Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Glass Creek Meadow

Glass Creek Meadows September 7th 2013

Looking for a place to hike last weekend, we decided to visit an old friend - Glass Creek Meadow. The trailhead is near the western edge of Obsidian Dome in Mono County just off highway 395. This giant feature was formed around 600 years ago by a slow-motion eruption of oozing rhyolite. The whole area is a volcanic feature.

The beginning of the hike takes you up the side of a small crater formed by a phreatic eruption, a steam explosion that resulted from molten rock hitting groundwater and instantly flashing to steam. There really are no switchbacks so there is a whole lotta up in the beginning. This is fine since it gets the climb over with quick.

You then enter a valley made entirely of pumice. You definitely can’t sneak up on anybody while you’re walking on this stuff. The contrasts are stunning as we passed golden fall willows that snake through the white pumice. The elevation gain is very small and the 1.4 miles walk is pleasant. After that, you soon behold the 3/4 mile long meadow.

In the spring it is a flower garden, in the fall you can enjoy the absence of insects. Lots of birds eating dried seeds along the way. Oregon Juncos took to the sky in flocks of 30 as we approached a single bush. Hawk and accipiter patrolled the air, and we saw a large and small coyote at the end of the meadow trotting together with a purpose heading out.

On our way out, we walked along a distinct edge where forest meets meadow. Along the way we came across the essence of small camp with 3 disintegrating shovels laid against a collapsing tin shed.

It wasn’t the usual 5 mile 1,300’ elevation gain hike we try to accomplish each weekend, but it was just as fulfilling to our souls. After 5 days of computer-watching, it is always great to feel expended after a hike that melts way the tensions of life in the 21st century.
Turn at Obsidian Dome Rd, 48 miles north of Bishop.

For more information on Obsidian Dome click here.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done. Even in September of a dry year a few wildflowers still bloomed.

    The pine trees growing in the rhyolite gravel had a layer of low branches that swept the ground, separated by a length of tree trunk, then more branches. Odd. And we puzzled if the downed trees were the result of an avalanche or blown down.

    That stand of dead trees at the end of the meadow were dramatic. What gives? We may never know.