A couple days ago we visited the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, including driving to Paulina Peak. A steep, narrow road with signs discouraging large vehicles provided spectacular views with the ultimate reward a wrap-around panorama of central Oregon.
Perched on top of a pine was a large brown bird with black wings and a small black stripe by its eye. Later in the evening, my friend Abby emailed that it was a Clark’s Nutcracker, a bird that feeds on pine seeds.
Notice the trail just below the trees. A troop of scouts hiked from the lakes to the peak.
A hummingbird was feeding on Paintbrush and Penstemon flowers.
Also in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, you can hike across the Big Obsidian Flow, where you will see both pumice and obsidian and very few plants. Besides lichens, there were Penstemon and a Silene (wildflowers), and scattered pines, a few very old and gnarled, others the size of a Bonsai.
The Newberry National Volcanic Monument is south of Bend, Oregon off of Highway 97. You have to pay or have a pass to get into the Monument and then have another pass to park in areas along the road inside the Monument. I recommend doing research ahead of time if you aren’t familiar with the dual fee system: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5300659.pdf also the U.S. Forest Service page for the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.