Three day hikes offer something for everyone in Lassen Volcanic National Park, located east of Redding, California. If you start from the north on Highway 89, the 1.7-mile Manzanita Lake Loop is a relaxing warmup. Head south to the other two trails: three-mile Bumpass Hell Trail and the tough, five-mile climb to Lassen Peak, 10,457 feet, and back. The Bumpass trail transports walkers to a boardwalk, which passes through a hydrothermal area. Sue and I walked the lake loop and Bumpass trail in half a day, but decided against tackling the peak in the warm afternoon sun. (I was tempted, though.) Looking for more? The park offers 150 miles of hiking and if you are walking the Pacific Crest Trail, you’ll get fantastic views as you pass through yet another national park. If you’re camping, the Manzanita Lake campground looked great and was still open in mid-October. The three day hikes close sometime in fall until spring. (Thanks to Sue for the photos!)
While in the eastern U.S., Sue and I just had to walk the Appalachian Trail. Not all 2,135 miles of it and not even the 544 miles of the AT that runs through Virginia.
The Massie Gap Trail in Grayson Highlands State Park took us up to the AT, where we witnessed some of the best views of the entire iconic trail, according to our state parks guide. And a rhododendron forest that hadn’t bloomed despite it being late April. There was not a wild pony in sight either, despite warnings not to feed them.
We saw a couple of northbound thru hikers with medium-sized backpacks, but they sped by too quickly for us to ask how far they were going. Then we came to a group of 15 or so adults and teen-agers laden with huge backpacks.
“You must be going a long way,” Sue asked them. ”Yep,” said a woman leading the group. “We’re out for three days!”
We are proud to say we walked the Appalachian Trail, at least a couple miles of it in southwestern Virginia.