Friday night was potluck night. It took a while to get the potluck started. The food was good though and worth the wait. I went to my tent around 9 to do some reading before going to sleep. It was nice to sit in my cozy tent and read a good book while listening to the happy sounds of folks enjoying a camp fire after the potluck. I stopped reading at 10:30 p.m. and roused myself to make a visit to the bathroom. I returned to my tent and snuggled into my sleeping bag and fell asleep.
Saturday I led a hike to the Cinder Cone. The trail was easy to find for this hike. It is an extremely popular hike in the Butte Lake area of Lassen Volcanic National Park. This time I was leading a group of 4 and I had a coleader. We hiked to the cone and hiked around the back of the cone to come up the steep path in the back. We didn't know it was steep till we got there though. It was a beautiful hike going around to the back of the cone. You could see the beautiful brown orangy dunes up close. We all made it up to the top of the cone OK. It was quite a haul but worth it. The top of the cone is cool (another depression inside). This cone has very little vegetation on it and the hike up it is mostly on gravel that slips as you hike up it. At the top you could see Mt. Lassen, Mt. Shasta, Prospect Peak, Butte Lake and Snag Lake. We had lunch on top and got to witness a ranger at work. He came up to us and asked us to move to another area for lunch as he was about to site a group of people making their way up the trail for having gone off trail on the dunes below. We saw him give the tickets at a distance and the folks getting the tickets didn't make a ruckus or anything. They just took their tickets after, I imagine, a scolding from the ranger. We saw them later on the way down. They seemed to have managed to not let the ticket spoil their fun. I had a ball going down the Cinder Cone trail. We went down the front trail. It was wider and less steep than the back trail. I found it easy to bound down the trail as the gravel softened the landing on my legs and feet. I ran down the last of the trail. While waiting for the rest of the folks to descend three of us were standing under a tree for shade when we were suddenly enveloped by a dust devil (a little dust tornado). It was wild. It really blew hard. The sand hitting my legs felt like lots of little needle pricks. I put my back to the wind but the direction of it changed as it blew past and I had to quickly cover my face with my hat. The other two managed to get some shelter from the tree trunk. It was over pretty quick. The other folks said it was wild seeing the dust devil go over us. I thought it was a cool if slightly painful experience. The rest of the hike was uneventful. When we got back to the campground, I said goodbye to everyone and started the drive home.
The drive home was better than the drive there, but I was still frustrated to run into some traffic on highway 80. However, I made it home in 6 hours instead of 7.5 hours. I got home at 8 p.m. and took a hot shower. After the shower, there was a little pile of sand in the bathrub. That dust devil got sand all over me, especially in my hair. I had to wash my hair twice to get it all out. It was a very pleasurable camping trip at Lassen with two interesting and fun hikes and good company.