2014—Newberry Crater

After my terrifying landing Sunday afternoon, my brother decided I hadn’t had enough terror for one week so he decided to drive me into the caldera of a seismically active volcano. My sister-in-law chose to bypass the opportunity to put her life in jeopardy due mostly to her abject fear of heights and precipices so Arthur and I ventured out alone. Our adventure started with a drive up to Paulina (pronounced “pawl-eye-na”) Peak, at 7984 feet, the highest point in Newberry Crater. The summit area is within a 17 square mile caldera at the summit of a 500 square mile volcano. Newberry is both seismically and geothermally active.

I managed to survive the drive up to the peak despite its sharp, curvy roads and sheer one-sided drop-offs. I’m pretty sure the imprints of my fingers will forever remain in the dashboard of my brother’s truck, though. Despite the haze from wildfires in the area—or could it have been steam escaping the caldera?— we enjoyed the spectacular views of Paulina Lake and East Lake and, in the distance, Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters, all volcanos in the Cascades Range. From Paulina Peak, we ventured to the Big Obsidian Flow nearby where the landscape was more like a moonscape and Lost Lake looked more like a swamp where the Creature from the Black Lagoon might emerge. Our sightseeing journey ended at spectacular Paulina Falls where we watched as a couple of dare devils climbed up to and through the cascading waters.

Of course I was attacked by mosquitos and my brother didn’t get a bite. I brought DEET with me but of course neglected to spray it on. As I write, I’m itching all over and am covered with welts. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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