I park the rental car in the empty parking lot, and take in my first real view of Lassen National Park. The day is slowly warming up my mind as well as my body, and I survey the surroundings, trying to figure out what I want to explore on my first day.

I turn around to see my rental car slowly rolling through the parking lot toward the edge of the mountain. I run quickly back and put the car in park. Sometimes I hate rentals. Avoiding that near disaster, I see the main trail to see some of the volcanic sites is closed for maintenance. Behind me though, in the distance, is the mighty Lassen Peak. This volcano last erupted in 1914, and seems to be the adventure I want to tackle today.

I’m hilariously unprepared to try and summit this volcano, but that doesn’t dissuade me. I fill my jug full of water, strap on my pack, and start my climb.

The altitude is what assaults me first, taking my breath away. A summer cold also attacks me just as I start to ascend. Seems like everything is trying to prevent this climb from happening. Then I hit snow….

The steep drop off tries to shatter my nerves, as I have no crampons with me, hell I’m in shorts and a flannel shirt. I then see a young woman in front of me, a baby strapped to her front. I gather my composure and continue upward.

Just as delirium takes over, I turn on the final switchback and reach the summit. I find cover from the wind in the lee of some stones, and sit for awhile, taking in the scene from this elevation.

I find that the truest will of any person comes from an internal desire to accomplish a feat. Do not let the external voices of reason stop you.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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