There's a state on the west coast of the United States that's known for its beaches, its wine country, it's Pacific Coast drives, it's entertainment capital, even its history of earthquakes. What a lot of people don't talk about is that California has had many a brush with volcanic activity too and continues to be active on this front. One place to learn about it, is Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Lassen Volcanic National Park graces a place called Mineral, California and lies on the Northern part of the state. If you go in the winter you might see a large portion of this place blanketted in snow, so much so that you might think you were fooled into believing about boiling hot volcanic activity. Wait till it is summer and you will see what happened to all that snow that covered the area in the winter and spring months.

What is now Lassen Volcanic National Park was once the seat of a humongous volcano that was called Brokeoff Volcano or Mount Tehama. This grand volcano was supposed to have continuously erupted for around 200,000 years. Then some 400,000 years ago, the volcanic activity in it just died down, according to the experts. Since then this area has seen several other smaller volcanoes and some massive glaciers. The hydro-thermal activity and the glacial erosion that took place later is said to have displaced a good part of the big mountain. What is left today is a number of peaks where the outer ring of that huge volcano used to be.

Today, this national park is a showcase of what centuries of volcanic and glacial activity can do to a piece of land.

We decided to do an auto-tour of Lassen Volcanic National Park the August-before-last and one of the first few points of interest we stopped at was Sulphur Works where we got to see steaming hot mudpots. This is proof enough of the character of the place.

A mud pot with some boiling mud - water. The steam arising from it is testimony to the heat of the mudpot. 

This is what is happens here in the mudpot:
The snow-melt and the rainwater of the area seeps into the lower layers of the earth and comes in contact with the hot rocks and trapped hot gases of the volcanic vents a few miles below. That water gets all heated up and bubbles away like this. And the proof of how chemically rich it is, is in the smell. This place reeks of rotten egg and I must say it's no place for someone who is in the first trimester of pregnancy or one who has just gotten past that 12-week mark (that was where I was, then).

Look carefully and you will see that that water is bubbling hot.

That and the hot summer temperatures stopped us from doing the hikes that would take us deeper into California's Volcanic history. However the many stops on the auto tour taught us a lot bout the geological and glacial past of this area.

Here's what else we saw at this Volcanic Park:

Diamond Peak

Diamond Peak
This Diamond volcano got its name from the quartz found here. Diamond Peak can be seen from several parts of the drive.

Lassen Peak

Lassen Peak - the peak after which this Volcanic Park is named.
The Lassen Peak was born out of those volcanoes that succeeded the Brokeoff Volcano.  It is considered to be one of biggest volcanic domes that was formed by viscous lava that was gradually squeezed out the volcano. Although it is not as big as the original Brokeoff Volcano it is one of the biggest ones in the area and one of active volcanoes of the Cascade Range.
(Coming soon on Tipsy from the trip is more about the other well-known volcanoes of the same range but lying in states of Oregon and Washington. Do come back :) )

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake and Ski Heil Peak
Emerald Lake, called so because of its colour was carved out by glacial activity. This lake seemed pretty shallow.

The Overlook (near the Bumpass Hell Trail)

Bumpass Hell is a valley here that has several boiling pools but to get there one has to hike and since hiking was not something we could do that day, we stopped at parking lot near the trail and made the most of the vista at the overlook there.

The boulder at the edge of the cliff is believed to have been put there by glaciers.

Lake Helen

Lake Helen shimmering in the afternoon sun (and a part of Lassen Peak).
Lake Helen is also one of those lakes formed by a glacier. This one is deeper and bluer than Emerald Lake, that lies south of it. 

Lassen Peak from its NE side

Manzanita Lake

I hope to visit Lassen Volcanic Park once again and do some hiking to the points that promise to treat me to more unique sights like views from some of these volcanic mountains, hot springs and fumaroles.

The Drive

  • The auto-tour is a 30 mile drive
  • Our drive started at the southwestern part of the National park and went northwards
  • If you would like to keep track of the points on the way, you could pick up a guide from the Visitor Centre. It costs around $6.
  • If your drive starts at the south entrance and you have plans to stay someplace near this national park, it would be a good idea to look for a hotel closer to the northern end of the park.
  • Make sure you have enough gas for the drive. There are no gas stations within the park.
  • If you are not carrying any food, you might want to pick up some at cafe at the southwestern part of the park.

Some more information, straight from one of the park's info. boards.
You might also like:

--> A volcano-tour through Volcanic National park, Hawaii

(Also)Coming soon: Old Faithful Geyser, Petrified Forest

Catching some late night city lights @ Bangalore.

These pictures were shot (on a cell phone) from Ebony, the restaurant on the 13th floor of Barton Centre.
It was almost 11 pm, around 2 hours after the blast on Church Street, last month.
Linking to the memes:

You might also like--
Singapore from Floor-64

Oh! the places you'll go.
Our little baby doll just completed a year earlier this month. When we sat down to plan a celebration of her first year and we were just recapitulating the year that went by and it dawned on us that Little Missy had done quite a lot of travel as she was (zero) going on ONE.

Her first day out might have been that homeward bound drive from the hospital. And that was followed by several trips back to the hospital and the clinics for vaccinations. But this one soon set out to see the world she was born into.

Her first real trip must have been to the OregonZoo in Portland. She was barely a couple of months old when she was strolled into the zoo and she spent a good part of it bundled up and asleep. (But mommy took lots of pictures for her to see when she is old enough look at the places she has gone.) Or was it that scenic drive around Clarke County (in Washington) she went on, one rainy day that was her first proper day-out? That doesn't matter, she didn't see much that day either.

That was only the beginning. In the months that followed, she saw quite a bit of the Pacific Northwest and then flew across a part of the country and spent a day in Chicago. Later she did her first air travel to India (at the age of 5 months) and then went about travelling Kerala and Karnataka a wee bit of Tamilnadu. Her foot-stops include:
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Olympia, Washington
  • Woodburn, OR
  • Mt. Rainier, WA
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Astoria, OR
  • Tillamook, OR
  • Canon Beach, OR 
  • Mt. Helen's
  • Chicago
  • Bangalore
  • Mysore
  • Kochi
  • Kozhikode
  • Wayanad
  • Jog Falls, Shimoga, Karnataka
  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctury, Chickmangalur
  • A road trip along the coast of Karnataka (from Karwar in Uttar Kannada to Surathkal in Dakshina Kannada)
(In other words, I seem to have made up for that missed ear-end post where I look back at the year gone by, as far as travel is concerned. :) With this, it also feels like I just reminded myself about how much more writing I have to do. Hmm... all that backlog doesn't stop me from doing more trips. :-| I'm not alone here, am I? ;))
Little Missy at Canon Beach, OR; her first trip to the seaside.

A day by Vancouver Lake, Vancouver, WA.

@Tillamook Cheese Factory.

@Space Needle -- to see Seattle from 605 ft.

On the way to Mt. St Helens, a Volcanic Mountain on the Cascade Range in Washington.

L-R: Baby doll on her first Wildlife Safari, On her first visit to Scotland of India &  her first trip to God's Own Country 

When you look at the picture above, you probably see two seemingly overloaded lorries/trucks. Look closer and you will see that on the left, are a group of people and what seems like smoke.

Pilgrims wearing black 'mundus.'
Smoke it is. And the people in the picture are preparing their lunch at a roadside make shift open-air kitchen. These men are pilgrims on their way to Sabarimala. And those who embark on this journey do so after a fast during which they stop eating non-vegetarian food and even abstain from love-making. They prefer to wear a black mundu (a sarong-like piece of clothing) during this period. As part of the fast, they do not cut their hair or shave their beards or even pare their nails. They are usually particular about the food they eat. It is supposed to have been prepared by someone who has had a morning bath -- not to mention -- only by someone who is not menstruating. As such, many of them, when on the road would rather set camp on the roadside and cook up a meal than grab a bite at a restaurant.

Sabarimala is a hill-top temple in Pathanamthitta in Kerala, India. Sabarimala is a popular place of Hindu pilgrimage that sees thousands maybe even millions of people flocking to it when its nadas (temple gates) are open.

Linking to the meme--

To know more about the pilgrimage you might want to visit my blogger friend Ramakrishnan Ramanathan's post 'Pilgrimage to Sabarimalai' on his blog Ramblings and Musings.

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

They say this place attracts one million visitors every year and in 2013 we were part of the statistics. And I am not surprised that this many people visit this waterfall on the Columbia River Gorge; it really is a sight to behold.

The Oregon side of the gorge is said to have around 77 waterfalls and Multnomah Falls should be the grandest of them all.

When we were planning a drive to the Columbia River Gorge that lies between Oregon and Washington states, Multnomah Falls turned out to be right on top of our list of attractions along the gorge. Why? That's not difficult to see.

Multnomah Falls in Oregon
Multnomah Falls
(A cellphone pic.)

Multnomah Falls is the second tallest perennial waterfall in the United States (the first being Yosemite Falls). It doesn't hurt that it is uniquely picturesque because it falls in two parts, that being the result of a massive flood and constant erosion. Adding to the dramatic effect of the scene is a striking architectural feature -- a concrete bridge aesthetically placed in between the two segments of the waterfall.

Some Fall Facts:

Multnomah Falls is said to be 620 ft
The upper falls is over 540 ft
And the lower drop, around 70ft.

Benson Arch Bridge and Multnomah Falls in Oregon

The Bridge

The bridge in between was built in 1914 and is called the Benson Arch Bridge. An information board at the waterfalls says the original bridge was one made of wood and when that collapsed, the concrete one was built.

The Waterfall

The walk to the bridge
The walk to the bridge.
Whatever other points of interest we missed on the way, this one we weren't going to skip. So our GPS Navigation system was set for Multnomah Falls Lodge, a handsome looking stone building off Columbia River Highway. The moment I set eyes on the structure, I fell in love with it. Unfortunately we couldn't go in as it was Thanksgiving Day and the restaurant -- my excuse to see the lodge --  was closed. Completing the postcard-type man-made beauty was that breathtaking two-tier-waterfall in the background. We walked around the front of the lodge and went towards the waterfall. 

After taking in the cascades and a few pictures of the upper and lower falls and the bridge in between, we did a .2 mile hike up to the bridge. You can actually go all the way up to the upper fall, which is only a mile’s hike, but I was too pregnant to do the walk all the way up so we just made do with the half the distance. 

From the bridge I got to see the pool that the first leg of the Falls dropped to and from where the second falls began. From there, I could also got a bird’s eye view of the Columbia River as it flowed past the area.

I've taken loads of pictures of this waterfall but I know that even if I hadn't, the way this two-tiered-beauty looked is never going to fade from my memory. 

Multnomah Falls, Oregon
The upper fall making a pool before its second fall

Multnomah Falls in Oregon
The lower fall making a splash.

Multnomah Falls in Oregon
After the double-fall, the Multnomah Creek hurrying to the Columbia River 

Multnomah Falls in Oregon
The view from the bridge.
If you want to visit Multnomah Waterfalls:
  • You might want to set Multnomah Lodge as your destination on your navigation system. The lodge is at 50000 E Historic Columbia River Highway. (Just off Interstate - 84)
  • It is on the Oregon side of the gorge.
  • The exit to be taken - Exit 28/Bridal Veil Exit
  • The access to the waterfall is on the right side of Multnomah Falls Lodge (You should be able to find food, restrooms and souvenirs at the lodge)
  • If you are going in Autumn or in the Winter, make sure you are dressed for cold weather.
  • There is ample parking space in front of the lodge.

Some waterfall 101 if you are interested HERE

If you missed the post on the scenic dive through Columbia River Gorge, 
you'll find it here --

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Bangalore

New Year lights on 100ft road, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Caught: some New Year lights and their reflection on a car, on 100ft Road, Indiranagar, Bengaluru.
(A cellphone photo.) 

Linking to the meme: 

Here's wishing 2015 has several great trips in store for you.
Happy Travelling!!

Catching some late evening light on I5, California
This picture was taken on Interstate 5 in California, some place between San Jose and Los Angeles.

Linking to the Meme -- 

Downtown San Jose at Christmas time

Downtown San Jose at Christmas time

Downtown San Jose at Christmas time

Christmas in the park, San Jose

Downtown San Jose at Christmas time

Linking to the NF meme
Catching the light

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San Jose's Christmas in the Park 

a little bit of Melbourne.
City of Melbourne. Pic. courtesy
 Dear Santa,

Last year I had one of the best Christmases ever. My best friend had come over and brought in some much needed holiday cheer and you gave us all the best gifts.  Thank you so much for visiting us, for giving us gifts and not forgetting to drink the milk and eat the cookies that the kids had saved for you.

Now that we are at the end of another year, it is time to remind you that I've been mostly good this year. I AM in the NICE -list, ain't I?

This time, I am not asking you for anything material. All I want this holiday is to go on a holiday to Melbourne.

I'm dreaming of setting eyes on one of the most livable places on earth. I'm not saying I want to live there. I only want to look around, oggle at the charming buildings that give Melbourne a classic touch, down some Aussie coffee, try to decipher the graffiti in Hosier Lane, take in the sights and smells of Victoria Market and maybe even get to top of Eureka Skydeck for a an eagle's-eye view of Melbourne.

I'm not asking for much, am I?

Video courtesy -

I've been good. I haven't had a drop of wine in 2014 (and a good part of 2013 too, I swear). It's been year the of baby no. 2. But I am almost ready to break the fast. Could I do that someplace in Yarra Valley? I would love to do it the right way -- swirl, sniff and then sip. Gosh! it's been ages since some good wine tasting.

Wine. Pic from

Is that asking for a lot?

Or should I just get drunk on the sights along Great Ocean Road? I can't get enough of scenic coastal drives, anyway. And 243 kilometers of coast sounds good. I could make do with that if it promises to show me The Apostles. I would have loved to see the caves and the arches that the sea carved out there, but it looks like it is a bit too late for that. I'll be happy seeing the rocky stacks left back. I really do want to see them before they disappear too.

My fascination knows no end when it comes to land formations. So, I promise to make full use of that drive and stop to see the London Arch, Ginson Steps and the Grotto. And the Lock Ard Gorge -- I'm sure I wouldn't want to leave there. But then I have to take as many pictures as I can and show it to my readers. It will to be such a visual treat. Can I go, Santa? Please... I promise to share photographs and accounts of every little thing I see while I'm there.

Loch Ard beach. Pic --

I'm dreaming of Surf Coast and Shipwreck Coast and Bay of Islands and the lookouts that guarantee stunning views of the Southern Ocean and the stone structures that stand tall from the waters.  Can I just drive through this scenic route, if not anything else? I'd be totally tipsy from that trip.

I could take a ride in your sleigh you, know. I'll brave all kinds of weather, play your navigator,  I could even do Rudolf-sitting while you slip in through chimney and line out gifts for all the nice boys and girls.

With so much to see and do and most of all, being surrounded by scenic sights makes Melbourne seem all the more liveable, to me. But then again, I only want to look around, click some pictures and collect some lovely experiences. That's not asking for a whole lot, is it?

The Apostles. Pic. courtesy -
Can I remind you once again that I am not asking you for anything material. All I want this holiday is to go on a holiday to Melbourne. ( I'll buy my own souvenirs.) Will you really take my request into serious consideration? I promise to be good next year also. Actually, I think I'll be even better than that.

Please give my love to Mrs. Claus and a hug to Rudolf. And can you also tell the elves I said a big Thank you for all their hard work?

Ride safe around the world Santa. Take care.

With loads of love,

PS. Santa don't forget the milk and cookies. Happy Sleighing and Happy House-Hopping.

A note for my readers: I have good tidings for you -- This holiday I have a contest for YOU.  Go through the VistMelbourne website, look up the attractions and let me know one thing --  What places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why? Answer this simple question for a chance to win a gift voucher. This contest ends on the 4th of January. What are you waiting for? Give it a try. You just might be the winner. 

  Added on Jan 14th.
Now that the contest has come to a close, I announce my winner:
 Nikita Johri of NjKinny's World of Books and Stuff

Congratulations, Nikita! :)


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