Saturday, June 20, 2009

Devil's Postpile National Monument

To get to Devil's Postpile, you have park your car at Mammoth Mountain Lodge and catch the mandatory shuttle bus over Minaret Crest and down into the valley of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. Several of the stops take you to trailheads or lakes, but we took the one at Devil's Postpile.

Back in 1990, we visited this monument, but I only took a couple of pictures of the kids. This time we even took the hike to the top. Geological features like this fascinate me - here, the lava cooled into hexagon-shaped columns, some of which bent and twisted as below.

Along the trail to the top is a slanted outcropping of the columns - they just stick out of the hillside.

The trail from the bus stop to the wall of columns goes along the San Joaquin River - and since we're on the west side of Minaret Crest (the Pacific Crest), this river flows south and then west into the Pacific Ocean.

Across the river was this enormous granite dome.

At another outcropping, one column had broken off neatly. See the hexagon shape?

At the top you can see where glaciers sheared off the tops of the columns, clearly showing their hexagonal shape.

The things you see in nature! This is the root system of a fallen tree along the trail.

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