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NF-100 is the red cinder road to the parking lot at the top of Lava Butte Cinder Cone.
Here I am, at the 5020 ft. top of Lava Butte Cinder Cone. Whoopee! How did I get here, you're wondering, right?
Leland drove us right up that red cinder road to the parking lot. See Engine there, our Zipcar, the red Ford Escape? Now look past the parked cars to where it looks as if the level surface ends abruptly. Actually, it steeply slants downward. Notice the teensy person in the red shirt to the left of the restroom? That person's head, in relation to the roof of the restroom and the end of the level surface gives you an idea of the steepness of the slant. I managed, with the help of a sturdy handrail that you cannot see very well in this photo--it's lost in the foliage on the trees--to walk down the first part of that slant, let go of the handrail and walk the four feet to the door. I didn't notice the steps leading down to it from the other corner, steps with a handrail, until after I had let go and turned left to make my way to the door. Actually, I felt very proud of myself for not texting one or both sons to come walk on either side of me down that slant in the first place. Anyway, I got back up onto the level surface by myself, too, but I cannot remember for sure which method I used, steps or slant. Seems like it was the steps, now that I think about it.
I stopped after I got back on the level surface and took this photo, wondering if my fear of heights would compel me to remain there and miss out on what must be a monumental view. I took off walking, determined to make it. I realized that I could hold on for every step once I started up the incline.
The view from the first turn in the walkway, to my right.
The view to my left from the first turn in the walkway.
I made the second turn and stopped to take this photo. This gorgeous handrail, surely made of steel, and its rock walls convinced me that I could make it right on up to the top.
Before I started walking again, I turned to look up higher, leaned into the handrail, and took this photo of Leland and Lamont, already at the top.
I also took this photo of the entire crater, well all of it that I could see from that spot. At this point, I didn't realize that there was a quarter-mile loop trail around its edge.
I made it to the top! I took this panoramic photo from where I'm standing in the photo above, the one that Leland took of me with my iPhone. Yea!
I also took this photo from the same spot. The lava field blew my mind! Talk about learning something new each day. This particular Saturday was one learning experience after another. I loved it!
I noticed these bags of All Purpose Rose Sand beneath the stairs. Curious. I walked to the end of the stairs, feeling pretty good about how flat the surface was there around the Fire Lookout. Then I noticed there was no railing along the back side of the surface. So I walked carefully to that railing you can see on the right of the photo and turned back to look at the building.
Ah, the sandbags kept the solar panels in place. From this vantage point I looked around for a while, saw what looked like a path with no handrails slanting away from where I stood, and watched as a family of four--the children were probably seven and nine--walked right by me and on down the trail. Whoa! I looked some more and then noticed people walking ahead of them on the edge of the crater. I also realized I had not seen Lamont or Leland for a few minutes. I figured they were walking around the edge, too. So I walked back to the other side of the building where I could stand and see the entire loop.
I found Lamont first.
Then I found Leland.
Come back tomorrow for monumental views and teensy birds, plus that twisted tree to the right side of the crater.