Tonight we’re staying at a campsite at Lava Beds National Monument. The drive from Burney Falls to Lava Beds was pretty ridiculous. The GPS kept wanting to take us on dirt roads, and for a long time I kept trying to force it to recalculate by continuing on paved roads. Finally I just gave up and started driving on the dirt.
The route ended up being pretty cool. It took us past an ice cave.
The floor of the cave was literally covered with ice. I didn’t know such caves existed. We didn’t have the gear to climb back up the icy slope, so we didn’t get very far. Now I kinda wanna do research on what sort of gear is needed for this sort of cave so I can return one day. It was still cool though, and a good prelude for Lava Beds.
Our route eventually took us up this volcanic dirt road. The sides of the road were literally just mounds of volcanic rock. The black stuff on the left is actually obsidian. I’m pretty sure Prius’s are not made for this kind of abuse. I’m actually surprised it’s held up so far.
There were huge chunks of obsidian. I took a large piece as a souvenir for my front yard.
We finally arrived at Lava Beds National Monument.
The main attraction at Lava Beds is the lava caves.
The one closest to the visitor center is a beginner cave which has lights installed. The rest of the caves (except for a couple with holes in the ceiling that sunlight filtered through) were pitch black inside and required flash lights.
Inside one of the caves. (Camera had trouble focusing in the darkness.)
I think this one was called Sunshine cave. It had holes in the ceiling that sunlight filtered through.
Skull cave, one of the biggest caves at Lava Beds. It’s an ice cave, but unfortunately the ice was fenced off.
Gid wanted a silhouette shot. So here it is. Haha the reflection off of Ray’s back makes him look like a metallic statue…
I hate these dry environments because you never know when you’ll see a snake. This one slithered right across our path.
Gid and Ray chillin and grillin in camp. I wasn’t expecting much from the campsite at Lava Beds. It actually turned out to be a pretty nice campsite, complete with running water and flush toilets. Plus it had an amphitheater from which we went stargazing and saw the Milky Way. We set up the tent without the rainfly, sleeping underneath the stars.
A desert sunset.
A hearty breakfast of super skillet scramble and french toast before heading to our next destination.
Things I’m thankful for:
- Flashlights and batteries – can’t get very far in a cave without them
- Sleeping underneath the stars on starry summer nights