Monday, August 24, 2015 – Names like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park are known by all. Names like Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Deschutes National Forest are little known, certainly not at all by me. The road our RV park is on goes directly into the Deschutes National Forest. On Saturday afternoon we went out for what we thought would be an under two hour drive which turned into a five hour drive with many amazing beautiful sights!
Our first surprise was the beautiful Paulina Lake which a lot of people were enjoying and the Paulina Lake Lodge.
Like many first-time visitors to Oregon I was not aware of the degree to which the topography of the state was (and is) shaped by past and present volcanic activity. One can get a sense of this by visiting this Volcanic Monument. The Monument encloses some of the massive Newberry Caldera and lava flow. The Newberry lava flow is the largest in the country, covering an area the size of Rhode Island. The sunken caldera now includes two large and picturesque lakes.
To see the lakes and caldera from the top of Paulina Peak you drive a four mile, extremely wash boarded road. Wikipedia says “Washboarding or corrugation of roads comprises a series of ripples, which occur with the passage of wheels rolling over unpaved roads at speeds sufficient to cause bouncing of the wheel on the initially unrippled surface.”
We could go no faster than 10 mph or we would have bounced apart and lost traction causing us to slide around the road. This made the 4-mile drive took us around an hour. The extremely rough ride was worth it to see the view from the top but then you have to drive down the same four-mile road. Going down was not nearly as trying as the upward drive.
The first picture is of the Peak from partway up the road.
Once we made it back down the awful road to the paved highway that goes through the rest of the park we headed over to the Big Obsidian Flow. This is what remains of the volcano eruptions. It looks like a giant mountain made of nothing but stones. It is actually pumice, obsidian and after it cooled and cracked up. We got our workout on this one as we climbed a very steep staircase to get to the top of the pile.
Big signs are posted saying it is illegal to take any Obsidian rock from the park. I love collecting rocks so this one was a tough one especially since the obsidian rock is very pretty and shiny black.
Like most national parks and forests, Newberry has a number of well-situated campgrounds. We were pleasantly surprised with finding this beautiful place so near our park. Another spot a few miles further is the Lava Lake and Lava Cave where we’ll be visiting one day this week.
Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!
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