Posted by: sunnyharvy | March 26, 2015

Where the Volcanoes Blew

California’s desert areas received just enough rain this winter to awaken long dormant flower seeds. Some areas are literally carpeted with color. Difficult to photograph, but lovely to observe as we drive along. Here is a small sample, I hope to capture more shots soon.

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Our first two nights east of the Sierras along Route 395 was at Fossil Falls BLM Campground. With our National Parks Senior Pass the cost was a whopping $3/night. Gotta love that! There are about a dozen sites here all of which are very private and quiet. Not that we have many neighbors this time of year anyway. There is no shade, however, so we are glad the weather is mild (except for the wind – more on that later).

The highlight here is a very short hike to the unique geological feature that is Fossil Falls. During the last ice age, glaciers formed in the Sierra Nevada. Meltwater from the glaciers pooled into large lakes, including Owens Lake and the Owens River. The river’s course was diverted several times by volcanic activity. The falls were formed when the river was forced to divert its course over a basalt flow, polishing and reshaping the rock into a variety of unique shapes and forms.

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 From top of falls.

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Across the chasm. FossilFalls0769

This view looks back at where the falls flowed down into the canyon.

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This red cinder cone, visible to the north of the falls (and our campsite), is the result of the violent ejection of trapped gases and molten material into the air from a vent in the earth’s crust. Cooling quickly when exposed to the air, the molten material formed a porous rock known as scoria, which built up around the original vent forming this cone-shaped hill.

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As we hike around lots of volcanic rock formations, we are compelled to think about the violent eruptions that occurred in this area for thousands of years. The loudest sounds now are created by birds and the wind. Speaking of which, somewhat high wind velocity kept us in our campsite for an extra day of forced relaxation in very pleasant surroundings.

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There is water at this campground, but you have to work hard to get it.

I promised to get more wildflower photos. Here’s what I captured. Still not a great representation, so I will keep trying. Fun to do anyway. They seem so determined to grow despite the difficult conditions.

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You gotta love springtime, wherever you are!

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Responses

  1. such beautiful flowers! Love the hat on the pump photo 😉

  2. it is not yet spring everywhere…still snirt piles in the shade, and very few if any flowers here in RI, although the birds are singing like crazy and the ducks are flying in pairs


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