09/20/2013 02:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Service Eruption

Have you ever heard of Lassen? Lassen Volcano? Okay, check it out...


What: a service trip coordinate by the Sierra Club. These 16 people signed up to camp, help eradicate invasive, non-native plants from the park, and explore the area with each other. A tenacious bunch.

Where: Northern California, but these mountains are part of the lower Cascades, not the Sierra. Just a lil' fun fact in case you want to wow someone with your outdoorsy geographic knowledge.

Who: Daniel, me, and about 16 other people of all ages. I believe they call this kind of trip "multi-generational."

When: Everyone else was there, at the beginning of August, for a week. Daniel and I, living in the fast lane per usual, made a three-day appearance, and then San Francisco duties called us home. We also have to go to Colorado in a few days. Life is hard.

How: Technically speaking, we got there by driving up I-5. On a larger scale, the trip happened thanks to Sierra Club Outings. Also, Arlene the cook shouldn't be forgotten. Thanks for the blueberry pancakes!



Why: Non-native invasive plants like the bull thistle do not just get up one day and walk away; someone actually has to weed them out. Weeding is the new vacationing, haven't you heard?

The first full day we were there was an "exploration day" instead of a "work day" for everyone. We promptly set out for Cinder Cone Crater, which resides right next to Fantastic Lava Rocks -- a basic yet appropriate name for the area.

Thanks to the underestimated steepness, we ended up really feeling the burn as we ascended to the top of Cinder Cone. Worth it. Group pic at ze top! Dork squad alert, especially that goof in the pink shorts and the kilted dude.


We summited, snacked, and listed as Daniel on the bagpipes playing us some tunes. Nothin' like some Celtic music to accompany your gorp. It would seem that Heinz agrees.



We also got the chance to have some good old fashioned lake time. All I have to say is lake time in the summer is not an overrated idea. It'll turn any nature skeptic into a full-fledged preacher, swear to god.


Me and that sweet log spent some quality time together, ditto Susan and Annie.


Moving on, the second day was a "work day," which included a lesson for the younger folks on how to use a GPS system, and then some simple and straightforward weeding. Someone's gotta do that dirty work. There's Edward leading the way with his mapping system, being über skilled and such.


In other news, we met even more cool and committed peeps, and also got to do some phenomenal star gazing. Although rumor has it that Perseid Meteor Shower is next week, when we'll be backpacking in Sequoia. Excellent news.