Will wonders never cease? On our way in to Lava Beds yesterday afternoon, a Monarch Butterfly found itself straddling our antenna. Given we were traveling somewhere around 50 mph when it hit, and that it wasn’t moving, I figured it was dead. I planned to give it to V, our junior entomologist, when we arrived at camp. The butterfly slowly slid up the antenna until it was trapped against the antenna topper (a mummified rubber duckie left over from Halloween – antenna balls are so passé ;) ). Imagine our surprise when we stopped to take a picture of the park sign only to watch the butterfly flutter away!
This morning while we were packing up to leave camp and explore the lava tubes, I heard a bird in the van. All the doors were closed except the back hatch, and a hummingbird was battling the interior of the front windshield. V to the rescue! She caught the bird, then held it while it recuperated in her open palm. E picked a penstemon and put the bird's beak in it, then we all watched as it blinked at us, recovered and finally flew away.
The lava tubes were really neat, though I think the girls and I felt equally uncomfortable in the deep, dark tubes well below the earth’s surface. Some of them were wonderfully smooth, gigantic tubes while others were much smaller, had rougher walls, even looked crumbled (very unsettling). Just a few feet down, they’re so dark that when we stood still to turn off our flashlights we couldn’t see our own hands directly in front of our noses. And with the flashlights on, the caves are so big and dark that the light doesn’t have anything from which to reflect, so there’s no extra light. You see what you point your flashlight at, nothing more. And you can easily step into holes, or endless lava tubes, if you’re not aiming the flashlight at the path in front of you. Wonderfully eery. Gutsy adventurers could easily spend a week in this park exploring the published tubes (and certainly finding plenty others).
We got off to a great start with wonderful neighbors last night. They invited us over for s'mores. With Evie's peaches in hand, we took their s'mores and raised them one peach cobbler. First night out and we were able to make Dutch oven peach cobbler. Learned our Dutch oven is WAY too big (8 quarts). MMMMmm!