Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

8/28/2006

Bats, Bears, and Boiling Mud

Filed under: — stan @ 9:35 pm

Monday was an interesting day. It began early in the morning. Daylight was just seeping in through the blinds when we heard a strange noise. I got up to look out the window, but I didn’t see anything outside. But when I turned to get back in bed, something flew past my face. At first I thought it was a very big moth, but then I realized it was a bat. I told Cathy, “It’s a bat” and she dove under the covers. Being a good and attentive husband, I immediately ran upstairs and got my camera. I snapped some pictures of the bat as it flew laps around our room. Then I took the screen out of the window, thinking that the bat’s echolocation would see the opening. But it kept flying laps around our room. So I finally just held the screen up in its path. The bat whacked into the screen and grabbed onto it. Then I stuck the screen out the window and the bat took off and flew away.

After that excitement, we all went upstairs for breakfast. While I was cooking, I looked out the window and I saw a bear. Monday is trash day, and the bear was walking from house to house, checking everyone’s trash cans. We all were looking out the window at the bear when it stopped, stood up, and put its nose up to the window. At this point I started to think that maybe it wasn’t such a good thing for the bear to know we were in there. So we all went away from the window, and the bear checked out our trash can before walking away.

Finally, we finished breakfast and got ready to go. Today’s adventure was our side trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park. This is about 200 miles from Tahoe, so we were going there for three days to see the sights.

We left Tahoe and headed over the hill to Carson City and Reno. Then we took 395 north all the way to Susanville, where we stopped for lunch at the Black Bear Diner. We thought we’d continue with our bear theme for the day. The food was all right, and the portions were suitably bear-sized. Then we headed out on Highway 36 to get to Lassen.

We had arranged to rent a cabin in the town of Mineral, which is just outside the park. When we got there, the town turned out to be an interersection with a gas station, a general store, and a little restaurant. The sign said, “Mineral, Pop 90″. The cabin was nice, but it had no TV and no phone. And our cell phones didn’t work there. Bein’ city folk, we were somewhat unsure what to make of this. But the inside was decorated in a rustic bear motif, which seemed appropriate.

After unloading the car, we headed into the park. Our first stop was Sulphur Works, which is a set of sulfur vents and mud pots very near the entrance to the park. Next, we headed farther into the park, stopping at a small snowbank next to the road. This was the first time Lucinda had ever seen natural snow close-up, and she wanted to play in it.

The next stop was the trail to Bumpass Hell. We hiked out there, stopping at a few more snowbanks along the way. When we got there, we got to see boiling mud pots, boiling ponds, and gas vents with sulfur crystals growing in them. It was very entertaining.

By the time we got back to the car, it was nearly dark, and we set out in search of a restaurant for dinner. We had been told that the little restaurant in Mineral closed at 6:00, so we started back down Highway 36 toward Chester, which is a somewhat larger town. Along the way, we finally found The St. Bernard Lodge, which was open. So we went in and had dinner. I had the biggest hamburger I’ve ever seen, and Cathy and Lucinda shared the biggest ribs they’d ever seen. Then we headed back to our cabin for the night. Being that there was no TV, there wasn’t anything for Lucinda to do, so we all just went to bed.

All the pictures from the day are in our photo album.

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