Off to Indianapolis travel blog

deer on the way in


Original ranger cabin

Middle Fork San Joquin River


the postpile




Aug 16, 2017, Today we head back up the mountain to take the shuttle to Devils Postpile. We are taking one of the early shuttles so there are only a few people on it and when we get to the monument it is still cool so the walk is not too bad. It is .4 miles one way to the base of the pile and it takes several times longer than most people but by stopping occasionally I make it. The altitude is also getting to me, we are between 7000 and 9000 feet.

Devils Postpile is a geographical formation caused by a combination of volcanic actions and glaciations. About 82,000 years ago basalt lava was deposited here from an unknown source. This particular lava flow was ideal for column formation: thick with a consistent mineral composition and it cooled slowly and evenly. As the lava cooled it contracted and split into the symmetrical, vertical, hexagonal columns that make up Devils Postpile.

60,000 to 72,000 years ago a glacier flowed down the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River and overrode the fractured mass of lava. The moving ice carved away one side of the postpile, exposing a sheer wall of columns 60 feet high. Later erosion and earthquakes felled many columns that lie fragmented on the slope below the postpile.

We walked back to the ranger station and get the stamp and wait for the bus to take us to the end of the road. Here in Reds Meadow we look around and decide to have a late breakfast. We then catch the next shuttle back to the lodge and head for the RV.

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