Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

We left the park at Crater Lake quickly after discovering that there was literally nothing to see because the Lake was completely fogged over. From there, we headed East on OR-138 (see pictures in the gallery attached to previous post) to US-97 North, toward Bend.

We were on track to arrive in Bend before noon and knew we wouldn't be able to do much there that early in the day, especially if the weather there was not so great. After a consultation with the road atlas we decided to take a quick detour through Deschutes National Forest and go see the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The thinking here was this was something we could do from the car should the rain continue to be an issue. By the time we arrived, the rain was no longer a problem -- we seemingly had gotten ahead (or north?) of the storm.

The Newberry area is about twenty miles south of Bend and features two standard-fare recreational lakes in the caldera -- Paulina Lake and East Lake. There is also a mountain (the top of which is called Paulina Peak) and a big Obsidian Lava flow.

We make our first stop at Paulina Lake and take some general photos of the area and go out on the boat launch docks and screw around a bit with the cameras. From there, we test out the 4WD on the car and head up to the top of Paulina Peak, which tops out at 7,984 feet of elevation and provides breathtaking 360-degree views of the entire volcanic caldera as well as the surrounding area. About 15 minutes after we arrived at the top, the storm clouds started moving in and the temperature began dropping very quickly -- about 40 degrees with light snow flurries. Satisfied we'd taken enough photos, we headed back down the hill... but not before I drew a Figure-8 on the gravel parking lot with the 4L setting on the car and took a picture. This worked especially well because the ground was damp, and allowed me to get a particularly good picture without actually causing any damage to the parking lot.

Me, at the summit.

From the summit.

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