Panum Crater

After our visit to Leavitt Meadows and the drive up Sonora Pass, we had a late, late lunch in Bridgeport, at the historic Bridgeport Inn. We then continued to Panum Crater for sunset – hard to believe, but after visits in 2012, 2014 and 2015, we still had not been there. Panum Crater is really close to the overly popular South Tufa area at Mono Lake, and probably a bit under-appreciated… but the visit is oh-so worth it!

Panum Crater is estimated to be only 600-700 years old, so the volcanic rocks are very sharp and edgy, and not much affected by erosion. Walking around one can’t help but be in awe (and a little bit frightened) about the forces that were at work here – it makes you realize just how puny and unimportant we humans are on nature’s scale. Yes, we alter the planet with our insane animal agriculture and consumption of fossil fues… but it’s nature that will prevail and renew itself – not us…

It was pretty close to sunset when we arrived and we took the trail to the inner crater (another trail leads around the caldera). I didn’t spend nearly enough time admiring and photographic the rocks (obsidian – black glass!) since I also wanted to get up higher for a better view of Mono Lake and a thunderstorm far to the northeast. Unfortunately, the trail we took didn’t offer a clear view from Mono Lake where it ended – there was still another wall of rock in the way, and it didn’t look inviting. :-)

Nevertheless, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to explore the place, albeit just on the surface for now. It’s calling me to come back already…

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1 thought on “Panum Crater”

  1. Ilana and I spent some time at Panum Crater a few years back. The obsidian was amazing and the land inside the caldera was great fun to explore. Thanks for refreshing the memories!


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