By Jaime Vega
On top of the enormous Lassen Volcanic National Park sits perfectly the radiant, most dazzling lake I’ve ever seen in my life. Emerald Lake is very well known for its breathtaking color and clarity, in the summer, that is. Don’t let its beauty fool you into jumping in for a swim, because the lake consists of fresh water runoff from the melted snow in the mountains, meaning it is very cold. The lake is a sight to behold during any season of the year. There is always something beautiful and worth seeing during each visit.
November through April the mountain and the surroundings are covered in the most massive white blanket of snow, which reaches as high as 700 inches! You cannot see the lake at this point of time, but seeing that much snow is one of the shocking experiences ever. Driving around Mountain Lassen Park during the colder months is like a winter wonderland; as you get closer to the peak the road stops. From here you can get out of your vehicle and enjoy the magnificent views. Be sure to wear sun block and protective eye wear as well. The snow brightens the scene.
May through July is when the snow begins to melt and recede, revealing an immaculate palate of colorful plant life. The lake has started to thaw and show its true colors just as the landscape has. One of the exciting features this lake provides is an opportunity to sit along the shore and witness eagles hunting for fish. Since the snow is at its melting point, as you’re exploring around you can hear the ground splashing and grunting from the soft watery mud and rocks grinding against each other with each step you take.
August through October I would have to say is my favorite time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. By this time most of the snow is gone and the lake is looking its best. The weather at the park is usually nice in the fall. For this reason my family and I always take along a picnic so we can hike around, and then eat lunch after. I have been going there since I was a little kid, My dad showed me a special spot. Ever since then we have been returning every year. It reminds my family and I of all the great times we’ve had with my father.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m there is skip rocks and just clear my mind and forget about everything that has been going on while I breathe in that fresh pine scent, enjoying the peace and quiet. All I hear is a stream of water, the eagles calling up above, frogs splashing on the shore line and a cricket or two a couple feet away. After you’ve spent a day out there and you’re relaxed, it’s back to reality and hoping you get the time to come back soon.