Old Station CA • Lassen National Forest • Forest Service Campground
Number of visits: 10
bathroom: yes • water: yes
Smack on the way from Reno to Eureka. Where CA 44 hits good ole CA 89 and they both go south together for a while. A geologically interesting valley, a giant, recent lava flow that feels like the recovering disaster area it is. Anyway, the FS keeps one campground open all winter, and it is this one, Cave CG. There's only two other sites taken, so I nail a spectacular spot where I am looking right at the river 30' away. Ponderosa pines, which make for a pleasant open feel to the CG (unless it's crowded, which it's not). A deep blanket of pine needles makes it quiet except for the occasional truck on 89.
First day the full campground being open, but they are still charging $10. woo! It's quite crowded. Bridge Campground is closed, so what would account for some of the people. This is the first time I camped in a campground for six months. It's a joy to be back at it!
#23 is a nice site. The parking spot is level and the creek is right across the road.
My buddy Ed wanted to camp a night on his week off from work, so here we are! I get to be the know-it-all since I've been here many times before. Site 27 is level and pleasant, but not very private, other campsites in every direction. Not much underbrush here on this arid basalt plain. The creek is wonderful as always, and the Lava Cave (The Subway) and walk over there is cool.
To my surprise, the summer season has started on Hat Creek! Hat Creek CG and all of Cave CG are open for business. To my even greater surprise, the best campsite in the two campgrounds, good ole #4 was unoccupied!
Hat Creek really is the most beautiful thing ever.
JJ's Cafe, 1/2 mile down the road the road is also open, so I started my drive to Reno with a good breakfast.
Nobody here. I got the best spot. The creek (really a river in Nevada terms) is very high, so the rapids under the footbridge are quite dramatic. My new thing is exploring downriver (northward) rather than my usual upriver through the closed-off part of the campground.
Site 4! The premier spot, right at the footbridge over the river, and there's no one there tonight. In fact no one here in this beautiful campground but me all night!
ah, off season again. This is such a pretty, calming place in the winter. It gets dark at 4:30, but it pretty nice before that. 32° at 6pm, gonna get cold tonight.!
First time I've been here in season, so first time I've stayed in the Big Boys Loop. It's always been closed for the winter.
So this is the first time I've experienced the bathrooms - they are nice! Porcelain sinks, actual knobs for the water - old school.
A couple of areas are still taped off for storm damage, but most of it is open, and surprisingly crowded for the first day of off-season.
This is Monday, effing night, don't you people have to be at work somewhere tomorrow?
Now that it is dark, I find that each bathroom has a super bright light, which is a problem if you value the dark like I do and happen to have pointed yourself in the wrong direction.
Even the winter part of the campground closed for tree cleanup!
I barreled into the left turn for the campground, ready to not be driving any more, when AAARGH!, the campground is closed! There is one site outside the barrier, but it is already taken, so it's the parking lot for me. The full moon helps.
So far I'm having a pretty nice time.
site 3 again, quite excellent, maybe 30 yards of nuttin but pine needles between my spot and the enchanting Hat Creek. I am really glad they keep this lovely spot opn all year!