Someone told me that once you saw a volcano, you've seen them all. Don't believe it! Lava Beds were much different than Newberry yesterday and it had history. I entered the park from the north entrance and I saw a sign that said "Canby's Cross" and "Captain Jack". Time to explore. Canby's Cross was a cross that was a recreation of a cross placed at that site in the 1870's by an American soldier. It was to commemorate the death of General Canby, the only general ever to die in an Indian war. The inscription was quite simple and said something to the effect that "General Canby was murdered by Modoc Indians at this place...." and the date. Ok, I get it now so who is Captain Jack? He was the young leader of the Modoc Indians. He had a real Indian name but the "whites" called him Capt. Jack. So off to the south to the spot named after him.
The sign along the road a few miles from the cross said Captain Jack and behind it was a parking lot in front of a hill that was loaded with big piles of volcanic rock. Closer inspection revealed walls and fortifications made of lava. The Park Ranger on site told me these human made structures were built by Indian and Soldiers alike in the Modoc wars in the 1870s. None of them were rebuilt or recreated. What you saw is exactly as it has been for 140 years. This was the site of Captain Jacks stronghold where 60 Modoc Indians held off over 600 Federal troops for a long time. A short piece down the road was Hospital Rock where the soldiers had a hospital set up at that time. I am really getting into the history of this place.
I was told there was an area where the greatest concentration of petroglyphs in the NW could be found. I couldn't find them so I was off to the visitors center over 16 miles away. Along the way there were large lava fields, lava caves, cinder cones and other geologic features like chimneys and vents.
The visitors center was set up for the lava cave explorers and there are tons of caves for those who want to check them out. They had free lantern rentals and there was no shortage of takers. I found out that I was close to the petroglyphs but I really didn't have time to run back so I finished up there and headed off to see Mt Shasta.
It wasn't long I had some magnificent views of Mt Shasta and took no shortage of pictures from different angles and zooms. I also saw a could of F18s that were flying wing to wing that disappeared in what looked to be a field. They must have landed but I cannot find a base anywhere near there on Google.
In a small town that compares their coffee and Starbucks and the "Ony Frosty in Town" claiming a famous BBQ I stopped for a quick lunch. They had 1/2 chickens and Tri-tip on the wood fired grill. The guy told me I was about an hour early, I told him the Tri-tip was rare and cooked enough for me. He said OK and said he would carve me off some slices and serve me now. Some slices? How about 8 slices 1/4" thick. Nearly a pound of meat for $5. I was in heaven but had a date with Lassen National Park so it was time to hit the road again.
Next stop was Lassen Volcanic National Park. Lassen erupted in 1914 and was a pretty significant event that they compare to Mt St Helens. When I 1st got there I looked around and thought "I drove all the way here for this" and then I read on. There is lots of cool stuff there like the Bumpass Hell area with steam vents, boiling water and more. You would need a few days to fully explore here and it would be well worth it but that would be for another time maybe. It was time for this cowboy to head home.
I came out on I-5 between Redding and Red Bluffs and drove until I got to Firebaugh, CA where I called it a night a little after 3am. Not that I could not have gone further, pretty sure I could have but no sense on taking chances.............................
Along the way
Captain Jack's Stronghold