Last Summer: Lava Beds National Monument
Getting out of Lake Tahoe’s ugly Bay Area traffic and into the beautiful State of Jefferson was a nice transition.
Was trying to work my way up to Bend, Oregon. On the way was Lava Beds National Monument, of which I had not prior to this trip heard. Maybe. I can’t remember. It’s been a while and saying I’d never heard of it before sets up the story to be “more impressive” by creating a wider gap between expectation and reality.
At any rate, Lava Beds is mostly, as the name would imply, A BUNCH OF CAVES. Not like Carlsbad Caverns caves, but a bunch of human-scale caves that you can head off into and run around in (depending on how good your flashlight is). Fun, self-guided, very dark caves with stairways down into them and enough jagged rocks to bang into such that you feel like you’re really doing something.
If you were a kid, this would be like the greatest national monument ever. They tend to overstate the “difficulty” of the caves. Watch your shins.
A lot of no-cost NFS campgrounds around here also. And if you hadn’t been there before, you could have also gone to Lassen, which was fun the first time.