The idea was to head north to Oregon. But off in the distance was a mountain covered with snow and I just couldn't resist. I figured if there was a trail to the top then I was going to climb. Luckily the place was a National Park and there was a trail. I had never heard of Lassen Volcanic but the park had just opened up for the season a few days ago, the campgrounds were still closed. I arrived at the trailhead on Wednesday evening and met 2 Californians who had just descended. I was impressed with the amount of gear they had, special hats, sunglasses, poles, etc. I asked about trail conditions and they said, "Well, you don't need crampons to get to the top but it took us 4 hours up and 2 down."
I was a bit concerned because I don't have special gear but I still wanted to give it a shot. I found a great place in the forest to sleep and sleep I did, about 11 hours of it. When I woke I knew I was getting a late start but I surged to the trailhead anyway. Yes, the trail was covered in snow but, unlike Idaho, Californians do not freak over a few feet of snow. They put these cute little flags in the glacier to mark the trail. The trail was well broken and I had no trouble. I was not on the trail long before I met a German named Wolfgang from Aachen. He was a very good hiker and we teamed up to make the ascent.
It was 2.5 miles up with 2000 feet of elevation change. We made it to the summit after 2 short hours, we took many pictures and talked quite a bit which slowed us down. Wolfgang told me how Germany is adopting many of the American bad habits, forcing the citizenry to pay for their own dental care, university costs and other stuff. They too have an immigrant problem.
I think I am going to stick around Northern California awhile, this place is chock full of parks.