Some pictures of our adventures at Lava Bed National Monument
descending into Golden Dome...
but as we move farther away from the mouth of the cave, it gets so dark...
and only with the flashes of my camera am I able to see the different colored lava flow that created this cave so long ago.
the red spots are rich with iron
the blue, with titanium
cave dark is darker than dark
and we have to keep crouching lower and lower to pass through
but we get to the place that this cave is named for, the Golden Dome
the whole place really sparkles with specks of gold
difficult to capture on my camera
you'll have to imagine it- it was so beautiful!
and there we are, a couple of happy cave explorers
having no idea how to get back out
but we do
and we ascend from the deep triumphantly!
The National Parks are amazing. I don't know if we as Americans appreciate them enough, in fact, I'm pretty sure we don't. We've set aside some of the most special spaces in our nation to enjoy and preserve- it's a wonderful idea. I am only now starting to realize how great they are. I love the motto that I spotted outside of the visitor's center at the Lave Beds National Monument-
after our adventure in the cave, we decided to hang out above ground for a while, and met this guy...
we hiked around Captain Jack's Stronghold.
we felt the sadness of the battle that took place there between the Modoc Indians and the US Army.
we saw what little remains as a reminder...
and I was fascinated by how nature and time keeps moving and growing
the view from the top of the hill
before we headed down...
the Modoc built some structures during their 6 month stand against the army, but they also used the naturally cavernous land to their benefit. I tried to imagine what it must have been like...
at the end of the trail, this guy watches us leave.
Next, we head to the other side of the park to visit the ancient petroglyphs-
Visit here for more information about the petroglyphs
The images on the rocks were impressive, but I was more fixated on the flurries of busy birds that swooped in and out of their nests in the rock's wall! I think they were magpies, but I could be wrong. I met a woman at the petroglyphs that said she saw two peregrine falcons at the same rock earlier and she pointed out their nests...
and after a day of caves, hikes and rock art, and bird watching, it was time for supper.
we feasted at the only restaurant in town, Captain Jack's Stronghold. Very sweet staff, kinda sadly ironic decor.
The next morning we were ready to explore another cave. This one was deeper in the park and we didn't see another soul on our drive or walk to get to it.
but we face the mouth of the cave.
my Ma confronts the gaping maw of... SKULL CAVE
Unlike Golden Dome, this cave starts level with the ground and you can walk right in.
this time, I go first.
We walk in single file and the cave slopes downward, and gets darker. When only a shred of the outdoor sunshine is visible thought the cave's opening, I stop us for a snapshot. We look a little goofy, but we feel like real explorers!
and then the climb really turns south...
With the pinpoints of light from our torches to guide us, we descend four flights of stairs into total darkness.
and then we reach the bottom.
the beautiful ice floor of Skull Cave, cold, beautiful and ancient.
We thank the cave for letting us visit. and then we start our climb up.
At one point we turn off our lights and stand still, just feeling the cave around us. Letting the darkness penetrate our eyes. It was oddly exhilarating!
and then we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
bright blue sky awaits us.
and we turned back and waved goodbye to Skull Cave with the beautiful ice floor.
back outside- with the sunshine and flowers!