Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, OR

Rain hits the coast, so we venture inland to the east side of the Cascade Mountains where we explore the Newberry National Volcanic Monument near La Pine.
Lava Lands Section (north and west of Sunriver on Highway 97)
A short hike through the great pines and spruce lead to Benham Falls which is really a series of rapids, but with all the sheer power, force and beauty of a waterfall.
You think we're not in a rainforest? Think again! Moss grows on ALL the trees around here, but what a spectacle.
Paulina Mountains Section (north and east of La Pine on Highway 97)
A steep road winds its way to the top of Paulina Peak (Paul-eye-na, not Paul-ee-na), a craggy collection of basalt rock. Unfortunately, it's a cloudy view of the Cascade Mountains to the west - Mt. Bachelor the left-most peak at 9,065 feet, and the Three Sisters to the right each around 10,000 feet.
Yep, that's snow. Paulina Peak is at almost 8,000 feet and there's snow for about the last 1,000 feet while climbing the road. The temperature is about 38F (3C) up here, but the sun is out while we're on the peak.
A closeup of Mt. Bachelor. Now you can really tell it is a volcano.
From Paulina Peak, the view to East Lake. Paulina Lake is off camera to the left. Both lakes are craters formed from the volcano that created this geological feature. The giant mass in the middle is an obsidian flow. Obsidian is, essentially, glass. It was once lava, but with little to no gas bubbles in it cooled as a clear, sometimes shiny rock. The obsidian in this flow is very clear and black. Note the lava river to the right.

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