If my friend Yifun hadn’t mentioned them in a comment on a picture of Crater Lake I posted to Facebook, I probably would not have sought these things out even if I’d seen the tiny sign marked “Pinnacles 7 miles” on the Rim Road. Once again, fate sent me to a very cool place (thanks, Yifun!).
The first glimpse of the Pinnacles was across the river canyon as we were driving down the narrow road, and while the view looked kind of weird, it wasn’t really “I gotta see more of this” camera-grabbing time. Yet.
Then we parked at the end of the road, got out, leaned over the viewpoint, and saw this.
Now the Pinnacles had my attention! Take a closer look at these things…
These are technically volcanic pumice spires, all that has survived from countless years of erosion from Wheeler Creek, which I could barely see at the bottom of the steep walls. The spires are actually chimneys of a sort. Back when this was a solid wall of pumice and ash, leftover from volcanic eruptions, the heat from below escaped through holes in the wall. Over time, most of that wall eroded and these fumaroles (long narrow holes) are all that is left.
And one more close-up before we go. The texture is like a really rough climbing wall, lots of bumps and jagged things sticking out of each spire, making each unique and definitely not smooth at all, despite the constant erosion working away on them.
Fun fact: These Pinnacles are more slender than the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon!