Lava River Cave Aug 08

A classic lava tube near Flagstaff
P8213701   LAVA RIVER CAVE P8213702   This lava tube was formed about 700,000 years ago... P8213703   ...when lava, after oozing down a mountainside, froze on the outside. The lava then escaped at the foot of the tube, leaving it partially empty. P8213705   In 1915, loggers discovered this entrance
P8213707 P8213709   We enter down a very slippery cascade of fallen rock P8213710 P8213712
P8213713 P8213715 P8213716   Gypsum effloresces on the cave roof P8213717
P8213718   It's cold enough near the entrance to see our breaths, but the exertion keeps us warm P8213719 P8213720   After the pile of scree, we find a relatively flat lava floor P8213722
P8213723 P8213725   We encounter rocks that have exfoliated fom the arched roof... P8213726 P8213727
P8213728   ...and rocks that were carried along by the lava when it flowed P8213729 P8213730 P8213731
P8213732   The lava floor is full of ripplea and waves P8213733 P8213734 P8213735
P8213736 P8213737 P8213738 P8213739
P8213741 P8213742   I don't know what these are either P8213743 P8213744
P8213745 P8213746 P8213747   The cave briefly splits here into two channels... P8213748
P8213749 P8213750   ...which rejoin here. Spelunking through the other channel requires squeezing through this narrow throat. P8213751 P8213752
P8213753 P8213755 P8213757 P8213758
P8213759 P8213760   Near the lower end, the floor gets smoother and less obstructed P8213761   ..but with an increasing number of low spots P8213762
P8213763 P8213764 P8213765 P8213766
P8213767 P8213768 P8213769 P8213770
P8213771 P8213772 P8213773   Three-fourths of a mile down, we come tothe end of the cave P8213774   It is possible for a caver to squeeze through to one more small room
P8213776   ...but not us! P8213777 P8213778   We head back P8213779
P8213781 P8213782 P8213783 P8213784
P8213786 P8213787 P8213788 P8213790
P8213791 P8213792   Sunlight once more! P8213793 P8213795
P8213796 P8213797   We stop for lunch in Flagstaff, at the Beaver Street Brewery P8213798 P8213799
P8213800 P8213801   ...where I'm the only one with room for dessert