2018-08 Paulina Falls

Newberry Volcanic National Monument

Newberry National Volcanic Monument (Part 1)

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Camping at Lake Paulina

August 2018

We are camping at Lake Paulina National Forest campground in the caldera of the Newberry Volcano that is in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument just east of Bend Oregon.  Newberry Volcano is the largest (by mass and area) Volcano in the Cascade mountain range that goes from southern Canada down through northern California.  The mountain with it’s lava flows is roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island.  We are staying at the campground for 9 days.

We did not know if there was water available for Lola,  however once we called up to the Ranger Station, we were told that there was potable water next to the dump station.  Once we got to our campground, the water spigot that was near our campsite indeed did have a threaded spigot, however several of the other water spigots are not threaded.  The campground does offer a few gray water disposal sites and a bathroom with flush toilets and sinks with running water.

Volcanic Monument Area

Paulina Peak

There is an observation site at the top of Paulina Peak – the highest point of the Newberry Volcano.  On a clear day the views are magnificent, however it was smoky from the forest fires in southern Oregon and northern California.  Nice day for a drive though, and we can see the two lakes in the caldera – Lake Paulina and East lake.

Paulina Peak Pictures

Hiking around Newberry Caldera

Paulina Creek Falls

The hike to Paulina Falls is an easy walk.  There is a path on each side of Paulina Creek to the falls so we got pictures from both sides.  In August there are lots of wildflowers to enjoy as well.

Paulina Creek Falls Pictures

Big Obsidian Flow and East Lake

We drove through East Lake and notice that there are more nice campsites even though many are smaller than the Lake Paulina sites.

The big draw for the drive is a hike through the Big Obsidian Flow.  There is an interpretive trail going through the Big Obsidian Flow in the Newberry Volcano caldera.  The Big Obsidian Flow is the most recent geologic formation in the Newberry Volcano created 1,300 years ago, and like the name suggests… it is BIG!  I always think of obsidian chunks that I can hold in my hand.  This is a whole mountain of obsidian (pardon the pun).

One of the most interesting items is that obsidian was used for the first open heart surgeries done because obsidian blades are a lot sharper than any knife edge possible.  Obsidian blades are sharpened to a width of one molecule.  Now, that’s surprising!

Big Obsidian Flow Pictures

Little Crater Hike

There are two lakes in the Newberry Volcano caldera.  Lake Paulina where we are camping, and East Lake.  At one time there was one lake in the caldera then a fissure opened up and lava separated the two lakes.  About 3,500 years ago another eruption created an obsidian flow by East Lake.  The “Little Crater” is one of the craters between the two lakes and a nice hike.  We didn’t take the dogs because it’s somewhat steep in sections and some places that just dropped off into a narrow valley.

It is a very nice day with great views of the lake and the obsidian flow, even though you could tell the smoke from the fires was starting to come back into the area.

 

Little Crater Pictures

Hike around Lake Paulina

The 8 mile hike around Lake Paulina is a pretty easy hike.  There is some elevation change but mostly it is rated a moderate hike because of the length.  Another hazy day for our walk around the lake, but the water is crystal clear and we spotted many aquatic birds, moss and flowers.  We could just make out Paulina Peak when we are on the far side of the lake.  We will return another time when there are no forest fires.

Lake Paulina Pictures

Deschutes National Forest Drive

Using narrow National Forest Service roads we drove a loop from East Lake south then west around Paulina Peak and then north up to the entrance that is west of Paulina Lake Campground.  During the whole drive we spotted one tent in a dispersed camping area but no other persons!  In many places the road is very slow going, and our Honda Pilot just had enough clearance to drive the little used roads.  We stopped several times to explore ancient fissures and old logging roads.  The dogs had a blast getting off leash.

Deschutes National Forest Drive Pictures

Newberry Volcanic National Monument Video

 

This wraps up Part One of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  We drive down to Bend Sunriver Thousand Trails to set up a new base camp to explore the rest of the monument in Part 2.

 

Happy Trails!

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Chickahominy

Chickahominy and the Malheur National Forest

Camping at Chickahominy BLM Recreation Area

August, 2018

Our next stop is Chickahominy Recreationa Area.  It is off of US highway 20, about 34 miles west of Burns Oregon, and about 100 miles east of Bend.  It is a 5 day layover, dry camping at the BLM campsite.  There is water at the fish cleaning station (with threaded spigot).  The spaces are spread out with lots of privacy.  No hookups at the campsites, and no reservations.

The campground is a short distance from US 20 and you don’t get a lot of road noise at night.  With the senior discount at $7 a night we couldn’t complain.

 

The little reservoir is half full and is noted as a good fishing spot.  There are only a few other campers braving the 100 degree weather.  We get some fantastic sunsets due to the smoke from the fires in southern Oregon and northern California.   As a result of the hot weather we run the generator for the AC most afternoons to cool things off, otherwise we are running on solar.

It seems like every time I thought about taking the drone “Eyes of Lola” out it was too windy, so no drone videos this post either.

Stargazing

On our clearer nights I set up the telescope.  Due to the smoke haze we use the binoculars for most of the star watching.  With the few campers around and the closest town 25 miles away this is a great dark site for looking at the skies at night.  No photos, sorry!  I was mainly practicing setting up the telescope.

Swimming and Kayaking at Chickahominy Lake

The dogs enjoyed cooling off swimming in the lake in the afternoon!  We took the kayak out for a spin in the lake and got some great pictures of an American Pelican on the far shore.  There are some good walking trails around the lake.  One hike took us towards US 20 and we found lots of obsidian shards that are pure black and SHARP to cut into shoes and fingers.

Malheur National Forest and Delintment Lake

Road Trip!  We loaded the dogs into the Pilot and drove to Riley to get gas.  We then drove in a big loop north to tour the southern part of the Malheur National Forest.  Once we got past a few large cattle ranches we drove up into the Blue Mountains covered with Ponderosa pine trees. This is a nice change of pace to the sage desert at the campground.

As we gained elevation in the southern end of the Blue Mountains and reach the tree line the temperature cooled considerably.  We enjoy the drive and pass several National Forest campgrounds scattered here and there.  Most campsites would not accommodate Lola being too small.  Taking the route from Riley the roads have many sections that are dirt up to Delintment Lake.  If you are driving up to Delintment Lake with a trailer or RV take the road from Burns because it is smooth blacktop.

 

Happy Trails!

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2018-08 Deschutes National Forest

2018-08 Paulina Little Crater

Paulina Little Crater

2018-08 Paulina Lake

Paulina Lake

2018-08 Paulina

Lake Paulina Newberry Volcanic National Monument

2018-08 Malheur National Forest

2018-08 Chickahominy

Chickahominy Reservoir - Central Oregon

Bruneau Dunes State Park

Sand and Stars at Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes State Park

August, 2018

Bruneau Dunes State Park in Idaho has the ‘highest single structured sand dune and a public observatory with a 25 inch Newtonian reflecting telescope.  The park has two RV sections – almost empty during the heat of July.  They also have an equestrian area and several day use sections.  Christine decided to walk up  one of the big dunes almost to the top before the heat set in and warmed up the sand.  Several people were sand-boarding down the side of the smaller dune.

The park offers electricity and water but no sewer.  But there are gray water dump locations scattered around the park.

Bruneau Dunes Video

Bruneau Canyon Overlook

A short drive from Bruneau Dunes State Park is the Bruneau Canyon Overlook.  It is managed by the BLM with input from the local Shoshone Indian tribes, ranchers and environmental groups to protect the area that has been used by the Native Americans for centuries.  It is a remote and spectacular canyon well worth the drive.  As a side note, you drive through a U. S. Airforce bombing range where… you guessed it… “objects may fall from aircraft”!

Castle Rocks

There are two Castle Rocks in Idaho – both have crazy rock formations.  We visited the Castle Rocks on Castle Rocks Creek east of Mountain Home on Idaho highway 20.  The other Castle Rocks is near the Utah border!  Regardless – the Castle Rocks near Mountain Home is a fun drive and the early afternoon light on the rocks brought out some amazing natural erosion relief.  Other than a couple of forest service guys, some cows and a few ranchers we are alone on this trip.  The dogs enjoyed walking on the dusty road while Christine and Jeff take pictures.

Mountain Home

Mountain Home is the largest city around.  With Mountain Home Air Force base close by it is a busy town with most conveniences available.  Jeff utilized the library and Walmart for picture and video uploads and we visited the grocery store too.  Also went to the local farmers market which had some great fresh fruits and vegetables, but the best were the fresh farm eggs.

There is a winery (Cold Springs Winery) close by near Hammett, Idaho, which we visited.  Even though the sign indicated it was closed, we had called and their message said they were open, so we drove up to the house / winery on the hill.  The wine master was there wrapping up some things and opened the doors for us to do some wine tasting.  Excellent wine, spent a few dollars on quite a few different varieties and you just couldn’t beat the views from the top of the hill.  Spectacular!  This winery is also a member of Harvest Hosts, which allows you to stay one to two days for free with no services, but you get to experience the place first hand.

Stars, Stargazing and an Observatory

Bruneau Dunes State Park is set up for the amateur astronomer in mind.  It is considered a Dark Site.  There is a limited amount of lighting around the campsites, and the two campgrounds are situated well away from the highway.  The lights around the restrooms are red-lights.  Mountain Home – the closest town is far enough away and blocked by hills that there is a limited amount of horizon light.  Unfortunately there is a big fire north of Boise and some nights the sky was blocked by smoke and clouds.  Fortunately, since we are staying here for 8 nights a number of nights were clear.

I am not using a very sophisticated astrophotography setup.  A Canon 60D is great but I’m using lenses that I picked up for real estate and hobby photography.  I have an f4.0 medium zoom (17mm wide open) for Milky Way pictures.  And I used 1600 ISO which is probably too high.  800 or 1000 would have less noise.  But I am learning and with practice hope to get better.

Here are some AstroPhotos!  If you look closely at the center of the picture marked Cassiopeia you can even see a smudge for the Andromeda Galaxy.

Milky Way  Pictures from Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes Observatory

For $5 anyone can view the stars using the big Newtonian Reflector telescope at Bruneau Dunes.  It is one of the largest observatories that is set up for public use only.  We also got a blue light flashlight so we could chase tiny scorpions busy during the night on the dunes.

Scorpion Pictures

Designs in the Sand

Happy Trails!

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