Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Lava Butte

Last weekend we hiked up Black Lava Butte, not far from our house off Hwy. 247. We went up the back side after driving all the way down Roadrunner Rut in Pioneertown. It's a steep climb up the butte, but the views from the top are spectacular. Above: looking east towards Landers, with Goat Mountain in the distance. You can see the dark-colored lava rocks in the foreground, with the lighter-colored monzogranite boulders down below.

Above: looking west towards Roadrunner Rut and Pioneertown, with a good view of the lava rocks in the foreground. The rocks are also found down the sides of the buttes in rubble piles following well-defined lines, as though there were once vents where the lava came up.

Two of the buttes have newly erected towers on them to measure wind. These towers were put up with no warning in 2011 (with BLM approval) and are precursors to a wind turbine farm on the buttes. Local opposition to this project is strong. Most disturbing is that there are no transmission lines nearby to tie into (yet). Above: the whole pole. It's just under 200 feet tall. At 200 feet, they would have had to put a blinking light on it.

Above: close-up of a solar panel on the pole.

We also saw a "slick" or grinding stone used by the Indians. It's the rock with a scratched-looking surface, which is in fact extremely smooth.