Monday, July 15, 2013

Lava Beds National Monument

For part of the extended 4th of July weekend, I camped out at the Lava Beds National Monument. There are many caves that you can explore there, and there's plenty of stuff to see and do.  But, it's not that large, so you probably wouldn't want to stay out there for too long (two days is enough).  And, unless spelunking is your thing, after you adventure into half a dozen caves, you probably won't feel an urge to check out more of them.  Nevertheless, it was a cool experience.

Also, make sure to bring a hard hat or helmet and also don't forget flashlights.  While you can borrow them from the visitor center, it limits your exploration times as you need to return the borrowed items fairly early.  One more thing... even if it is summertime and the temperatures are high, be sure to bring at least a light jacket as it can get surprisingly cold inside some of the caves.

Here are some pictures I took.  The insect pictures are starting to look a bit better now that I have an actual macro lens.

Please enjoy!

Lava Beds National Monument Entrance Sign

Crawling around in the Balcony and Boulevard Caves

Entrance to the Big Painted Cave

Crawling into a tight spot in the Golden Dome Cave

Inside the Heppe Ice Cave

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) inside the Heppe Ice Cave

Jot Dean Cave in the Shasta-Trinity Forests

Another picture of the icy Jot Dean Cave in the Shasta-Trinity Forests

Medicine Lake

Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus boreas boreas) at Medicine Lake

Modoc Volcanic Scenic Byway 

Skull Cave - It's pretty large... look at the tiny people down there.

Valentine Cave - One path leads to death, the other to riches.

Valentine Cave - A cool drop of water.

Nice looking leaf outside one of the caves.

American Bluet (Enallagma)

Crimson-ringed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia glacialis)

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) in Hidden Valley

Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus)

Metallic Green Bee (Agapostemon)

Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

Robber Fly (Asilidae)

Different Angle of the same Robber Fly (Asilidae)

Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum)

Another Variegated Meadowhawk 2 (Sympetrum corruptum)

Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla)

Western Band-winged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum semicinctum)

Western Pondhawk (Erythemis collocata)