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Lower Twin Lake

Lassen Volcanic National Park

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August 30th, 1999

7.8 miles
1215 vertical feet
Total Time: 3:44

Rating: 6/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

I started my hike from Summit Lake at about 2:30pm. The sky was filled with clouds, some of which looked like they could produce some rain. But I figured I wasn't walking toward a peak, so I would be relatively safe (although large bodies of water aren't that safe, either).

The trail starts climbing immediately -- a 500 foot climb which includes a nice view of Lassen Peak. It's then flat for a short while before starting a descent toward the first lake. At this point I ran into 2 of the 6 people I saw on this hike -- a mother and her 5 or 6 year old son, who were heading back.

Lassen Peak

The trail threads almost entirely through a relatively dense forest. This is peaceful, but doesn't provide much in the way of views.

After just under 2 miles, I reached Echo Lake. It's a decent-sized lake, but nothing extraordinary about it. After I took some pictures, I ran into two women who'd been backpacking. They'd stayed 2 nights at Snag Lake, which they said was beautiful. To my inquiry they said they hadn't seen any bears. Snag Lake lies next to the Fantastic Lava Beds and Cinder Cone. Looks like it might be a nice trip.

Echo Lake

I continued downhill past the lake, and past a couple more unnamed and uninteresting lakes. Eventually I came to Upper Twin Lake -- much bigger than Echo Lake. At this time, I started to feel raindrops. And then I realized it was so cold that it was actually snow -- the sort that melts as soon as it touches the ground. It wasn't raining hard, and I didn't hear thunder or lightning. It didn't look too threatening, so I pressed on. I figured I was a long way from my tent, anyway.

I'd seen a television program about bears the previous night. It mentioned a story from 1996 in Alaska where two backpackers were attacked by a bear. The bear actually followed them and killed one of them. So I had that image in my mind as I walked alone on the trail. But the fact that the camp didn't have bear storage lockers told me it wasn't a major problem. And the backpackers hadn't seen any bears (now you know why I asked). So that dispelled most of my fears.

Raindrops falling on Lower Twin Lake

I reached Lower Twin Lake and had a view of Fairfield Peak behind it. I walked to the other end of the lake as it continued to rain lightly. I could see the drops in the lake as the ducks swam by. I ate my lunch by the lake. As it started to rain some more I started to pack up. I heard a strange noise further down the trail. I waited, but didn't hear anymore. I decided to return to my camp as planned.

Mist gliding over Echo Lake

Gradually the weather improved. When I reached Echo Lake, fine wisps of fog were sliding over the surface. I'd find a similar phenomenon on Summit Lake when I returned to camp.

Forest above Echo lake

I ran into two more hikers about a mile from camp. This part of the trail is very sandy, and I was glad to have my trekking poles to help me push my way through. After a brief level section, it's downhill all the way to camp.

Mist over Summit Lake

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