Inspiration All Around Us theme: Reflecting - prompted me to use one of my photographs as an entry - and I decided to post the story behind it here with additional photos.
They were taken at Emerald Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA. When I was leaving Lassen, heading south to continue my journey through the High Sierras, I passed this incredibly beautiful little lake. It has to be one of the most scenic spots in the park - it is a hidden gem. The waters are so still and clear that its surface is like a mirror. In remembering this, is why I chose the first picture here to send in.
You can see the rocky, volcanic soil between the trees, which has kept them from becoming too dense. Yet the forest is still recovering from the last volcanic eruption.
In the other photos:
The underground volcanic activity is somewhat like Yellowstone, but on a smaller scale, where vents release a cloud of sulfur scented steam (image #6).
The year I visited was when CA was engulfed in wildfires (2008) and every where I went, the views were smoky. It was as if the whole state was on fire. As I neared the CA/OR border, heading south in OR, the horizon was hazy and the air became more so the farther south I traveled. See the picture with the red sun in a smoky sky (image #5). I took this shortly after entering CA.