Saturday, October 5, 2013

More Mammoth Lakes Area

I have one tip for anyone who is thinking about taking this very scenic 125 mile route along US 395.  Go to the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center at the north end of Lee Vining.  Not only do they have information on Mono Lake and Yosemite, but we asked for information on 395 and got the Inyo National Forest Visitor Guide with maps and information on everything from Lee Vining to Lone Pine. It is well worth the suggested donation of $1.  I might have even paid $2!

After reading the guide, we had two more places we wanted to see while in the Mammoth Lakes area.  The first was Obsidian Dome.  You know how much we love obsidian.  Well, the dome was both impressive and a disappointment.

Although you can't tell from the pictures, it was the biggest and most impressive mountain of rocks I've ever seen.

But it was clearly was not all obsidian.  Even the pieces that were obsidian were not pure, forming this interesting striped appearance.  They were very pretty though.

There was no way I could scramble up the giant hill, but I really wanted to see the top.  I wondered if there was a crater left from the eruption that spewed out all those rocks.  Then, as we drove past our parking spot, we saw a gated road up.  Now we were even more curious.  Why a road?  So we parked again and walked up it to see.

Well, we discovered why there was a road.  Obviously the site had been used as a rock quarry, probably before it was protected.  But what were they quarrying for?

We're thinking pumice.  It was everywhere.

From our visit to the Obsidian Flow in Deschutes National Forest in Oregon, we learned that pumice and obsidian are related.  Obsidian is solid glass with no bubbles and pumice is frothy glass with big bubbles.

The other place we wanted to see was Hot Creek Geological Site, created by eruptions 700,000 years ago.  There was a pictorial sign to explain the process.

There were signs warning that people have died or been seriously burned.  Really?  They couldn't see that it was hot?

We looked for the periodic geysers, but this was the most activity we saw.

It was a very pretty walk along Hot Creek - just watch out for the steaming hot spots.


  1. yep a place we missed last time out west, maybe we can catch it next time around...

  2. They may not have been pure obsidian but those rocks were beautiful.

  3. There are idiots everywhere. They keep sign companies in business.

    Very interesting rocks, did you get any free samples to decorate your yard?