The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

By the Mountains of Madness

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Before I get to the photograph above, some background information is appropriate

Lassen National Park is in north-eastern California, near the north end of the Sierra Nevada range. Its centerpiece is Mt. Lassen, a 3200 m (10500 ft) lava plug mountain. As large as Lassen is, it is only part of an ancestral volcano named Mt. Tehama (which self-obliterated long ago). Mount Lassen's last eruption began 19 May 1915, so this is still a very active volcano! It has many geothermally active areas you can visit--do a web search on "Bumpass Hell" and you will see some neat photographs of one of my favorite places. Some day Mt. Lassen will erupt again, and probably kill a lot of people. That is something I think about when I visit. (Of course, every time I visit San Francisco my blood pressure spikes--will the buildings fall down on me today?)

Anyway, our carnivorous plant wanderings were to the south of Lassen National Park, just outside the park boundaries. North of the town of Chester there is a scattering of lakes in the national forest, and some of them are perfect for carnivorous plants.

This lake is on the property of a boy scout camp. Beth and I asked permission from the sentinels at the road leading into the camp, and they graciously let us visit. A hive of cabins, lunch halls, and meeting lodges clustered on one side of the lake, all humming with boy scouts and scout leaders. I was never a boy scout, but the place was much as I expected a camp to be. Very wholesome, very hearty. Wood chips, pocket knives, rope, compasses, canteens.

Don't mistake my tone--I enjoyed our visit, and the staff was very helpful. They even lent Beth and me a canoe and gear so we could explore the lake more easily. The log in this photo was accessible only by boat (or swimming, if you like frigid water), and was held in place in the deep water by long, dead branches stuck into the lake bed. Growing on the log, all the red stuff, is Drosera rotundifolia.

Check out the saturated colors in the water, sky, and plants. That's real. That's Lassen for you!

This area is completely covered with snow and ice for about 6 months of the year.

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005