Tag Archives: geology

Jersey Goes West Pt. 8 – Mammoth Lakes and Devil’s Postpile

After our visit to Manzanar, it was getting a little late and we were ready for dinner.  We found this restaurant in Bishop.  It was a nice “home-cooking” type restaurant.  I had fried chicken and the hubby had meatloaf.  Both meals were huge portions and quite tasty!IMG_7384

It was close to 10 pm when we arrived at Mammoth Lakes.  We planned to go to Devil’s Postpile National Monument in the morning and wanted to stay as close as possible, so I chose to make reservations at the Mammoth Mountain Inn. They have pretty affordable rates during the non-ski season.


We were given an upstairs room in a wing near the main lodge and were told to take any food or smelly items out of the car and into our room as the bears had been quite active lately.

Going from -200+ feet below sea level to 10,000 feet above sea level in a few hours has its issues!  I remember telling my husband that I was out of breath just from brushing my teeth.  The other thing that I totally didn’t expect, was that our clothes in the luggage were soaking wet!  For the life of me, I couldn’t not figure out why our clothes were wet when the luggage was dry.  Then it finally dawned on me, that it was so hot in the desert that our clothes heated up and then cooled so quickly that water condensed on them within the luggage.  We had clothes hung up all over trying to dry them out!

Unfortunately, we were only staying in this beautiful place one night.  We fell exhaustively into bed.

The next morning we had breakfast in the main lodge.  The food and service were wonderful!  After breakfast, we needed to find the ticket office to buy passes to ride the shuttle bus to Devil’s Postpile National Monument.  During the busy season, no cars are allowed up the road to the monument unless you are going early in the morning or late in the evening.  The road is narrow and they try to limit traffic going to the monument.  They sell tickets near the sporting areas at the inn.  I took a few shots while trying to find the tickets.  More than once, my husband said, “We are coming back here and staying for more than one night!”.  He did not want to leave!



The day was a bit smoky from the wildfires in Sequoia and Yosemite.


We finally found a little stand that was selling excursions and asked about shuttle bus tickets.  Turns out, that yesterday was the last day for the shuttle bus, so we were free to drive up to the monument!  With that, we said goodbye to Mammoth Mountain Inn and hello to Inyo National Forest.


Devils Postpile National Monument is located within Inyo National Forest.  When driving, there is an entrance fee.  I think it was $10.  The shuttle is a bit more expensive.  The drive was a little scary as there aren’t many guardrails and the road is narrow.  Downhill drivers are supposed to give uphill drivers the right-of-way and there are some turnouts for photos and to allow faster drivers to pass.  I am a chicken when it comes to mountain roads so hubby did the driving.


It was a short walk to the postpile from the parking area.  On the way, we passed this beautiful meadow with the San Joaquin River running through itDevils Postpile_Inyo_7448

Devil’s Postpile is located a short easy walk (about 0.4 miles) from the parking area.

Devils Postpile_7424

This awesome geologic structure was once a lake of basaltic lava.  As the lava cooled it formed these jointed columns. What was left was a mountain of cooled basaltic columns.  These columns were hidden until glaciers eroded the face of the mountain and left the impressive columns exposed.  If you visit Devil’s Postpile, make sure you climb to the top!  It is a short 15 minute uphill hike and well worth the effort.  Nature is amazing!  The top looks like honeycomb of stone.  It looks like someone laid paving stones here.


If we are ever able to visit again, I would like to take the longer hike to Rainbow Falls but it was longer than we were prepared to take today. We wanted to make it to Yosemite in time to see a few things before nightfall.

A couple parting shots as we hiked back to the parking area…


After leaving, we stopped back in Mammoth Lakes for lunch. I am sure the locals had fun watching this Easterner trying to open a bear-proof trashcan.  I was a pro by the time we left Yosemite!

Stay tuned for our few days in Yosemite!




Jersey Goes West Pt. 4 – Valley of Fire (one last time)

Today is just a short post to finish up Valley of Fire.

When last I left you, we had visited the White Domes at the end of White Domes Rd.  We drove back towards the main road towards the East entrance.  On the way we passed the Seven Sisters which are seven lone, tall rocks.  There  is a little picnic area in this spot.  We continued onwards toward The Cabins and Lone Rock.

The Cabins_6781

This image was taken near Lone Rock which is kind of what it sounds like.  It is a large lone rock which a picnic area has been set up near.  We hiked back towards a little canyon and took a picture inside one of the little mini caves that dot the rockscape within VOF.

The Cabins_6791

The light was fading, but I wanted to see the Cabins, which I had missed during my visit last December.



These cabins were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 to provide shelter for travelers and campers that came to visit the newly established Valley of Fire State Park.

I originally had planned to bring my tripod for some sunset shots but totally forgot it in the hotel room!  This one was captured hand held as the sun started going down.

Rainbow Vista_6811

It was a beautiful end to our day at Valley of Fire State Park!

Jersey Goes West Pt. 3 – Valley of Fire (continued)

After hiking to Mouse’s Tank, we returned to the car and continued up White Domes Road  to Rainbow Vista.  Rainbow Vista is a provides a great colorful panoramic view of the area.

Rainbow Vista View

There is a short hiking trail in area.  The trail led to this beautiful multi-colored rock formation.  This is what Valley of Fire is all about!


Rainbow Vista Sandstone 2

We hiked back to the car.  Next stop,  Silica Dome and Fire Canyon.  Off White Domes Road is Fire Canyon Road.  A short drive up Fire Canyon Road leads to a view of Fire Canyon and Silica Dome.  There is a small lookout area but no hiking trails in this area.

Fire Canyon

The sandstone formations that are prevalent in Valley of Fire are made from grains that are almost pure silica. Silica Dome is the best example in the park of such a deposit. The change in color towards the base of the dome occurs when small amounts of iron in the rock produce the rust stain color.

Silica Dome

After our visit to Silica Dome, we made our way to the Fire Wave.   The Fire Wave hike is about an hour long  out and back and it is not recommended (actual warnings posted at the trail head) to do this hike in hot weather.  We took water with us and planned to only go a short way.

The trail starts with a downhill trail going towards this large rock formation.

Fire Wave 1

We walked along the large sandstone outcropping and soon found this beautiful formation.

Fire Wave_6703

This flat smooth sand stone was made up of the most vivid beautiful colors.  Pictures really don’t do it justice.  At this point, we decide to just do the whole hike.  We didn’t know when we would be able to make a trip back here and we felt good despite the heat.

The only way to follow the trail at this point were cairn markers that were set up on the rock.

Fire Wave_6713

Fire Wave_6719

After a half mile of hiking, we finally came to the Fire Wave.  What an awesome natural piece of artwork!

Fire Wave_6724

After a little rest, we hiked the half mile back to the car.  The hike back was a little more tough since it was uphill.  I am so glad we did it though! It was about 5 pm by this time.  We hopped back on the road and drove to the end of White Domes Road to see……the White Domes of course!

The sun was getting lower in the sky and the lighting wasn’t that great so my images reflect that.



There is a hiking trail in the area but we were both pretty beat from the Fire Wave hike so we enjoyed the view close to the car.

I thought I could wrap up Valley of Fire in 2 parts, but that’s all the time I have tonight.  Stay tuned for more!