Mount Lassen Volcanic Park, thrifting and heading on for Yosemite

We had an interesting 40+ miles drive on a forestry road between Lava Beds National Monument and the main road to our next port of call, Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Initally we felt pretty lucky to find accomodation nearby at Mill Creek Eco Resort but unfortunately to our minds eco was the very last thing that the resort was in actuality.  For us (as Green Party members and activists in Ireland) green encompasses energy saving, low impact on the environment, recycling, composting etc. etc. and although that was what we were led to believe when we booked our cabin the reality couldn’t have been further from the truth.  In addition to the lack of expected green facilities our ‘pillow top’ beds (space for 5 to sleep in a tiny cabin!) appeared to be mattress toppers laid on dreadfully unfcomfortable old beds and we found that the small cabin was not laid out in any fashion to encourage a comfortable stay at all.  The fridge hummed to such a degree that I got an immediate headache (for some reason certain electrical noises cause me to get a really bad sensation in my head like a vibration) and we had to unplug it before our first night’s sleep, this caused the damn thing to defrost and Alan had to plug it in again when he discovered a massive flood in the middle of the floor during the night.  I didn’t realise that he had plugged it in again and woke up with a splitting headache early in the morning, you can’t imagine how annoyed I was with poor Alan when at last in desperation I said to him ‘you haven’t plugged in that fridge again, have you?’ to discover that he had!  Many missing light bulbs in various fittings in our cabin could have been considered to contribute to energy saving measures were it not for the other lights left on in the shower and toilet areas 24/7 to which we as consumers had no access to switches in order to turn them off .  I am also not sure why the sink was in position in our TINY kitchen area as it had never been plumbed and we couldn’t use the taps or drain but luckily Alan secured a little work top space by hiding the offensive fridge under this feature and we put the microwave in the wardrobe to replace the non existant mirror, if you held your head a certain way you could see your reflection in the glass of the door!  Anyway, enough gripping about the accomodation, Lassen was brilliant.  We had some gorgeous hikes through wonderfully diverse regions in the massive park and found a great thrift store called R.A.I.N. (Rescued Animals in Need ph530-945-4152) in nearby Shingletown where I was lucky enough to pick up some fun old trimmings, a large pure wool man’s jumper, a BEAUTIFUL old button and a strange funky metal and ceramic bunch of flowers!  The one good thing about our ‘Eco’ resort was the laundry and I have already shrunk the jumper and now just need to cut it up and reassemble it as a bag, another concession to my fibre addiction as we make our way across this wild and beautiful part of the States.  We really enjoyed our time at Lassen and left on Sunday for Reno, the smallest biggest city in the world!


4 thoughts on “Mount Lassen Volcanic Park, thrifting and heading on for Yosemite

  1. Oh, what a nightmare (are you sure you weren’t dreaming all that horror? 🙂 This just affirms my thought that you are just going to have to move to the States and get us to be more eco-minded. Sounds like you already have one prime candidate for an eco-makeover all lined up!

    Hope the rest of your trip has made up for that one night’s stay.

    Have fun!


  2. I live in the west coast, and at the moment I am in New York, heading to New England (Maine, Vermont etc) to see the fall colors of all the trees turning red, gold, orange etc. I read your messages and love them. We are in a motorhome following the backroads and I too am stopping to pick up ‘treasures’ of fiber, buttons handwoven yarn etc. The reason I am writing, is that I have to tell you that Yosemite is one of my most favorite places in the world………..forget the people there, the magnificence of the valley floor is breathtaking. Hope you love it as much. When we were in Ireland we found some ancestors from Dysart, just outside of Limerick. Have a safe trip.

  3. As the managing member of Mill Creek Eco Resort, I can honestly say that we attempt to go out of our way to insure the comfort and enjoyment of all of our patrons at this new resort. If there are any concerns regarding bedding, or noisy refrigerators, we have a 24 hour phone , and we will come and remedy the problem as soon as possible. This person never once made us aware of her concerns, or we would have adressed them right away. As to the beds, they are virtually all new pillow top beds, and many, many people have been very happy with them, as they are a definite upgrade from other resorts. The eco aspects of the park are many , and are being added on to as time goes on . We have recycling bins throughout the park, organic sheets, and pillow cases, low energy lights, bamboo blinds, low flow toilets, we use biodegradable cleaning products, and energy efficient heating and cooling systems. We are starting a compost area soon in the rear of the park, and are planning solar and possible rain recapturing in the near future. As well , we employ local people for work at the park, and buy our goods locally.
    Since we have just taken over, some things don’t always get brought to our attention, but any positive input that can be shared is appreciated.

    • Hi Dan, Thanks for responding to my post, we did try to see you on the day that we were checking out to have a bit of a chat but as you were not in the office we just had to drop the key and leave it at that. Maybe we should have called you during our stay but to be honest we just decided to cut our losses and stay in the Park for as much as the day as possible and chalk it up to experience. As someone who has organised many large sustainable events in Ireland I do feel that I have some issues to take up with you in relation to your reply re. the eco aspects of your resort and also some constructive comments about the lay out of our cabin. Please don’t take these up the wrong way but as you say any input that can be shared in appreciated. You do have a recycle bin beside the regular trash can but not segrgated areas as camp sites in Ireland, England and Wales would have for paper, plastic, tetra packs, glass, aluminium and food cans etc. Because of this we had to leave all our recycling in the one bin which already had water lying in the bottom and as there was no visable composting area we left our organic waste in a bag on the ground beside the bin, not ideal in case of flies or vermin but we were not sure if we just couldn’t find the correct area to leave these compostables. Your sheets were nice and clean but the beds that we slept in definitely were not comfortable, soft and saggy in the middle for the double bed which appeared to be a mattress topper on top of an older mattress/bed, correct me if I am wrong. Because of this we ended up sleeping in seperate beds (and indeed seperate rooms!) and from a health and safety point of view the top bunk bed in the other room is far to near the ceiling fan for comfort. The lay out of the cabin was extremely strange and not conducive to a restful stay, no plumbed water in the sink therefore no way of washing up or doing teeth etc. , table and chairs in one bedroom – fridge and microwave in the other, no counter top space (until we put the fridge and microwave in the wardrobe), no mirror at all in the cabin, television in the room with the sink but nowhere to sit and view it (except the bottom bed from the bunk and this was NOT a comfortable position to sit) and missing light bulbs in the fittings. I would query how ‘green’ the split bamboo blinds are from a production point of view but of more immediate concern was the fact that they are totally see through at night from the outside when the lights are on inside the cabin. On the lighting side of things it is definitely not environmentally friendly to have the lights on in both shower/toilet areas 24/7. I would suggest a motion sensor outside this area for the night time with just a normal switch for the inside turning them off completely during the day, it was very frustrating to see them on all day and have no way of switching them off ourselves. I cannot comment on what type of cleaning products you actually use in the resort as I did not see them although I did see a standard aersol air freshner in the toilet area and this can trigger an allergic reaction in many sensitive people. I appreciate you employing local people to work at the park but question what goods you buy for consumption on site but assume you must mean your own groceries (as you don’t offer anything for sale) and possibly some cleaning products. The other factor which really affected my stay was the electricial/mechanical nosie from the river area, I know that I did bring it to your attention when we viewed the park initially but I really didn’t appreciate that it would be going on all day and all night and that we would need to keep our windows closed if we wanted to soften the noise. You do have a beautiful location and the river is an asset, maybe you can come to some agreement with whoever runs this system (possibly it is generating hydro-electricity??) for them to switch it off from early evening time until early morning, in this way guests could enjoy a BBQ outside or just a chat down by the waterside without being driven mad by the noise from the equipment. Your sheets were nice and clean and the laundry was an important aspect for us and we did appreciate your well water although it would have been nice if it were plumbed into the cabin. I am aware that we are not used to cabin accomodation in Ireland so possibly our expectations are different to those of Americans used to travelling in this manner, please accept my apologies if I have offended you in any way.

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