Mt. Lassen National Park— A Spooky Kind of Place along the PCT… Happy Halloween

What’s more scary than a spooky face staring at you from the ground? Imagine your flashlight picking this up at night when you are out in the woods alone? For the more scientifically inclined among you, this is a manzanita root.

I hardly imagined that backpacking through Mt. Lassen National Park on my hike down the Pacific Coast Trail this summer would provide me with inspiration for my annual Halloween post— but I had never had an up-close-and-personal encounter with manzanita roots. Trail crews, rerouting the PCT as it approached the Park from the north, had dug up the roots and left them beside the path. 

I often include photos of faces from nature in my blog. And most of these are a bit on the strange side. (“Like you,” I am sure my wife Peggy would point out.) Maybe. My imagination works overtime when I am out in the woods and I can’t resist pulling out my camera when I spot eyes staring back at me from trees, rocks and clouds. They appeal to the animist in me. Plus they are an excuse to stop on long, tough hiking days.

In addition to the roots, I’ve included a couple of other photos from Lassen with Halloween potential and a few other ‘faces’ from my three month backpack trip. Some of these I have included before. Enjoy!

Imagine, if you will, clawed fingers reaching up from the grave, ready to grab unsuspecting hikers.
Dark, vacant eyes staring at you are stock in trade for horror film flicks.
More eyes. Maybe the skull of that silent killer of the night: The owl.
Scrooge McDuck’s nemesis, the ghost duck of Halloween past.

Dead trees are also mood setters for Halloween and horror movies. Here are a couple of many I captured in Lassen.

A lone. dead tree standing on the horizon with grasping fingers is an excellent place to plant a grave.
Scary music, dark, threatening skies, and dead trees: a perfect combination for Halloween night. What monster lurks in the shadows, prepared to leap out from behind a tree, and carry you off to a world filled with zombies and blood thirsty vampires.

And to conclude today’s post for Halloween, a few photos from other faces along the trail, some of which I have included before.

A large eye and a silent scream suggests I frightened this woodland creature peering out at me while half hidden. Am I that scary?
Not so scary but somehow threatening.
And finally, this rather grotesque character with his pointed head, dark eyes, skinny nose and large jowls. Vey scary indeed!


Next Post: Back to hiking through Lassen National Park on the PCT. 

31 thoughts on “Mt. Lassen National Park— A Spooky Kind of Place along the PCT… Happy Halloween

  1. The grains and knots of the woods are their own storytellers. Enjoyed this photo essay very much. Thank you. Happy Halloween to You and Peggy.

    • I love the grains in wood. So much variety, and, from my perspective, beauty. That’s why dead trees and roots are always showing up in my blogs. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed the day of ghosts and goblins. –Curt

  2. There are some strange ones there, for sure. Our trees aren’t quite as — dramatic. Even the knees of the cypress tend to be pretty standard issue. These? There’s enough in just this post to inspire a hundred round-the-campfire stories!

    On the other hand, you should have seen me on Sunday, when I came across the carcass of a gutted and skinned wild hog out on the edge of civilization. It took me about thirty seconds to figure out what I was looking at — and to be sure the “whatever” wasn’t alive!

    • Nature is hard to beat when it comes to creativity, Linda. All you have to do is keep your eyes sharp, your imagination tuned, and your camera ready!
      A gutted and skinned wild hog would be a little scary. They must have wanted the skin, but it doesn’t sound like they took the meat? Wonder why they gutted it? –Curt

  3. Way behind reading your posts, Curt. But love these perfect natural spooky gifts for Halloween. I guess most of us have seen shapes in the clouds, but pieces of wood can also open our imagination, for sure.

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