Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Geysing We Will Go

About a month and a half ago I came across an article saying that "Old Perpetual" geyser near Lakeview had started erupting again, after a hiatus of a year or so. Fellow geoblogger Dana quickly yelled "Roadtrip!" Well, typed, but you catch my drift. Mid-summer in the area is likely to be unpleasantly hot (though a friend who taught at Lakeview witnessed snowfall on July 4), so my suggestion was either late spring or early fall. Thinking more carefully, I've been to the area several times during mid-June to early July, and it's still quite nice at that point. Local commenters seem to be in pretty strong agreement that the geyser is most dependable during high ground water periods, which suggests early summer might be better than early fall. So in the interest of starting this discussion, I think the middle to latter half of June might be a good target period for a visit to the area.

Of course, getting there is half the trip fun; what should we do on the way to and from? I've been thinking about how to present this for a while... I'd prefer to be more detailed, but I'm not real good with long, exhaustive posts. So here's a quick map and brief descriptions of some of the options (click the image for full size):The quickest route from the Willamette Valley to the general area is to take 58 from Eugene to US 97 south of Gilchrist/Crescent. Going south on 97, a traveler would pass close by Crater Lake, making that park an easy side trip. Very nice pumice samples can be collected outside the park north of Chemult. From near Chiloquin, one can bypass Klamath Falls with the Sprague River cutoff to Rt 140, then drive east to Lakeview.

Another route to or from passes through Fort Rock Valley and close by Christmas Lake Valley along Route 31. From north to south along this route, geologic features of note include:
  • Hole-in-the-Ground: A maar, about a mile in diameter
  • Fort Rock, a tuff ring
  • Table Rock, A somewhat eroded, but generally beautifully preserved, tuff cone. (Picture from here; description and travel log at the link.)
  • A side trip into the Christmas Lake Valley area would allow a visit to Crack-in-the-Ground,the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, and a major source of diatomite. Diatomite is mined on a road named Kitty Litter Lane... guess what it's used for?
  • Picture Rock Pass- home of a boulder with detailed petroglyphs
  • Abert Rim is frequently described as the one of the tallest fault scarps in the US- I'm dubious, nevertheless, it is seriously impressive.
I'll pick this up and discuss a few other options in a concluding post. What would you like to see more of?


Dana Hunter said...

FYI, I shouted "Roadtrip!" as well as typed. Jumped up and down and did a mad little dance of glee, too.

Crater Lake's a must. Never seen it before, and I totally should.

We could do a kind of loop thing - go one way and return the other - if you've got the time and inclination. I'm saving a good portion of my vacation (and my bonus pay) for this! Would love to see Abert Rim, if we can swing it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all great locations, but I was more bedazzled by what you are good for and how many cannibals you can feed. Wow, ten!

Most impressive. ;)

Silver Fox said...

Almost got stuck once in the sand north of Crack-in-the-Ground.

SkinnyDennis said...

Oooooo drool it all looks so nice! Likely I'll have to armchair this.