Friday, August 22, 2014

From Burney to Home ~ June 26-28, 2014

Sorry for the delay in finishing the Great Northwest Tour story. Life has a habit of getting in the way now and then. More on that later. Glad you could come along for the ride. 

Up to Burney Falls after breakfast. A light rain just before we arrived left that wonderful fresh smell and jewels on all the trail side sentries. We took the Falls Trail down Burney Creek to Lake Britton. The loop is about 3.4 miles. 

Falls Overlook
Burney Creek

If you've never been to McArthur Burney Falls put it on your bucket list. We posted a short movie on youtube. The link is: http://YouTube/-TEqxkQ_4G8

From Burney we backtrack a few miles to pick up Hwy 89 south to Lassen National Park. There is little or no traffic throughout the park. We pulled over at Devastation to read about the May 1915 eruption. 

Photo Credit National Park Service

Several groups of hot springs and fumaroles, remnants of former volcanic activity, exist in the park: Bumpass Hell (love the name) and the Sulphur Works are two of the better known. We stopped at the Works to read about it's history. Pillars of steam from fumaroles billow across the road, the mudpot bubbles next to the sidewalk. Ah, the smell of sulphur in the morning.

The brilliant coloration of the area is from clay minerals, formed when hot, acidic water percolates through the volcanic rock. Standing next to the mudpot visitors are actually standing in middle of an ancient volcano called Mt. Tehama that once towered at 11,000 feet half a million years ago. Five miles below the ground lies a giant pool of magma. 

Head down out of the mountains on Hwy 89 to Chester and Lake Almanor for the night. The clouds have pulled back to reveal a beautiful afternoon drive.  

June 27th ~ We leave Chester in the morning and head south on Hwy 89 to pick up Hwy 119 west: a varied terrain of lava, woods, wildflowers and stunning views to the west as you come down out of the mountains.

When we come in along the eastern side of Lake Oroville we are totally shocked. The waterline seems to be at least 100 feet below the dam, it's under 35% of capacity. Further evidence of drought conditions in the West. 

Last stop on this adventure is a visit with my Aunt Betty and her husband Bob in Durham. We have a delightful dinner with them and spend the night in Chico.

June 28th ~ Time to head home on our last set of back roads: miles of walnut, olive and fruit groves, rolling hills, aqueducts and farmland. Hwy 45 to Hwy 20 to Hwy 29 to Hwy 12 and home. 

We've been on the ultimate full circle tour of almost three weeks: 23 rural highways in California and Oregon. From the ocean to the high desert, along the Cascades and Sierras, from sea level to 9,000 feet. A grand adventure and a superb time out: songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Huesen may have said it best lyrics excerpted from their song It's Nice to go Traveling:

It's oh, so nice to go trav'ling, 
But it's so much nicer, 
Yes, it's so much nicer to come home.

It's oh, so nice just to wander,
But it's so much nicer
Yes it's oh, so nice to wander back.