Edit Blog Post
Published: August 16th 2010
August 12-13, 2010: Having found out that there's a bigger crater in Oregon than Crater Lake (crater = caldera: the basin resulting from a violent volcanic eruption) we of course had to see it.
A part of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, this crater is 26 miles across! But more recent events in geologic time have built a partition across the caldera, so where Crater Lake is one lake, at Newberry there are two: Paulina Lake and East Lake.
Heading south from Lava Butte and then turning east, up, up, up we drove. Paulina Lake is the first one reached, at 6,300 or so ft (more than a mile above sea level, for those of you who have forgotten some of the math). Again worried we might not find a place, we grabbed a campsite there. As this was the same day we'd “done” Lava Butte, we rested once we made camp—you know, a snack, a cup of tea, later a glass or two of red and, that camper's delight, tinned beans. We'd been carrying them a long way, so this was the night.
In the morning we headed for the “Big Obsidian Flow”, not knowing quite what to
Stairway to glass heaven
Don't bring your dogs! They'll cut their paws.
expect. And who would? (OK, Kitty, you would.) Well, it was literally a mountain of black glass! Obsidian (glass) forms when lava is high in silica and low in gaseous content and it cools quickly, so there isn't time for it to form crystals. I never thought of glass as disorganized, myself, it always seemed pretty clear and finite to me, but at its inner being, it is molecularly random. So there, even the best appearances can be deceiving.
Anyway, being made of glass, there were signs advising people to not bring their dogs up the path as their feet would get cut, and people should not wear flipflops, either (ie thongs to you Ozzies—different meaning entirely here.) As we stepped along the path there was that tinkling sound of glass windchimes from our footfalls—seemed pretty amazing.
When we got to the top, we could see Paulina Lake, where our campsite was, and beyond again to Sisters and Bachelor Mt. as well as the geologic partition between the lakes, but we couldn't quite see East Lake. Here and there life forms struggled to survive on dust and puddles. I always find this a metaphorical sight. And inspiring.
Wall of glass
This huge pile was the "foothills" of the glass mountain
And it seemed some people had intervened a bit with the landscape by placing chunks of obsidian on top of boulders in strange ways. “Better than writing their names,” opined Phil.
Now Kitty, Phil has a question he hopes you can answer: Why are there pale grey stripes in the obsidian???
Later that day we drove on to East Lake, and if I were to go again, that's the one I'd pick to stay at. I thought the sites were a little more private and there was a beach and swimming. It was a huge park, with over 100 campsites, well spaced out and many right on the water. But in either campground, forget about having a shower. There were a small number of flush toilets, but no showers anywhere that I could discover.
Paulina Lake is stocked with salmon and trout, it appears to be the fisherman's favorite, and I could well imagine Justin and Les out there on its blue blue deep waters. Paulina Lake also has an excellent walking path all around its circumference (7.5 mi) and the added benefit of a lodge with a shop that sells Ben and Jerry's ice cream on
Obsidian flow shoulder
The view from the top of the stairs
a stick. Hurray for Cherry Garcia.
And gracias to life for all these adventures.
Tot: 2.707s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 9; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0513s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb