Sunday, April 05, 2009

Mojave Lava Tube

Here's another post about an old adventure that I failed to blog about. In February 2008, I ventured to the lava tube site in the Mojave National Preserve with Mark and Dave. Here's a National Parks Service page that mentions it.

With modern GPS navigation systems, this site is easily visited if you want a diversion south of Baker. The major dirt roads in that area appear in my Garmin Nuvi, so I assume they're in most other units. The sand isn't deep at all, but there is a stretch of about 100 yards of lava rocky road at the end. I parked my Acura MDX at a small parking area where that rough section began and walked the rest, while Mark and Dave drove their Ridgeline all the way.

The lave tube opening is a short hike from the end of the road. We pass a few openings into the underground chambers below us. For brevity I won't explain lava tubes here. The last link I offer at the end of this post has a nice description.

The main opening has a ladder, placed there by the parks service. It was a repurposed ladder that wasn't ideal for the situation and I actually preferred hiking up the wall when I exited.

Once you get down, there's only one direction you can go, and it's further down. The ceiling gets really low in places and it's dark so you can easily bang your head on pointy lava rocks.

Most of these photos are blurry. Sorry about that. I'm not sure why that happened. Obviously it was "pilot error."

Then you end up in a rather large chamber. Nice and cool compared to the outside desert temps.

Further back into the tube we saw the famous steaks of light from above. At first they weren't very noticeable, so I walked around kicking up a bit of dust and the streaks became much more dramatic.

This last photo shows some scale with Mark in the shot.

Here's a Google map centered on the site.

Since my photos are so craptacular, here's a link to a site with better photos and nice descriptive text. More can be found by googling.

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