Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nature's Reflections: Reflection Lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Date: June 7, 2015
Place: Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mineral, California
Coordinates: 40.536426, -121.562437
Length: about 1 mile
Level: easy

Reflection Lake is that body of water that's across the road from Manzanita Lake. Clearly visible, beautiful and inviting, and last June was the first time I hiked around it. All those times I visited Lassen Volcanic NP we (family only or with friends) we always hike around Manzanita Lake. On my solo visit last June, however, I dedicated a morning hour to Reflection Lake before moving on.
The trailhead is by the Loomis Visitor Center, by that of Lily Pond trail. I crossed the road and started  walking around the lake, counter clockwise.
My trail around Reflection Lake, labeled yellow. 
How Reflection Lake got its name is obvious from the first look. A bright spring morning is a good day to demonstrate it. The quality of the reflection, however, depends on the stillness of the water. On that June day there was much activity in the lake, and the surface was constantly rippled. So was the reflection.

I remember the previous time I looked upon that lake. It was in April (of 2014), but the place was deep in winter wonderland. The water was still the reflection was perfect.

Reflection Lake, April 2014
In June, however, there was much spring activity going on in the lake and outside it. On the lake's surface: a gaggle of Canada geese were floating gently to and fro.

Canada Geese
There were mallard ducks there as well. As I walked around the north shore I saw a flash of metallic green in the grass and a bright, beady eye that followed my every move.
Mallards aren't usually skittish birds but this one wasn't very tolerant. Although I wasn't close to him at all, nor did I make any threatening moves, he decided to slip into the water and swim away, adding more ripples to the vibrant lake surface.
Mallard, male 
I saw plenty of waterfowl there, but there weren't the only birds about. By the north shore there is an area of many fallen logs and many little brown birds (LBB) that were hopping on and between them. There were several LBB species there, but only the chickadees stopped long enough for me to get an acceptable photo.
Mountain Chickadee
Some of the fallen trees were over the lake, sectioning off little coves away for clear view. A perfect hideout for new coot hatchlings.

A little bolder, chaperoned by their parents, the coot chicks are out to explore. 
As I came around the northwest shore Lassen Peak came into perfect view over the lake.
Lassen Peak peeks
A few steps down the path and Chaos Crags pops into view.

All the way around the corner the south lake shore meets the road and the trail squeezes in between them. There I walked briskly, already thinking about my next hike - to Mill Creek Falls.
Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) cone