Thursday, July 3, 2008

Devils Postpile & Rainbow Bridge 7.3.08

Today we went to Mammoth – a ski/bike resort just below Mammoth Mountain. I have never been here and it’s such a beautiful place!! I’ll admit…we arrived & I saw all of these mountain bikers and wondered what the big draw was! They were all geared up & covered in dust and I still didn’t get it! Finally, I saw the gondolas & the sign outside listing all of the trails that were open and the lightbulb finally went off! The bikers were getting on the gondola, going up to the top of the mountain and biking down the trails…duh! And how cool! We talked about renting bikes & checking it out but Michael’s knee still won’t allow it. Oh well, next time.

So instead we went to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls and hiked the area. Vehicles are not allowed in the park between 7am & 7pm so we parked at the bottom of the mountain and jumped into the shuttle, which took us to the trailhead.

Devils Postpile is an area with basalt lava columns. Over 100,000 years ago, the lava flowed through the region and allowed the lava to cool slowly, forming vertical columns. The columns were exposed when a glacier flowed down the river, & carved away one side of the postpile, exposing a solid wall of columns over 60 ft high! At ground level the columns & pile were incredibly impressive. But curiously, one of the columns hasn’t broken or fallen since the 80’s! Up on top, the columns were mostly hexagonal – the most efficient shape. They looked like tiles – like a big soccer ball. It was amazing.

We continued on to Rainbow Falls, a 101 ft waterfall over a cliff of volcanic rock. It’s called Rainbow Falls because the water hits rocks at the waterline and shoots a steady stream of mist that on a sunny day, gives you a continuous wonderful rainbow. It’s really stunning.

The hike to both areas reveals a badly charred landscape & trees that look like toothpicks. The fire was in 1992 and the area hasn’t recovered, it’s sad.

Down from the mountain, we had planned to ride the gondolas up the mountain & check out the view from the top but we would have only had one hour at the top and found out there are some geocaches up there so we decided to come back another day. We hit the gas station, grocery store (who knew that at 5pm on the day before a major holiday, in a recreational mecca it would be so PACKED!), & generally checked out the area. An hour later, we headed back to camp.

More to follow!!


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