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The Devils Postpile
Devils Postpile National Monument, California

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Playing on the Devils Postpile

Playing on the Devils Postpile

Though there is a strict rule against climbing the postpile, but children enjoy playing on the fallen basalt columns at the base.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
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Devils Postpile viewpoint

Devils Postpile viewpoint

This classic viewpoint of the postpile from a low ridge is gradually being obscured by trees.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
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San Joaquin River below the Devils Postpile

San Joaquin River below the Devils Postpile

From this vantage point it can be seen how easily the Devils Postpile could have been dynamited and used to dam the San Joaquin River. It was this imminent possibility that spurred creation of the monument in 1911.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
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The Devils Postpile resembles stacked fence posts

The Devils Postpile resembles stacked fence posts

The Devils Postpile was named for a fanciful resemblance to a stock of vertically stacked fence posts.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
See location in Google Maps

A jumble of basalt columns undercut by the river

A jumble of basalt columns undercut by the river

After the river cut a narrow gorge through the basalt flow many columns were undercut and fell.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
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East face of the Devils Postpile exposed by river erosion

East face of the Devils Postpile exposed by river erosion

The dramatic vertical side of the postpile faces the San Joaquin River.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
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On top of the Devils Postpile

On top of the Devils Postpile

The short viewpoint trail loops up over the top of the Devils Postpile basalt flow.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
See location in Google Maps

Hexagonal basalt columns exposed and polished by glacial action

Hexagonal basalt columns exposed and polished by glacial action

The top of the postpile has been cut off level and smoothed by glacial action. It can be clearly seen that although most columns are hexagonal there are also four and five sided ones.

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
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San Joaquin River Bridge at Minaret Meadow

San Joaquin River Bridge at Minaret Meadow

This tranquil bridge was once the scene of a titanic struggle between man and beast.

Some years ago several friends and I agreed to move a string of burros (pack donkeys) from Red's Meadow west across the divide to begin a season of Sierra Club trips. Minutes after the trip began we reached this bridge - the burros took one look and refused to cross.

Since they weigh 600 pounds or more and had four feet stubbornly planted, no amount of pulling on the lead rope could budge them. In a triumph of science over brute strength we rigged a crude block and tackle and hauled them across one by one, six people pulling and several more making threatening noises behind. With a smell of burning hooves each burro was dragged across.

Once a majority were over, the remainder trotted happily after to avoid being left behind. Despite this lesson, three days later these same burros had to be similarly dragged across the North Fork San Joaquin bridge.


Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Date photographed: October 13, 2015
See location in Google Maps

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