Lassen Volcanic National Park – Summer, 1959


During the winter of 1958-59, I was working in the advertising business in New York City – just like you see in the show “Madmen”. The ad agency, McCarty Co., was located in the Chanin Bldg., on the corner of 42nd. St and Lexington Ave, kitty-corner across from the Chrysler Bldg. It’s major client was MG sports cars. I was a trainee. I was living at home in Forest Hills, and commuting by subway.

I applied for work at the Manzanita Lake Lodge, in Lassen National Park, CA, and was hired. I arrived on May 1, the first of the seasonal staff to show up. My job was to drive down to Redding to pick-up other staff, and assist “Old George” in opening up the hotel and cabins.

The  hotel had rowboats on the lake, and I went fishing first thing. On May 3, I caught a 22″ brown trout on a white marabou streamer, during a snowstorm. Here’s the fish I caught, the following morning.

Brown Trout, 22", from Manzanita Lake

Brown trout, 22″, from Manzanita Lake

Rowboats, Manzanita Lake

Rowboats, Manzanita Lake

I soon made another memorable catch. I was sent to Redding to pick up a female employee, who I’ll leave unidentified. As we drove the two hours to the Lodge we got a chance to get acquainted, and soon after, she relieved me of my increasingly burdensome state of virginity. Finally! Thanks! (Really!)

Anne F.

Miss X

George and myself began to open the cabins. I learned a lot from George. One difficult item we had to deal with were the spring-loaded fold-out beds, many of which were sprung. George said: “If it doesn’t work the first time, force it”. He had a special tool he used to pull back on the springs, and when I asked him what it was called, he said: “It’s a son of a bitch”.

The Lodge

The Lodge

Cabins

Cabins

General Store

General Store

Myself and Tim Babcock lived in this cabin for the month of May. After that, we moved into our permanent quarters in a tent cabin.

Cabin, with Tim Babcock

Cabin, with Tim Babcock

Tent cabin

Tent cabin

Me

Me, age 19

Manzanita Lake and Mt. Lassen

Manzanita Lake and Mt. Lassen

Here I am, heading off for an early-season fishing trip. Mt. Lassen stands behind.

Fishing trip and Mt. Lassen

Fishing trip. Mt. Lassen behind

In June, I borrowed some equipment and went skiing up at the pass. I had learned to ski the year before. Note the touring bindings and poles with huge baskets! I also skied with an old Swiss guy, who would set up slalom courses off to the side of the highway.

Skiing, me

Skiing, me

Skis, at the pass

Skis, at the pass

Ski tracks at the pass

Ski tracks at the pass

Mt. Lassen to the north

Mt. Lassen, immediately uphill, to the north

Reading Pk., to the east

Reading Pk., to the east

Right to left: Ski Heil Pk., Pilot's Pinnacle, Mt. Diller and Brokeoff Mtn, to the SW

Right to left: Ski Heil Pk., Pilot’s Pinnacle, Mt. Diller and Brokeoff Mtn, to the SW

Another nice brown trout from Manzanita Lake

Another hefty brown trout from Manzanita Lake

Lower Hat Creek, at Big Springs. Good fishing!

Lower Hat Creek, at Big Springs. Good fishing!

Hat Creek trout

Hat Creek trout

Hat Creek Gorge

Hat Creek Gorge

Hat Creek Gorge and Mt. Conrad

Left: Hat Creek Gorge, right: Mt. Conrad

Mt. Lassen and Brokeoff Mtn.

Left: Mt. Lassen, from Brokeoff Mountain, right: From summit of Brokeoff Mtn.

Partway through the summer, I transferred my attentions to Deanna F. She had a car, and one night we drove up to the pass. She let me drive on the way back downhill. I drove too fast, hit an icy spot on a curve and rolled the car. Neither of us was injured, but I was no longer allowed to drive the company station wagon, and was re-assigned to be the night kitchen clean-up guy. This was, in fact, a pretty nice assignment. I would host select staff for steaks and wine after hours – on the hotel, of course. I had the run of the place.

Most of my hikes were to lakes and streams. I’m not sure if I climbed Mt. Lassen, even. I have no photos of such a climb. As can be seen, I was still using a box camera, and probably the one I was using in 1957, since the light leaks look the same in both series of photos!

Butte Lake, with Ed. We then continued on to Widow Lake

Ed and I drove to Butte Lake. Fantastic lava beds are seen edging the lake. We then hiked to Widow Lake.

Butte Lake, cinder cone and glade, along the trail to Widow Lake

Butte Lake and cinder cone (left). Glade, along the trail to Widow Lake

Butte Lake CG, which I note as "idyllic",. and Ed swimming in Widow Lake

Butte Lake CG, which I note as “idyllic”, and Ed swimming in Widow Lake

Hydroplaning around on Shasta Lake, with the haughty French girl, Marie-Claire

Hydroplaning around on Shasta Lake, with the haughty French girl, Marie-Claire

24. SulpherWorks&RidgeLakesTrail

The Sulpher Works, a Yellowstone-like feature, along Hwy. 89 (left). On the trail to Ridge Lakes

Ridge Lakes and Brokeoff Mtn,. on the way over the shoulder of Mt. Diller

Ridge Lakes (left) and Brokeoff Mtn., from the shoulder of Mt. Diller

Mt. Diller (left), Soda Lake and Mt. Loomis

Mt. Diller (left). Soda Lake and Loomis Pk.

Mt. Diller from Loomis Pass (left). Fishing trip to Kings Creek

Mt. Diller from Loomis Pass (left). Fishing trip to Kings Creek

Kings Creek brook trout and meadow.

Kings Creek brook trout and meadow.

28. Kings Creek cascades

Kings Creek, beautiful cascades

29. Kings Creek, falls and pool

Kings Creek, falls and pool

30. Kings Creek brook trout and Summit Lake 1

Kings Creek brook trout and Summit Lake, at the end of the hike

Hike to Bumpas Hell

Hike to Bumpas Hell, a Yellowstone-like area. Hot lakes.

Bumpas Hell. Mud pot (left). Cold Boiling Lake (right).

Bumpas Hell. Mud pot (left). Cold Boiling Lake (right).

Bumpas Hell. Violently-boiling lake (left). Echo Lake

Bumpas Hell. Violently-boiling lake (left). Echo Lake (right).

34. Upper and Lower Twin Lakes

Upper and Lower Twin Lakes

Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake

Deanna was an artist, and did some sketches of me:

Deanna Forbes, artist

Deanna Forbes, artist

Deanna Forbes, artist

Deanna Forbes, artist

Deanna Forbes, artist

Deanna Forbes, artist

Deanna Forbes, artist

Deanna Forbes, artist

It was another great summer!

Deanna and I left Lassen for UC-Berkeley, where we were both enrolled for the fall semester. This would be my second attempt at going to college. It lasted a half-semester. Deanna announced that she had got a ski bum job at Winter Park, CO, and I said I would go with her. I really wanted to ski!

Postscript: Kathy and I visited Lassen about 15 years ago, to fish Manzanita Lake and Hat Creek. All of the buildings – the hotel, the cabins, the General Store, Park Service buildings etc. –  that were at the lake in 1959 had been removed. Why? The Park Service had determined that, should Mt. Lassen erupt, the Manzanita Lake area stood a good chance of being wiped-out. Since that time, some tourist facilities have been restored – but not a hotel. It appears that the summer of 1959 really was the good old days!

This post covers the winter of 1959/60:

https://believesteve.org/2014/11/16/grooming-winter-park-co-195960/

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
This entry was posted in 1950s, Fishing, Hiking, Personal history, Photography, Skiing, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s