Friday, July 17, 2009

Central Oregon roamings, part 9 - Newberry National Volcanic Monument - Big Obsidian Flow

Finally, I'm back in town and actually might be leading somewhat a normal schedule for a few weeks! Moving further south from where I left off talking about the Newberry National Volcanic Monument at Lava Butte, I headed south toward quickly building clouds and just before reaching the LaPine area on US 97 south of Bend went east and up into the main Newberry Crater area. I could spend a full week just exploring up in this region alone! Paulina Lake is of course a landmark to this, a massive lake in the old caldera of the volcano. Short on time due to knowing I'd be dodging lightning storms by early afternoon I opted to explore the Big Obsidian Flow at the base of Paulina Peak (wish I could have gone up there but snow still blocked the road and no way I was hiking to the high point in the region with scattered thunderstorms brewing!).

The Big Obsidian Flow is that, a massive lava flow that in many parts is almost entirely made up of obsidian - a hike on glass! Being someone who grew up fascinated with arrowheads carved from obsidian found at Native American camp areas, seeing SO much obsidian was just heavenly to me!

There are great views straight up at Paulina Peak, to the north overlooking Paulina Lake, and the snout of the flow is truly amazing to see the thickness of the flow. Wow.

I even hiked it twice. Not by design - but because when I was 1/2 way done with it I realized I had no spare CF cards in my backpack as they were back in the truck! So I completed the loop, got my gear, and did the hike again! Worth every moment....

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