September 12th (Day 9): Lava Beds National Monument
|Lava tube cave in Lava Beds National Monument|
From Mount Shasta we drove north towards Klamath Falls, then turned right on Highway 161 to visit Lava Beds National Monument. This is an exciting place to study traces of volcanic activities between 1.100 and 2 million years old. Lava streams, small volcanos and lava tunnels are the main features of this National Monument. In additional it is an interesting historic place: In 1872-73 the Modoc Indians used these tortuous lava flows to their advantage.
We visted five of those lava tube caves: the Mushpot Cave prepared with a safe trail and lots of information material, the Sunshine Cave with openings in the ceiling and “hanging gardens”, the 1 mile long Sentinel Cave, the cold Skull Cave with ice on the bottom and finally the Indian Well Cave.
In the afternoon we climbed on top of the mini volcano Schonchin Butte, equiped with a fire lookout tower, and in the later afternoon we visited the Fleener Chimneys, three lava chimneys from which a huge lava stream errupted 2.000 – 8.000 years ago: the Devils Homestead we saw when entering the area from the north.
We spent there the entire day. This craggy but peaceful and quiet landscape we certainly will never forget.
It got dark already when we arrived in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and got us a room and dinner. While reading through the wikipedia entry about Klamath Falls I notice that its sister city is Rotorua in New Zealand, a place where I have been 6 years ago. Interesting: the more you travel, the smaller the world is getting.