Today we visited the northern end of the park and walked the trails near the Visitor’s Center. Saw Lava Butte and the lava flows that came from it. This was different lava (a’a, which is rough and rugged smaller chunks), than what we saw in New Mexico at Valley Of Fires (pahoehoe, which is smoother and larger).
It was amazing that this tree was growing out of the rock.
Also did the Lava River Cave hike, which allows you to go into a one mile lava tube. They rent Coleman lanterns for $4 but we brought our own flashlights. The temperature is a constant 42.5 degrees, so it was mighty chilly in there. It was kind of disorienting in the cave. There are no lights at all, and the ground is sandy and uneven, and there are huge rocks piled up in places. Made it quite a challenge to walk if you weren’t paying attention and shining the light in the right spot. Most of the cave is very high and wide, up to 50 ft, but nearing the end of the mile, the walls and roof get closer due to deeper sand, to where we had to crouch down to walk. Some folks in front of us continued, but Jim was getting a bit claustrophobic, so we didn’t quite get to the end, where the sand actually reaches the ceiling. It was certainly a different kind of hike than we’re used to. Most of the photos didn’t turn out well, except near the entrance where there was a little light.