Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goin' West in the Westy (4)

Our next destination was Bend, OR. We've heard all the buzz about Bend for awhile now (good climate, miles of trails, river through town, breweries, cool downtown and 20 minutes to skiing through June at Mt Batchelor) including the recent "Best Town" write up in Outside Magazine. Generally, it seemed to live up to the hype and we were impressed.

After a night in a hotel in Bend, we headed just out of town to the very cool and amazing High Desert Museum (where we saw a bald eagle, a rattlesnake, and a river otter, among many other things)

and then to spend the night camping at Newberry Crater National Monument.

Near where we camped was a short hike on the "Big Obsidian Flow," a gigantic area covered with obsidian and pumice stones and boulders. I'm fascinated by obsidian both because it has such a unique look and feel and because it played such an important role in the development of tools. Native peoples came from miles away to collect obsidian here. More interesting info on obsidian can be found here.
Since I've always thought of the smallest piece of obsidian I might find in New Mexico as a treasure it was mind-boggling to see the stuff in such quantities in all directions.

Big Obsidian Flow trivia:
1. The volume of rock in the Big Obsidian Lava Flow is 170,000,000 cubic yards. Assuming a paved road 24 feet wide and 6 inches thick, there is enough rock in the flow to pave 70,000 miles of road which is equivalent to a paved road circling the world three times. (But it was still illegal, of course, for my kids to take a small piece home as a souvenir ;))
2. Surgical blades made from obsidian are sharper than those of steel.

We left Bend in the rear view mirror and motored across eastern Oregon and into Idaho for a night in Boise.

The next day was across Idaho, close enough to sniff Sun Valley, and with a cool lunch stop at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

We came over Teton Pass...
...and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to turn north into Grand Teton to see if we could spot a Moose. In our experience, this is not very difficult to do on the Wilson-Moose road and this time was no exception.
Pizza at Dornans to soak up the majesty of the Tetons

(and to goof around a little, too)

A quick night of rainy camping, a nice morning at the farmers market in Jackson and we were on our way to Steamboat for our final night...

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