Atop a huge volcano
At 6,700 feet, near the top of the volcano, Medicine Lake, near the top of the
volcano, partially fills a caldera to a depth of 150 feet or more. 100,000 years
ago Medicine Lake Volcano had a series of eruptions that undermined the center
of the mountain. The caldera is 4.5 miles wide and 6.5 miles long.
In the bottom right hand corner one can see the Medicine Lake Glass Flow,
estimated to be 1,100 years old, is a mile north of Medicine Lake. This flow
covers 570 acres with dull grey stoney-grey dacite 50 to 150 feet deep.
A mountain afternoon with friends
Three couples from nearby Fall River Mills enjoy their Medicine Lake campsite. Hemlock, Headquarters, Hogue and Medicine campgrounds located on Medicine Lake charge a
fee for overnight camping. The 75 campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis.
A time to be one with all
A quiet mid-week day at Medicine Lake is a moment to share with family
and friends. Cool-crisp air high above the summer heat haze and below
patchy clouds makes for an invigorating outing.
Medicine Lake is home to rainbow and brook trout
Largemouth bass fishing is slow when the water temperature is at 50 degrees,
but Crappie fishing is sometimes at its best with the water temperature down
this low. Whether you’re spinning, fly fishing or bait casting your chances of
getting a bite here are good. Just ask this boy who is having the time of his life.
And now for a little geological history
Little Glass Mountain is the most recent major volcanic activity in the area.
1,100 years ago eruptions spread white pumice for miles around.
Then came flows of black volcanic glass, called obsidian.
The date of Little Glass Mountain’s eruption is questionable.
Native Americans did not use this obsidian for arrowheads and spear points
because the extensive white intrusions of crytaubolite make it flake erratically.
The larger Glass Mountain, east of Medicine Lake,is 800 years old.
Where fields of obsidian shine in the sun like black diamonds
More than a million years of volcanic activity, some as recent as 800 years ago, have
produced glass flows, pumice deposits lava tubes and cinder cones throughout
Medicine lake Highlands. This viewpoint is from Loveness Road east of Malin
along the California – Oregon border.
Take a moment and take it all in
Medicine Lake, elevation 6,700 feet, is 408 acres with a lake volume
of 10,860 acre-feet. Its average depth is 24 feet. Its greatest depth is 152 feet.
Geologists believe Medicine Lake lies on a bed of impermeable clay
deposited by glaciers that covered the caldera rim and filled the basin
with ice as recently as 15,000 years ago.
A getaway for meetings in nature
Ore-Cal Resource Conservation & Development Area Council held a full council
meeting at Medicine Lake’s day use area. After lunch, provided by Hospitality Dinner
House, a tour of the Calpine Geothermal Development Project was hosted by Calpine
officials and project manager.
Fire in its belly
Calpine‘s tour started at Telephone Flats, 1.5 miles east of Medicine Lake.
Here, the existing well reaches water temperatures of 500 degrees at a
depth of 4,000 ft. This is a large volcano with fire in its belly.
360 degree views of rural America
Little Mt. Hoffman vistas. The lookout is rentable on a permit basis.
Distance and Klamath Lake evaporation obscures this view in the
upper right corner looking towards Crater Lake.
A view back, and forward, in time
The Medicine Lake Highlands area exceeds 200 square miles in Modoc and
Siskiyou counties and takes in portions of three national Forests – the Modoc,
Klamath, and Shasta/Trinity. Lava Beds National Monument occupies 46,000 acres
on the north east corner of Medicine Lake Volcano. Tule Lake National Wildlife
Refuge is 39,116 acres of mostly open water and crop land. Approximately
17,000 acres are leased by potato, onion, horse radish, alfalfa, and cereal grains
within the Public Lease Lands program administered by the U.S Bureau
of Reclamation. This view is from the Peninsula, aka Castle Rock.
All things volcanic
This commanding view of the Medicine Lake Highlands, 35 miles southwest of Tulelake,
is from atop Petroglyph Point. From this perspective one understands that Medicine
Lake Volcano is indeed 48 times the mass of magnificent Mt. Shasta.
A winter volcanic wonderland
￼In winter the roads are not plowed and provide hundreds of miles of groomed
snowmobile routes and cross country ski trails. Here, Rob Crawford and Lee Mckoen,
Tule Lake farmers, take it all in.
A view from the Volcanic Legacy All-American Road
One is crossing the Tule Lake Basin on East-West road. Most of these geese on
Tule Lake in the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge have recently arrived from
the Central Valley in California. The early spring snow field is Glass Mountain in
the Modoc National Forest on Medicine Lake Highlands. A place so faraway from
modern times but not that far away in time if the roads are open.
The photos on this page were taken between 2001 and 2008.
©2015 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.