I will never get sick of White-headed Woodpeckers.
The day was turning out to be a lot cooler than the previous day, for which Jake was probably the most grateful.
My friend jumped at one point when he spooked a lizard along the side of the road. The lizard did not make it far and we were able to inspect it closely. A pygmy short horned lizard!
So damn cute. We hiked up to yet another view of North Sister...
Yellow-rumped Warblers and Chipping Sparrows kept us company on the hike back.
After our hike we drove down to Cold Springs campground to fill up our water jugs and wander around a bit. Best free water source in town.
This area offers up a nuthatch trifecta.
On the drive back up to our camp spot I stopped to spy on an Olive-sided Flycatcher, strangely undisturbed by us.
Back at camp our Gray Jay friends returned, begging for snacks.
The dogs were a bit more excited by this other visitor to camp...
Here's a bit of a wildlife quiz for you all... Sunday evening after we got in the tent to go to bed we heard an animal moving around our campsite. In the morning I found that something had dug up the spot where I had last peed the night before. What would do that? Coyote? There were footprints in the ground nearby, but no details in the prints could be seen. More like holes in the ground.
Monday morning we packed up our stuff and headed out. I abandoned my original destination when we passed the sign for Lava Lands Visitor Center, part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We were intrigued and decided to check it out, especially when we realized one of my annual passes got us in for free. The first thing we did was take the drive up to the top of Lava Butte.
Lava Butte is a cinder cone, believed to have erupted once about 7000 years ago, which resulted in all of the lava flow seen above and continues over two miles to the Deschutes River. There's still barely any vegetation in the immediate area. Views from the top of the cone were lovely- Mount Bachelor and the Sisters mountains looked great.
At the top is big a crater, about 60-160 feet deep depending on where you are on the rim.
After the butte, we went back down to walk the Trail of the Molten Land. It's an impressively strange landscape...
After exploring this area we drove down to the Lava Cast Forest. Along the forest road that leads there I found this thing that looks like a tent caterpillar nest with the craziest prehistoric critter sitting on it.
We arrived at the trailhead for the Lava Cast Forest with some delusions that we were going to see trees made of lava rock. This defies logic, of course, and what we did see was pretty cool. I'll let this sign explain it:
The lava casts look like this:
They kind of look like wells. Pretty cool.
All this rock means one thing: Rock Wren heaven!
Our last stop before heading back to Portland was Paulina Peak, the highest point of the Newberry Volcano at about 8000 feet. There's a 360 degree view that on a clear day reaches from California to Washington.
That's it! After all that dry and dusty heat it was lovely to return to a rainy and cool Portland. Good times!!