The 100th birthday of the National Park Service seems a fitting day for this video even if longer than my usual video.

A photographic, captioned hike along the John Muir trail - and of course, John Muir is one of those people the Park System would not exist without.


Clips from Devil’s Postpile National Monument - classic example of columnar jointing in California. Take note of the shapes of the columns as this traveler walks atop them.

A short hike to the top of the Devil’s Postpile on Mammoth Mountain, in the Sierra Nevada’s of California, reveals the tile-like pattern shown above. Slow cooling of basalt, from the top down, is responsible for these nearly 120 degree shrinkage cracks. The top of the “posts” were scoured by glaciers during the last glaciation. Visible on the tiles faces are glacial striations, which show the direction of motion of the glacier. A water bottle was placed for scale purposes. Photo taken in July 2008. Credit: Nel Graham. (via EPOD)

The Devil’s Work
By “Zenlightened Voyager”

This is the second post from her delightfully well-written blog which can be followed at

As she implores us “lighten the load, live the moment, love the journey”. In this entry, after a zero day and a few indulgences, it is hard to return to the trail. The end of the day brought a little honest assessment of who is most likely to get accosted by a bear.

Food: Tortilla w/cheese & salami, Crackers, Snickers Bar, Couscous & Tuna, Protein Bar

Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 1, Days since laundry 2

I was struggling to think of a good reason to leave the luxurious comforts of my Motel 6 room. I can’t deny, there are many basic things that I really, really miss … hot running water, a flat surface to sleep on, a toilet that you can actually sit on and the good old GoggleBox! I am almost a little ashamed to admit to this last one, but it’s the truth. I often spend my hiking days fantasizing about the marathon sessions of GOT and OITNB that I intend to indulge in when I return to the real world … No spoilers please!

By the time I’d finished procrastinating, found the motivation to leave and finally made my way back to the trail, it was way after noon. The air was hot and humid, my pack was ridiculously heavy and I was all alone for the first time in weeks. All alone, apart from the droves of day hikers that is. I picked my way through the great washed and eventually came upon yet another of America’s satanic geological formations. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the Devil’s Postpile, but as soon as I saw it things made perfect sense. However, what I was struggling to make sense of was America’s somewhat odd fascination with Lucifer. So far I’d seen the Devil’s Chair, his Punchbowl and now a stack of his letters … What next?

I would have liked to have lingered a little longer at this unique National Monument but it was heavily guarded by vicious  bloodsucking insects who were definitely doing the work of the devil! The northern half of the Sierras is notorious for mosquitos. I had long since learned to take fear mongering trail rumors with a pinch of salt. I mean how bad can it be, they’re just tiny little flying things … Right?!?

I plodded on, mostly uphill. My mind was preoccupied by thoughts of bears. Deluxe had been constantly bleating on about how badly behaved the bears are in Yosemite and this information was messing with my head. I stopped for a snack at a beautiful spot alongside a stream, but my over active imagination wouldn’t allow me to relax. I hiked on. Once I’d shaken off the day hikers I saw nobody. I missed my “Tramily”!

The trail took me through the spectacular Ansel Adams Wilderness, but even the breathtaking views failed to lift my somewhat flat disposition. I put it down to “Town Lag” and pressed on. There weren’t too many camping options, even fewer with water. I stopped at a small stream and filled a few liters in preparation for my dry camp. I reached the indicated a spot and much to my delight found Curious George already there. I liked Curious, he was only 21 and we had pretty much nothing in common but at that moment I really liked him. I was very happy for the company but more importantly, Curious had more food than would fit in his bear thing. Basically, this meant that he would be first on the bear’s dinner list. I prepared my bland supper, watched the sunset from my tent and tried not to think about bears!

Archaeology or geology?

Resembling a collapsed temple of days gone by, these broken basalt columns from the Devil’s Postpile National Monument ( litter the ground below the cliff formed by the frozen lava lake.

We did an earlier post on a similar theme depicting tessellated pavement at Any fans are welcome to submit similar photos for a post…


Image credit: Peretz Partensky.