Suzanne had camped at Indian Well, the campground at the Lava Beds National Monument, before, so she knew exactly which site she wanted: #18.
The campground and much of the surrounding area had burned, recently enough that the damage was still obvious. Site 18 was black and charred, looking out onto a vista of ashes and soot. Fortunately, other parts of the campground had survived and we found two sites together without any difficulty.
And the fire didn’t damage the fun parts of Lava Beds, aka the caves. Suzanne was still under the weather, but not so under the weather that she didn’t want to go clambering around underground, so we spent our Tuesday wandering from cave to cave, managing to explore five of them — Golden Dome, Sunshine, Indian Well, and Upper and Lower Sentinel.
Was I efficient enough to tag my photos with actual names of the caves when I took them? No, of course not. Honestly, though, pictures of caves don’t strike me as all that interesting in retrospect — rocks, rocks, and more rocks, really, with not a lot of color — so it’s probably just as well.
My favorite cave, though, was definitely the one that most reminded me of every video game I ever played in my childhood. As we climbed down into it, I told Suzanne that I fully expected to be attacked by either orcs or goblins any second.
Lava Beds also had truly spectacular sunrises, sunsets, and night sky. Desolate scenery is always good for a good sky. So are wildfires, for that matter. (There were none burning anywhere near us, of course, or we wouldn’t have been there, but fire season isn’t over and I’m sure the amount of ash in the air had something to with the colorful skies.)
This final photo is only sort of a photo of the Lava Beds. Or rather it is, but it has been extremely thoroughly tweaked in my image-editing software. Those aren’t the real colors, that’s not the real sky. The weather, in fact, involved beautiful blue skies with spectacular clouds every day that we were on the road. But I was experimenting and I liked the way this one turned out. And it does capture the charred desolation well, even if it was a lot less apocalyptic in person.
Like: A lot less apocalyptic.
I also like that you’re back on the road, even in a limited fashion.
I like being back on the road! I keep thinking I should be able to use this time of sitting still to be incredibly productive, but I haven’t managed to make that happen. I miss waking up in new places all the time.
Wow… that last photo is actually pretty awesome! Caves are not my thing… LOL so I have to hand it to you both for your bravery. LOL
We had fun! But we did decide to skip all the caves that required crawling. That seemed more like work than fun. And thanks for the image compliment — I had fun with it. I’ll have to post the one I was playing with tonight for you to see — it’s the cave photo, but made a little magical. 🙂