Twenty-five years ago, at the age of 18, I followed my uncle to the top of Mount Lassen for a 10,000-foot view of the Fourth of July fireworks in Northern California. We watched the revelry begin over Reno and Lake Tahoe, and apparently got up at the edge of Lake Almanor. Then the sky of the North Valley burst like a brick of firecrackers.
The thrills continued when my uncle tried to ski down the south face of this active volcano. At the time, Lassen Peak was mostly covered in snow until midsummer, so a hard skiing on its face in July was barely noticeable. But doing it in the moonlight was – and still is – half-baked, pun intended.