Newberry Volcanic National Monument – Part 2

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Part 2:  Exploring from Thousand Trails Bend-Sunriver Base Camp

We are at Thousand Trails Bend-Sunriver just south of Bend Oregon to wrap up our visit to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument (Newberry NVM) in central Oregon.  The campground is very large with 2 pools and the Little Deschutes river running alongside the property.  It is a perfect place for a base camp to explore more of the Newberry Volcano  after spending over a week at Lake Paulina in the volcano caldera.

See Part 1 when we camped at Lake Paulina inside the cauldera here.

The campsites are large and spaced apart at Bend-Sunriver.  There is an unfenced leash-free area for dogs along the river.  There are also trails and a fire road for some great walking.  I also took the telescope out to the dog area because it is surrounded by high bushes for less light interference.

Observatories

There are 3 observatories in the area.  I visited the Oregon Observatory at Sunriver where there were more than a dozen telescopes set up looking at the stars and planets.  The University of Oregon also has an observatory at Pine Mountain (Pine Mountain Observatory) that is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays during the warm months.  Also, the Worthy Brewery in Bend has a “hopservatory” up on their roof.  Plus there are lots of places east of Bend in the desert where you can find a dark spot and set up your telescope or break out the binoculars.

Here’s a few pictures taken out by the dog field using the camera.

Map of Area

Exploring the Lava Cast Forest

The Lava Cast Forest in the Newberry Volcano area was created 6,000 years ago.  As the lava flow wrapped around trees, it cooled and hardened, leaving the imprint of the trees and the trees burned and rotted away.  Many used to be 5 to 10 feet tall, but scavengers broke up most of the larger examples.  Even so, it is a fascinating walk peering down the holes where trees once stood thousands of years ago.   You can see the imprint from the bark that was on the trees! Easy walk and you can bring your dogs as well.

Check out our Lava Cast Forest Pictures

Newberry NVM Lava River Cave

The Lava River Cave is another cool place to visit at the Newberry Volcano.  This is the longest lava tube in Oregon and is 80,000 years old.  Just to put it into perspective – the oldest lava flow on Newberry Volcano is 400,000 years old, and the most recent is 1,300 years old.  Scientists believe Newberry first erupted about 600,000 years ago.  It is still an active shield shaped stratovolcano, with over 400 vents (the most of any volcano in the lower 48 states).

And, it’s DARK!  At nearly a mile long with no lights along the path, did I say it is DARK?  Of course I brought a flashlight.  But Christine wanted to make sure we had light, so she rented one at the ranger station.  And, it is a good thing she did since the batteries in my torch went out after a few hundred steps.  We held hands after that so I didn’t get lost in the dark.  A couple of times Christine turned her flashlight off just to see what it is like to be in the dark.  I could have told her, since I spend a lot of time in the dark… ok just kidding (a little bit).  At the point where you can no longer go any further, she turned off the light again.  You suddenly starts thinking of all of the scary movies you ever watched and quickly turn the light back on.  Easy walk with a few places that have rocks you walk around or over and two sections that if you are tall, need to duck because of low ceilings.

Here are some Lava Tube Pictures

Driving up to Lava Butte

Lava Butte is part of the Newberry Volcano, and is a large cinder cone.  During the summer a bus is provided because of the small parking lot at the top of the cone.  We visited after Labor Day so we just had to wait 45 minutes until the next set of 10 or so cars were allowed up to the top.  We picked a magnificent day that had less smoke haze from the forest fires so we got better views of the Cascade mountains and the Newberry Volcano.  We heard that on a very clear day you could see Mt. Shasta.

Lava Butte Pictures

Newberry Volcanic Monument Video (Part 2)

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a very pretty drive around Mount Bachelor just south of Bend and west of the Newberry Volcano.  Poor Bachelor – always just a little ways away from the Three Sisters, 3 stratovolcanos just west of the Newberry Volcano.  Lots of lakes and views of the mountains.  It is an easy drive to make after a late breakfast since it is 66 miles long.  We took the dogs and they swam at a couple of the lakes.  Watch out though!  Some of the lakes have toxic algae in them.  We had to wipe the dogs down after they got near some of the algae.

Cascade Lakes Pictures

Cascade Lakes Video

This wraps up our 5 1/2 week tour of central Oregon.  On to California (or bust!) next.

Happy Trails!

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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.

 

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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.

 

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