packed our swim trunks and water bottles and drove out of the park to the west and around to Butte Lake. The road into Butte Lake was dusty and unimproved, but Jesse drove his Nissan at a good clip to ensure Patrick didn't have all the fun. From Butte Lake, we completed a six-mile hike of Prospect peak, from which we could see Mt Shasta and the Cinder Cone, an alien looking hollow cone of a volcano surround by a toroid of basketball sized black quartz piles 40ft tall. The "fantastic" quartz has been distributed in the toroidal shaped by an eruption long ago. Unfortunately, while going up was easy, hiking down proved to be quite painful for my left knee. Time to see a doctor. Laura and Patrick were kind enough to join me in the caboose.

We then ate some granola bars and went swimming in Butte Lake which seemed to have rather extreme temperature variations. The water felt good after a long walk in the dry California air. We through a frisbee around as a young couple pretended were were not there from 100ft away.

Saturday night we feasted yet again with steaks for everyone (prepared by Patrick), dutch-oven mac and cheese (prepared by Michelle), and salad (prepared by Laura and others). Danny instructed me on how to create the perfect peach cobbler, and I briefly help Scott walk a slack line. Scott's wife is a Vet and he is a global salesman for a company that makes vacuum manufacturing products. Eric, Eric, Danny, Emily, and I spent the evening sipping at the picnic table-turned bar and talking about life.

On Sunday we ate another full breakfast, but did not finish the 6lbs of bacon Jesse had provided. We drove through the entirety of the park and stopped at Bumpass hell, with a view of Mt. Lassen. I read and rested as the crew hiked to what the aptly-named sulfur springs. Bumpass was a dude who discovered the springs and tried to turn them into a tourist location/resource mine, but fell in and lost his leg in the scalding water. We stopped at THE Sierra Nevada brewery on the trip back.