Ballad of Dude
The mountain had given its lava, it had given its rocks and its steam The mud flows had gone north to Burney It was over by 1918. It stood as a blatant reminder that the Earth had a temper within And it left on the summit a crater with a fragile and crumbling rim. In Oakland the Boy Scouts had waited until Lassen was cool and subdued. Then they packed up their rucksacks of canvas and they followed a leader named Dude. They were determined to climb it They were strong, they were young they were sure But there were no trials up the mountain So, they bushwhacked through forests of fir. Climb high you boys from the city Higher and higher still It’s just you and that old volcano And a test of your will!! The first night for troupe 97 The vitriol hung in the air Smelled just like fire and brimstone There was nothing alive anywhere. In the morning the mountain was distant As they laced up their thick leather boots Then Dude hollered down from a ridgetop And was met with a chorus of hoots. They came to a valley of mud pots Sulphur was all they could smell. There were bubbling geysers and steam vents There were no trails through old Bumpass Hell. So, he carefully guided them through it And they wisely avoided the crust And the world was just ashes on ashes The ground was just dust upon dust. Climb high you boys from the city Higher and higher still It’s just you and that old volcano And a test of your will They climbed up to 9500 Over rocks that were new to the air. The altitude challenged the breathing Every step taken with care. They made it at last to the crater And looked to the darkness below A jumble of rocks newly minted As the steam vents continue to blow. Dude had a lot on his shoulders As he led those boys over and up. The young men from Troup 97 And he trusted it wouldn’t erupt. Then he brought them home safe to their families The adventurous stories ensued. Courage is modeled and carried In the heart of a leader named Dude. He was my mothers father And he left us when I was sixteen Now I live at the foot of Mount Lassen How I wish I could ask what he’d seen. But his spirit runs in my children They are adventurous ones They are curious strong and courageous Oh the blood lines of daughters and sons. Climb high you boys from the city Higher and higher still It’s just you and that old volcano And a test of your will Climb high you boys from the city Higher and higher still It’s just you and that old volcano And a test of your will
Written by Sara Hoxie. Song appeared on the album Prayer for Feather River.