I recently made it out to the Devils Postpile, and here’s what I have to report: it is indeed something you need to see. My former boss was right: this is an area that is remote and lesser known than its bigger cousin, Yosemite. I say “lesser known” because I am well aware that it is directly outside of Mammoth. This is not something that should dissuade you from visiting: even though it is directly outside of Mammoth, it is still tucked away in its own corner of the Eastern Sierra. Also, in this case, being tucked away next to Mammoth is a good thing: there are well signed parking areas for the park from which you will take a shuttle into the park during the summer months. While Devils Postpile is named for the amazing geologic feature of the park – the columnar basalt “piles” that formed over one hundred thousand years ago from cooling lava, and the basalt is amazing to see, I think the best day hike in the park is the hike to Rainbow Falls.
Not only is there water in the desert at Ash Meadows, there’s also a bottomless pit as well. Even more importantly, this bottomless pit isn’t just any bottomless pit: it’s full of water – fossil water – that’s fed from an underground aquifer. If a bottomless pit that happens to be full of water isn’t quite interesting enough for you, I’ve got another fact about this geologic feature that might sweeten the deal for you: it contains a species of fish –pupfish - that has been isolated from the rest of the world for over 10,000 years, and only lives in this one specific spot. If that isn’t enough to make you want to visit the Devils Hole, I learned first-hand that the whole area has more security than some jails. That’s right: the Devils Hole has so much security and protection, it makes one wonder if what’s in the hole is really being protected; or if we, the denizens of the planet are being protected from what’s in the Devils Hole.