Our trip was really great. With adventures ranging from climbing volcanos to exploring caves, we had lots of fun. We were a whole troupe: Mom, Rafie and Solomon; Susan, Evelyn, Clem and Greta; Marina, Arina, Yakov and Ephraim; Elaine, Milo, and Gianna; and me. Our campsite, where we had forts, fires, and food, was great. Every evening we made a fire and sat down to swap campfire stories, tell riddles, or play some 'Truth or Dare'. Milo (A slightly whiny 9-year-old), said that I was the best storyteller in the group. :-)
For our first adventure, we went to Subway Cave, a large lava tunnel. Armed with flashlights, we walked through the tunnel. The ceiling height ranged from a bit above my head level to way, way up. Our friend Clem stubbed her toe four times in Stub-toe Hall. After that Arina, Marina and I went into another cave. This felt a bit more like it was ours, because there were no signs with geologic info and maps to guide us. Water hung on the ceiling, and when combined with golden-colored lichens, it was beautiful. I felt like Tom Sawyer, but it was better because I never got lost. Elaine, Milo and Gianna had not arrived yet, and we were not expecting them.
The next day, we took a hike to Bumpass Hell, where some guy named Kendall
Vanhook Bumpass once fell through unstable, crusty ground and plunged his entire leg, which became useless for the rest of his life, into boiling, bright blue water. We saw those bright blue streams, and holes called fumaroles that spewed insane amounts of steam; and smelled like sulphur or rotten eggs even from up on the boardwalk we had to stay on. We found something Clem called the "Blorping Pot", an underground mud pot from which we could hear noises: Blorp. Blorp. Blorp. We also went to Sulphur works, a bubbling mud pot by the side of the road. While we were gone, Elaine and her kids arrived.
Our next adventure took us hiking up Lassen's Cinder Cone, where we gained
700 ft elevation
in a very gravelly 1/2 mile climb, and I said the word 'epic' a lot. Lassen's Cinder Cone is a volcano, and we went into the crater-like bowl at the top, which was epic. There was an epic view from the top. I could see the bright and beautiful Painted Dunes, alongside long beds of igneous rock that we's walked by, and a blue lake in the distance. The hike up the volcano was hard, but finishing it made me feel really powerful, which was the most epic part: I climbed a volcano! I could do anything!
After these awesome adventures and a relaxing hike around a lake, the trip was seeming perfect. We were ready to have a buffet lunch and chill in a swimming pool/hot tub up at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch. We condensed into three cars, so I was in Susan's car. We hung out and listened to a pretty good fantasy book on CD during the drive. I was reaching for some chap-stick to put on my nose when a jolt shook us as Susan stopped quickly, but not without jolting into the car in front. Then my Mom's car jolted into Susan's from the back. Susan was like, "That car stopped so quickly, and now it'll be legally my fault!" Well, the person in front was injured, so as "witnesses" we had to sit around for three hours. Us kids got out and stayed in a nearby meadow (the road went right through the woods) and ate CLIF bars for lunch. The little children quickly occupied themselves with games.(I know they're only five or seven years younger than I am, but they felt like little children) Finally, when everything was sorted out, the day was used up and we sat around in the campsite for the afternoon.
But before we left, we still got a chance to swim and have lunch at Drakesbad. I stayed in the pool, which was heated by hot springs, until I was hot as a furnace and pink as an unripe strawberry. I was sad to leave, but glad to be going home as well. It was 9:30 by the time we got home, at 10 I was in bed.