Lassen Volcanic National Park

Yesterday, there was a news in the newspapers that a lava tunnel was discovered on the Ghorwadeshwar(घोरवडेश्वर) hill near Pune. This hill is famous for rock cut caves which houses Shiva temple, and we have visited it several times, but never thought it might have lava tunnel. But this is not surprising as entire Deccan plateau, Sahyadri is formed out volcanic activity. My archaeologist friend Sachin Joshi was involved, among others during this discovery.

This discovery reminded me of my visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park in the USA which has lava tubes(tunnels), again formed out of volcanic activities. I thought of writing a bit about that visit here. I lived in Bay Area in California for few years in the past. One of the things I was hooked during that time was to visit various national parks, wild-life sanctuaries. I have talked of Joshua Tree National Park here.

It was snowy month of December, around Christmas. It was holiday season. We ventured on the road heading to Lassen National Park, north of California, in the wee hours, using I-5. We could see Mount Shasta, snow capped mountain, as we entered into forests with Christmas trees, all covered with snow. We took state highway 44 from Redding. This national park developed for protecting volcanic site. It has caves, lava tubes with cisterns all over. The park also has several boiling springs, mudholes spread across, and one can smell the chemicals such as sulfur. These tubes had several lava cones hanging over head, as we had to be very careful to walk through these without hurting ourselves.

Native Americans used to live there. The park had light and sound shows depicting war between natives and immigrants, and how natives used these tubes, caves effectively to rage gorilla war.

I still remember we making good time out of our Christmas vacation that year by visiting this park.



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