July 1st, 2015 – Devils Postpile National Monument – CA

Today we went for a hike in Devils Postpile National Monument.  The monument protects the Devil’s Postpile an unusual rock formation of columnar basalt (1st and 4th pictures) and Rainbow Falls (2nd and 3rd picture), a waterfall on the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.  In addition, it includes the John Muir Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Radiometric dating indicates that the the Devils Postpile formation was created by a lava flow at some time less than 100,000 years ago.  Estimates of the formations thickness range from 400 feet to 600 feet. The lava that now makes up the Postpile was near the bottom of this mass.  Because of its great thickness, much of the mass of pooled lava cooled slowly and evenly, which is why the columns are so long and so symmetrical. Columnar jointing occurs when certain types of lava contract while cooling.  A glacier later removed much of this mass of rock and left a polished surface on top of the columns.  The Postpile’s columns average 2 feet in diameter, the largest being 3.5 feet, and many are up to 60 feet long. Together they look like tall posts stacked in a pile, hence the feature’s name.

By the time we got to Rainbow Falls, the sun was behind clouds so we did not get to see a rainbow, but that was ok.  After all that walking, Don needed a beer and low and behold Mammoth Lakes (a town near the monument) has a micro-brewery (last picture).  The next to the last pictures shows part of Horseshoe Lake.  The part of the lake in the picture is in an area that has high CO2 emissions that have killed the life around it.  In the winter, people are advised not to go to this area and in the summer, only adults are advised to go there and to not stay long.  Lots of interesting volcanic things still happening here.

Devils Postpile 1  IMG_4024

IMG_4028  Devils Postpile 2

IMG_2330  IMG_2320

IMG_2333  IMG_2325

IMG_4051  IMG_4043


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3 thoughts on “July 1st, 2015 – Devils Postpile National Monument – CA

  1. Barbara

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    Leslie, I’m really enjoying traveling with you. I didn’t realize there was so much to see in Nevada. Great pics. Have fun.


    • Barb,

      It is good to hear from you. All of the pretty stuff we are seeing is actually in California. Just on the other side of the mountain from Yosemite, Kings and Sequoia National Parks. It is interesting though when you travel from state to state and have the time you can see the similarity in the geography. A lot of the lakes remind me of the shores of Lake Tahoe and the mountains are very similar to the ones in Nevada (at least the ones around Lake Tahoe). I mean it makes sense, but when you just fly into an area and fly out and do the same for another area you do not get to see the similarities. Hope you are doing well.


      Sent from my iPad


  2. Judy

    The waterfalls, flowers and scenes are just beautiful. Thanks…. Reminds me of the long hikes etc. that Don and I USED to get to do! Watch out for snakes – Ted and Gail had a FIVE FOOT one in their garage the other night… Ooooooops! Maybe they have left the west and come to the city. Hee hee….

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