Lassen, Donner Lake, and Lake Almanor

It’s the beginning of an eight day trip and Tuesday, June 19 we find ourselves in Lassen NP. Luckily it’s still early for camping in this area and arriving around 1pm we get a spot in the non-reserve area, 51B in Manzanita Campground. By 6pm most spots were taken by mainly one nighters as was evident in the morning. Dinner was Ian’s fish tacos and Cassie’s coleslaw, and after a campground walk we settled into watching the series Lost in Space.
Slept great and after coffee and breakfast we headed to Manzanita Lake for our first ever kayak trip. We bought a SeaEagle back at Christmas and couldn’t seem to find the right tryout day until now. I set up the paddles while John blew up the boat and we walked to the shore. Got in and off we went. Though it was a tad bit windy we had no problems and went all over the lake. After that John took a single turn and then I did. Loaded up and drove back to camp. Lunch and Giants on the radio, and I quickly walked to get a Drumstick! Later we hiked to the visitors center and around the lake, came back to camp and loaded up the kayak and did another trip around the lake. Dinner, mashed pots, chicken and salad and capped it with Lost in Space.
Left early Thursday morning for our next spot at Donner Lake State Park. Decided to stop in Susanville for breakfast and gas. It was an easy drive and always beautiful. We took a chance on getting into our site early and it worked. I looked online for weeks to get a spot by Tahoe for the weekend. Eventually four days showed up at Donner. The limit for size listed is 24, and I ignored it. Our site # 99 backed up perfectly to open space. We set up and explored the campgrounds. There are three campgounds, ours is the furthest from the lake so least crowded, but by Friday night the entire campground would be packed. There is also a sweet little walk from our campground to the visitors center. Dinner was salmon and salad, and another Lost in Space.
Cool night, but the morning was bright and coffee was perfect outside while we planned the day. Bikes were up first as we explored the day use area and looked at the lake for potential kayaking. Numerous paddle boarding and boating going on, and by 10:30 the parking lots were beginning to fill. We came back to camp and then walked to the visitors center. There is a lot to see and videos to watch. After lunch we drove up to Rainbow Bridge and explored that area. The entire act of getting through the pass is well documented along the way with spectacular views. We hit Safeway for supplies and it was becoming very busy. Back at camp we took the kayak out and enjoyed exploring a little bit of Donner Lake. Dinner was brats, salads and wine. Lost in Space again.
Saturday morning, listening to NPR, coffee and pineapple after John returned from his 8 mile ride around the lake. Had a great French toast breakfast and then headed for the lake to kayak. Getting easier to blow up, get into and paddle. I certainly like the front. We put in about 11 and spent about an hour touring, even went across the lake without any boats affecting us. Headed back to the cloud, lunched and waited to hear from my sister. They joined us for a couple of hours at camp. We chatted and because my sister loves MacDonalds, we went into Truckee to secure some. After the meal they drove home and we did the Lakeside Interpretive Trail. Movie night with Lost in Space…
It’s Sunday and John rides the Coldstream Road trail and I sleep in. Breakfast is cereal and fruit and then we drive up to Donner Summit to hike the tunnels and snow sheds. We parked at the dirt parking area to Donner Ski Ranch, and walked to the beginning of the tunnels. I don’t know how long you can walk, as we turned around at the mile and a half mark. The Union Pacific Railroad abounded the line in 1993 to do a reroute. The entire way there was massive amounts of graffiti. In one portion you could smell fresh paint. We also topped to look up at the China Wall that we walked over. Back at camp, we ate and then drove up to Martis Creek Campground and the dam.  The biggest white pelicans I have ever seen are here. I unfortunately didn’t bring my Canon camera.  The next morning we left Donner and headed towards Lake Almanor.  We had lunch in Quincy at the best place, Pangaea. Then drove to Almanor Campground and chose the north campground. After trying out three sites we settled on one and relaxed having a salmon dinner.

Tuesday, June 26 and its a bike ride for John on the fabulous bike trail on the lake and I am heading to the lake with a picnic and the kayak. Another lake to try out. After waiting longer than I wanted to, John arrived and we picnicked. We blew up the kayak and went out on the lake. It was perfect and we spent an hour looking at a variety of wildlife and birds.

Loaded up the bike and kayak and headed back to camp to shower. We made reservations at Plumas Pines Resort for dinner on the deck. We had eaten there last summer and enjoyed the scenery, and since it was our last night before heading home we wanted to do it again. Dinner was excellent, surf and turf and raviolis with a nice bottle of wine.

The next morning we headed out after breakfast for a 6 mile bike ride on the recreation trail that’s also used for cross country skiing in the winter. We were back in Weaverville by 5 after our usual stop for gas and groceries, and lunch at Guernsey Campground.