Friday, May 31, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.19 - Trail of the Molten Land, No. 3

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Ridges and valleys of lava. Yes, indeed. At the top left of this sign, the breach is mentioned as the weak spot in the butte through which the lava flowed southward.

The huge orange fiery lava flow on the sign is labeled one of the main gutters. It formed as lava continued to flow from the breach. Lava buried miles of pine forests (equal to 5,000 football fields) as large pulses of it formed the lava levees. The levees are on each side of this photo. Please follow the curving path from left to right. (This part of the trail is that which had been identified as having grades and surfaces that might be challenging without assistance. I didn't walk down there--my goal is to go back and walk there someday, with my sons, of course.) As the path turns right, I hope you can see the tiny informative sign just at the edge of the narrower light gray path. Actually it is the back of the sign--it's black, rectangular and has two skinny little legs. The tiny size of that sign lets you know how far away it is from where I'm standing and how deep this gutter really is. At least I hope that's how you're able to see it in this photo.

Maybe you can see the size and distance in this image. Let me know what you think, please. Thanks! The black sign is near the left side of the photo, just below center.

While walking through this vast lava flow, I came across an astonishing sight . . .

. . . with its own sign.

Close-up #1

Close-up #2

Close-up #3


After we looked around this part of the lava flow, we turned around and headed back towards the visitor center. This is the view along the edge of the lava flow. It just stops. Stops. Amazing.

As the trail continued on its way to the visitor center, I took this photo which also gives you an idea of the height of the lava flow.

I think the mountain on the left, through the pines, is Mt. Bachelor. Here's a photo that I took of it when I was out on the Trail of the Molten Land. We soon left this all behind and headed for the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. Lamont and Leland wanted me to see some lakes, some mountains, and some snow.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.18 - Trail of the Molten Land, No. 2

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On yesterday's post, someone commented, describing the trail thusly: "For being universally accessible, the trail looks very unobtrusive." I agree as I walked and enjoyed each sight, including every informative sign.


Step into another world, after you read the first two signs, left to right. Then you come to the top sign just as you're about to set foot onto the trail. Later on you come to turn-offs which would take you onto a different trail, thus the "Beyond This Point" sign. I want to get into better walking shape and visit the Trail of the Molten Land again so that I can turn off onto those other trails and see what I missed this time. For starters, I noticed that they slope downward quite a bit, so I imagine that the view is vastly different.


It began with a bang . . . The formation of Lave Butte. I hope you're able to read some of the sign. My favorite part is What's in a color? It goes like this: Lava Butte is not a solid structure, it's a big pile of gas-charged basaltic rocks known as cinders. Depending on factors such as mineral distribution within the rock and atmospheric conditions, cinders (scoria) can be found in shades of red, black, and even iridescent colors. The twisted tree trunk reminded me immediately of the Loch Ness Monster. Do you agree? Leland likes to take photos from a unique perspective.


Great Balls of Fire. I tell you what, when I stopped at this sign and read it, then looked up at the "snowballs" of lava, I was truly amazed. And very excited to be right there, near two "snowballs" formed 7,000 years ago. And there you can see Lamont and Leland on the trail just around a curve from where I'm standing. Once again, you get an idea of the height of these piles of lava.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.17 - Trail of the Molten Land, No. 1

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Lava Butte Cinder Cone, seen from the trail. I'm very happy that the folks did this: One third of the trail is a newly reconstructed section that is Universally Accessible, and the rangers did a super job on the recent trail construction.

Leland's walking beside the lava flow, not too far around the curve to the left--the curve in the trail shown in the first photo. Although I took this photo as we were headed back to the start of the trail, I put it here so that you could get the idea of just how tall that lava flow stands. Leland is right at 6 feet tall.

The single tree stands atop the lava flow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.16 - I think I can, I think I can . . . walk the Trail of the Molten Land!

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Screen shot MAP trail 2013-05-25 at 1.15.11 PM

After we left the Lava Butte Cinder Cone, we drove back to the parking lot near the visitor center. The guys assured me that I could walk the Trail of the Molten Land just fine. Am I ever happy to have done that! Come back tomorrow for lots of photos that I hope you will enjoy. And some informative signs.

First, though, I couldn't believe my luck when Leland pointed out this little critter on the stump. It he/she a chipmunk?

Here's what I found on the Internet about the trail: Trail of the Molten Land

  • This is a great little hike if volcanoes are something that interests you. From Lava Lands Visitor Center in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, this trail meanders out across the basalt lava flow for just a little over a mile to its source at the base of Lava Butte.
  • One third of the trail is a newly reconstructed section that is Universally Accessible, and the rangers did a super job on the recent trail construction. Older sections of the trail have grades and surfaces that may be challenging without assistance.
  • There are also several new full color interpretive signs that tell the story of the eruption of Lava Butte and the life that now makes the lava their home. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.15 - Views from atop Lava Butte Cinder Cone.

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One of Mt. Bachelor's ski lifts is visible in this photo, in its original size. I've resized it here, so I don't think you'll be able to see it. Just looking at it and how it went up and up the side of the mountain scared the hooey outta me.


As far as I can tell, these are South Sister, Broken Top, Middle Sister and North Sister. The angle from where I stood atop Lava Butte Cinder Cone caused this line-up. I looked and looked at maps and photos online, and the order I've mentioned is my best guess.

The top of the dead tree still standing in the crater.


A lower portion of that same tree's trunk, complete with twisted limbs covered in some sort of vegetation. Did you notice the hole in it?


I heard the sound of birds, skittering at each other. Looking carefully, I realized there were five or six tiny birds flying at each other around the dead tree. Here two of them.


Aren't those wings amazing? And that tail? So lovely, too. My best guess, from looking and reading on the Internet and from listening to the sounds of various hummingbirds found in Oregon, is that these are Calliope hummingbirds. I hope someone who knows for sure will find this post and let me know.


Cropped and altered in a effort to allow you to see the hummingbird on the tree trunk.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.14 - Every foot we traveled to the top was worth it.

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Screen shot MAP lava butte close 2013-05-26 at 6.52.21 AM

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.
  DSC_0149_PM_the _entire_crater

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.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.13 - Where the guys had decided we'd go first.

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Skipping more photos of food. Let's go sight-seeing in our Engine, our Zipcar Ford Escape! Today, the first of lots of photos, after the two maps. Tomorrow, another map and more photos. Promise.

These maps will help you understand what we saw.

Facts I found on the Internet, I took a photo of the first one while we were there and played around with the second one on the iMac, after I figured out how to screen shot. I cropped it and added the text at PicMonkey:

  • Lava Butte rises 500 feet above the visitor center. This cinder cone erupted 7,000 years ago and covered over nine square miles with lava. The butte offers a panoramic view of central Oregon, including a spectacular view of the Cascade Range and the northwest flank of Newberry. An interpretive trail circles the crater rim. 
  • About 7000 years ago, a dozen or so lava flows and cinder cones erupted from fissures on the flanks of Newberry Volcano. An excellent example is Lava Butte, a 500-foot-high cinder cone south of Bend along Highway 97. A road spirals to the top providing a grand vista of volcanic country. Here, gas-charged molten rock sprayed volcanic foam (cinders) into the air. These fell back into a pile to form Lava Butte. As the eruption proceded, the amount of gas (mostly water vapor) contained in the molten rock decreased and lava poured out the south side of Lava Butte and flowed 6 miles downhill. The lava spilled into the nearby Deschutes River forming lava dams in some places and shoving the river westward out of its channel in others. 
  • Fire Lookout and Visitor Rest Area This cinder cone rises 500 feet from the surrounding forest floor offering breathtaking views of the Cascades. At the 5000-foot summit is a fire lookout and visitor rest area with interpretive displays. 
  • I read that the total height we attained was 5020 feet, which includes the nearby terrain, plus the 500 feet of the Lava Butte Cinder Cone. 
Screen shot Lava Lands MAP 2013-05-25 at 11.32.20 AM DSC_0131_PM_red_cinder_road

The red cinder road which the forest ranger told us to follow, after he handed us our timed pass. We ended up with 30 minutes at the top.

The crater, taken from the parking lot sidewalk before I got brave enough to go on up to the top.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.12 - OK, I know you're wondering about what we ate while in Bend. Today I'll share photos of the best.

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Brother Jon's Public House, Bend, Oregon--Saturday's breakfast. So good we decided to come back here on Sunday morning, too. 


My breakfast. Here's what it says on their menu:
  • Southern Fried Biscuits and Gravy $8.50 House-made white sausage gravy over Baked Bakery buttermilk biscuits. Served with two fried eggs and choice of side.
Here's what I have to say about my breakfast. Every single bite was perfect. My side, a bowl of fresh berries. About the biscuit, it's a Baked Bakery Buttermilk Biscuit--the bakery, our waiter pointed out, is just up the street. I don't know exactly how they made that biscuit, but I am particularly happy that they did. And that gravy! Oh, my gosh! That's the best sausage gravy I've ever had. Ev-er! I'm pretty sure that there were pieces of link sausage in there, tasty sausage. I like my eggs scrambled dry--these were just right! The breakfast at this establishment is the best breakfast I've had in the Pacific Northwest, other than those I've enjoyed since 2004 at the Bijou Cafe in downtown Portland.  


Leland's breakfast. He got the special and reported that it was indeed special. His side, O'Brien potatoes. 

The menu board which lists the special--the one Leland ordered. You can see from this photo that he took with my camera while I was in the restroom that he got a Baked Bakery Buttermilk Biscuit, too.

Lamont's breakfast, from their online menu:
  • Redwood Scramble $8.50 Three eggs scrambled w/ bacon, spinach, cherry tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Served with choice of side and bread. 
His side, O'Brien potatoes, his bread, the Baked Bakery Buttermilk Biscuit.

Before we left, the three of us made a unanimous decision to return for Sunday morning breakfast. I'll share those photos tomorrow.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mother's Day Mini-Vacation, No.11 - My sons at The Writer's Retreat

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Friday, right after we arrived and brought everything inside, the guys sat down for a while. They're such good sports, posing for photos for me! Soon, our discussion of where to eat supper started. Didn't we have a great room to house our discussion? By the way, you can see the brown wooden edge of the desk in the lower right corner of this photo. Lamont slept on the floor between behind the desk, right in the corner, in his sleeping bag atop the air-filled pad he uses with it.

Saturday morning found Leland reading the book he had brought with him. He slept on this couch.


Lamont woke up a little later and joined in the early Saturday morning reading session with a magazine he found on the coffee table. Later on that day after we'd been out and about in the Zipcar and had returned to the loft for a rest, I read from David Lamb's "A Sense of Place: Listening to Americans." The guys watched TV for a while in the bedroom, stretched out on the bed--there was only the one TV in the loft. I knew that if I stretched out on the bed I would soon be asleep.