After driving up Lava Butte, we visited the Lava Cast Forest. It’s a long drive on unimproved roads to get there, but Matt read from the books and I drove and we eventually got there.
Timer portrait at the start of the trail.
Snow was still on the ground.
Wind shaping the flora.
Aside from taking a long time to drive to, the trail is only about 1/3 of a mile. But it has a unique feature. Also there weren’t many people there.
We were there to see the tree molds.
And here is one.
I loved these trees with the swirly bark.
Soon after expressing love, I found this informational sign. (Interpretive win!)
Here’s an upright version.
We did not see any pika, alas.
What’s going on here?
The above is a closeup of a downed tree. You can see how the roots grew around the rocks.
The trail is passable, despite a downed log.
What the ground cover looked like. We had an asphalt path to walk on, but that looks like it would rip shoes to shreds. It must have been hard to get to this back in the day.
Another tree mold.
The last sign on the trail was this picture of what some of the lava molds used to look like. This was an important picture because it showed how things have changed. After being impressed at the tree molds we saw, I was sad to have missed seeing them when they were taller. (Another interpretative win!)
Overall, I would say visiting the Lava Cast Forest was worth the drive.