Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11 – Hiking Newberry Caldera

I was partially cloudy today and quite a bit cooler but good hiking weather. Still a lot of mosquitoes even though the temperature was down to single digits last night. Everything today is within a few miles of our campsite.


First up was the “Big Obsidian Flow”. Obsidian is black volcanic glass. Here is a panorama of the flow I took later in the day.pan1

About 1700 years ago it oozed out of the point at the top middle of the picture down the valley. Here is a picture of the side of the flow. Thankfully they has stairs for us to climb this part.



This pretty lake formed at the edge of the flow.



There were lots of interpretive signs to read along the way.


The rest of the 1/2 mile trail was bare lava. They recommended no sandals and no dogs because you are really walking on broken glass. Jennie ripped her pants when we sat down once. Obsidian was once used for knife blades and scalpels.




The flow is about half obsidian and half pumice. The pumice is so light and full of air it is a surprise when you reach down to lift a rock up. The obsidian on the other hand is very heavy. There were chunks like this everywhere.




There were also some very big blocks. Paulina Lake, where we are camped at is in the background.


As tempting as it was the rules said no taking any rocks.



Next was 100 foot high Pauline Falls. You could park next to the top and then take a short hike down to the bottom.


Here is a view from part way down.


You can see the layer of lava that covered the land. From the bottom view you can see the huge blocks that have broken off as the falls eroded the lava flow.


It was interesting to watch the many paths the water took through the jumble of boulders until they joined at the stream at the bottom.

The park ranger recommended the Little Crater hiking trail. You climb up and hike around a small cinder cone inside the caldera. At the top you get provides excellent vistas of the entire surrounding area and a great view of the Obsidian Lava Flow (the panorama above).


There were some interesting lava outcropping that were find to climb through.




We couldn’t figure out how this tree formed.


Looking back at the Obsidian Flow.


You can just see the stairs in the lower left.


Back at the RV we discovered that the cloudy day had only allowed the solar panels to give a 1/3 charge to the batteries. As much as we hate to we had to run generator for about 2 hours to charge them the rest of the way.

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