Finding beauty amongst the smoke

Learned a lesson the hard way: Do not try to visit a park without checking the status beforehand. After driving for about 4 or 5 hours, we discovered that the road going through Lassen Volcanic National Park is closed due to fire hazards in the area. The entire cinder cone area and disaster area is closed. Fires are surrounding the park in seemingly all directions. And smoke is ever present in the air. So much for getting a breath of fresh mountain air. And so much for exploring important key features of the park. Luckily there are still some areas in the southwest portion of the park that are still accessible. But those will have to wait until tomorrow.

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A mountain east from Mount Lassen, on fire.
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Smoke filled valleys and ranges as fire surrounded us
Smoke near Lassen National Park, looking toward Mount Shasta.
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Smoke around sunset along highway 36, heading west toward Chester.
Smoke on highway 36 around sunset

After finding out the northern entrance was closed, we had to go around to the east (fire directly to the west threatened to close nearby highways). Our main goal was reaching Chester, where our hotel was. Along the way we did stop at Manzanita Lake and then Lake Almanor, right next to Chester. Largest swarm of knats that I have ever laid eyes on. And driving through it seemed like it was raining (raining knats). But we still saw beauty in everywhere that we went…

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Beautiful canadian goose breeding ground along Lake Almanor.
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Egret trying to find dinner at dusk at Lake Almanor.
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Silhouetted and smoky view of Mount Lassen from Lake Almanor.

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