We actually did 3 trails today. The North Crater Flow Trail is only a 0.3 mile loop. The North Crater Trail is 1.8 miles one way between two parking areas. We took so long looking at things that we only did half before turning back. We will do the other half from the other parking lot later. Then in the afternoon we did the 0.5 mile Devil’s Orchard Trail.
The North Crater Trails both start just a short distance from the campground so we took the connector trail over a hill to the trailheads.
Looking out at the flow.
Jennie thought this piece of bark looked like a jellyfish.
The North Crater Flow trail is a short loop out into a very young lava flow. Some of it is even paved.
There were so many interesting patterns to stare at.
And even some flowers.
These blocks were part of a cinder cone wall and as the lava flowed they broke off and floated here intact.
The North Crater Trail takes you passed the crater where this new lava originated. The first part of the trail just climbs up the side of the cone. At first I thought the trail might be boring. I was very wrong.
A view of the flow and as it goes around the cone.
There were little flowers everywhere.
Then down into a crater, though not the one that produced the lava.
Jennie down at the bottom.
Looking back up at me.
The photosphere from the bottom.
It always freaks me out how light some of the lava is. Large blocks are easy to hold in one hand.
After climbing out of that crater we came to the edge of the North Crater, with the lava flow covering the floor.
Down we go.
So many shapes and colours.
Crossing the flow.
There is a small cave.
It was not very long but very colourful.
I think this is called a lava bomb.
More tiny flowers.
Climbing out of the crater.
We came to this massive tree trunk that was a great place to have lunch.
Jennie created a little forest scene.
Another colourful little rock.
Around the corner the trail continued. I thought it went to the top of this cone.
Jennie stayed behind while I went to try and climb it. That would be our turnaround point.
Looking back at Jennie. She is the dark spot about 1/3 in from the right, in the middle.
It turns out that the trail goes around the cone. The cone was too steep to safely climb so I headed back to Jennie. She had found a stash of really amazing lava.
Turning around we headed back down into North Crater and eventually back to the RV.
After a rest, we decided to find some internet. The cell towers are to the east of us and and at the campsite we are blocked by a hill. We drove out to the highway and found a viewpoint that had a great signal. After getting our email and publishing yesterday’s post we headed home.
By now it had gotten quite sunny out. Since it was still fairly early and us not wanting to waste any good weather, we drove to the Devil’s Orchard Trail.
It is a 1/2 mile paved loop, with various info boards about preserving the natural environment. It was kind of a letdown after the North Crater Trail but we are going to be thorough.
Jennie likes the tree silhouettes.
This board describes a mistake. Mistletoe would grow on the pine trees. It emitted something that caused the tree to grow rapidly in the area of the mistletoe. This caused the dense clumps of branches called witches brooms. Even though the mistletoe is native to the area and it really didn’t harm the tree, rangers at the time thought that the trees were “infected” and removed them. Now we know better.
There was lots of colourful lichen.
After we completed the loop it was back home for the day.