Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Inverted Valley

After hiking up the buttes by Black Butte Lake, I started to research on other areas closer to home where ancient volcanoes created interesting and unique geological structures.

Tuolumne Table Mountain between Jamestown and New Melones Lake is an inverted valley miles long. One is able to hike up to the top for spectacular views of New Melones Lake and the Sierras.

Nine million years ago, a volcanic eruption sent lava flowing into a river bed where the lava hardened  as it cooled in the river. Slowly over time, the soft soils surrounding the igneous rock eroded leaving an inverted valley.

While following the trail, my husband and I missed the junction/bend in the trail that heads to the top. Instead, we followed the trail that passes by two caves and ends at this pile of boulders. We did climb up a bit thinking this was part of the trail, but we quickly realized that we had missed the junction.

We did see some climbers and other folks exploring this area. The 4.6 mile trail starts at the end of Shell Road on BLM land. Dogs are allowed on the trail. 

After a wonderful time exploring the Inverted Valley, we headed back to camp at Tuttletown Recreational Area. We were located in site 12 of the Acorn Campground. Most of the campers were situated up the hill, far away from our location. Nobody was at the site next to us; so, we had a quiet evening. 

In the morning while drinking tea and relaxing under the beauty of the oak tree, I listened to the birds. Wild Turkeys, Bobwhites, Quails, and Woodpeckers were busy making their presence to mother nature.

Later in the morning, we explored the trail from the campground down to the lake. From that trail, we followed numerous other trails to create a loop back to the campground. We were very surprised at the wonderful trail system throughout this recreational area that we are looking forward to returning again to explore more of the trails.

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