Friday, September 18, 2009

Juniper Lake


Not wanting to give in to the end of camping season just yet, my wife and I decided to get away for Labor Day weekend and try someplace new. We had always wanted to check out Lassen National Park, and recently we read about a beautiful pristine lake there called Juniper Lake. What a magnificent place it was.


The lake sits in the south eastern portion of Lassen National Park about 15 miles outside the small town of Chester. The road up isn't too bad until you hit the last 5.5 miles which is a barely maintained dirt road. Clearance is not an issue on the road, it's just wash-boarded really bad in certain areas. You can easily cruise along at 15-20 miles an hour most of the way, with just a few spots so bumpy you have to slow to a crawl for a minute or two to keep from rattling your teeth out. All in all the half hour spent on this part of the road is well worth the treasure that awaits on the other side.


The lake itself is not that large, only about a mile and a half long with 5 miles of shoreline. It's really the perfect size for paddling around in a canoe or kayak, which is particularly of interest here as there are no motor boats allowed. It won't take long paddling out to realize why they have protected this gem from the possibility of pollutants of motorized boats. The clarity of the water and the shades of green, to blue, to aquamarine are just unreal. It really struck me as a miniature lake Tahoe in the beauty of the water and it's colors.


With only 18 sites in the campground, and our hopes set on one of the four prized lake front sites, we decided the best way to go was to have me leave a day early, arriving on Thursday. It's a good thing I did. I was initially one off of the four prime spots, but while unpacking a friendly neighbor stopped by and let me know that the people at the site on the other side of him were leaving early the next morning. What a great tip this turned out to be (Thanks Mark!!), as by next morning I found myself setting up (again) in one of the most beautiful campsites I've ever stayed in. The views of the lake were just unreal, and we had perfect access to put our canoe in the water.


Fully relaxed from my night and morning alone in paradise, I decided to take a hike up to Crystal Lake before going back down into Chester to meet the family. What a great little lake that was as well. With only about a half a mile hike from the trail head up a fairly steep trail, I was rewarded with this beautiful lake that I found myself completely alone at. Yup, a quick skinny dip was definitely in order and the water felt great! I took a picture set up on a timer, but Jennifer didn't seem too happy with my idea of linking to it (no matter how many disclaimers and warnings I put along with it). It's probably a good thing. The human eye can take only so much brightness. Below is a g-rated photo of the lake.


Once clothed and down the trail again I met up with Jennifer and the kids down in Chester. We only spent a couple more nights there, but it was an amazingly beautiful place to spend the weekend. We paddled the canoe, hiked around a bit, and just hung out and relaxed. What a wonderful place to camp that I'm sure will end up being a yearly trip.


1 comment:

indonesia tourism said...

clear water... like a glass but more beautifull :)