A frequent Interzone visitor asked me to post a couple shots of the stunted trees on the Big Obsidian flow. My pleasure! Paulina Peak in the distance, a ridge of obsidian boulders in the foreground. The fact that trees have been able to colonize this surface at all is nothing less than astonishing. There is no soil to speak of, and water drains out and through almost instantly. During the summer, the dark rock absorbs the intense sunlight, raising the temperature well above the surrounding woodlands; during the winter, the bare rock does nothing to blunt the cutting wind and snowblasting. I think these are lodgepole pines, but whatever they are, their tenacity is breath taking.