Monday, August 22, 2011

Devils Postpile (Aug 22, 2011)

I woke up this morning feeling quite good after yesterday's 10 mile hike in the mountains. The only places that bothered me were the places the sun block missed. I always seem to miss a spot. They should invent glow in the dark sun block for dolt-heads like me. Anyways, the feet felt good, but I still wanted a slow hiking day just to let them rest.

With that in mind, I headed to Devils Postpile. (I really want a possessive s on Devils, but I'm just copying the spelling from the park guide.) I figured I could see all the sights and only have to walk 2 miles. Perfect. Hah! Silly me ended up hiking 7 miles. By mile 2 I was feeling every single rock I stepped on yesterday and my toes felt covered in blisters, thought they weren't.

I took the bus from Mammoth to the Devils Postpile bus stop. On the bus ride I planned my hiking order. First order of business was to find Minaret Falls. It wasn't too far or hard to find, yet the trail seemed empty. It didn't get a big photo in the park brochure, so I suppose most visitors didn't know to go find it. I love maps and study every one I can find, so I made sure to find everything in the area to see. The trail leads right up to the base of the falls, though it's not immediately apparent that you can go stand at the base. It took some scary rock hopping, and I did submerge one boot and soaked my sock, but wow, it looked awesome from the base.

Minaret Falls.

After Minaret Falls I headed back down the trail then a short hop to the Devils Postpile. Pretty awesome set of rocks left over from an old lava flow. As the lava cooled, it shrank, and pulled apart. These cracks from pulling apart formed hexagonal basalt columns. Years later glaciers came through the valley and the tops of the columns were polished smooth.

Devils Postpile.

Top of Devils Postpile.

After climbing around Devils Postpile, I hit the trail for Rainbow Falls. Most people wisely took the shuttle bus to shave a few miles, but not me. I hiked all the way, and moaned privately to myself the entire way. My feet had obviously not healed up from yesterday's trek. The clouds were patchy today, so no rainbow for me at Rainbow Falls, but nevertheless, it is quite a nice waterfall. It's close to Vernal and Nevada Falls in Yosemite, in my opinion. The drop isn't as high, but it is wider. That said, the Yosemite falls include the great hike up to them.

Rainbow Falls sans rainbow.

A bit further (half mile?) is the lower Rainbow Falls, but I decided against this as my feet were sore. You can also hike down to the base of the falls. So I headed back to what I hoped was the closest bus stop. If I had fully rested feet, I would also have liked to visit Reds Meadow and Agnew Meadows to take some wildflower photos.

I spent the remains of the afternoon exploring Mammoth Village followed by soaking my feet in the hot tub. Rough life!

All photos are on Smugmug.

The GPS track is on Everytrail.

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