Back in late spring of this year, we took a trip out to Flagstaff seeking some cooler temperatures. One of the places we stopped at was the Lava River Cave.
Formed in the Pleistocene, roughly 675,000 years ago, this 0.75 mile long lava tube is remarkable not only for its length but also its tall ceilings; at some points the roof it more than 30′ above your head. That is a bit unusual in my experience.
Out in the volcanic cinder cones, a few miles east of Baker in the Mojave National Preserve, and hidden among fields of broken basalt and cinder, is the Mojave Lava Tube. Over the course of the last seven million years (during the Pleistocene and Pliocene epochs) and perhaps as recently as 10,000 years ago, basalt lava flowed in multiple eruptive events from cinder cones here.
Alysia and I met up with Brian and his daughter Alisha for a little cave exploring around the Stanislaus River. This wild cave is accessible by a hundred foot climb up a steep limestone cliff. The cave is small and only has only a few rooms to explore. And although some of the stalactites in the cave have suffered vandalism over the past one hundred years since its discovery, it is still a pretty awesome place.
Nestled high in the mountains above Barstow, Newberry Cave sits quiet and unassuming. Caves and pictographs are both rare in the Mojave desert; this is a unique and amazing place.
The cave was first discovered by locals in the 1930s but wasn’t excavated until 1953 by Dr. Gerald Smith working with the San Bernardino County Museum. They found atlatl shafts, projectile points, sandals made from willow and juniper bark, cordage, fire drills, quartz crystals painted green and stone tools. They also found five figurines of deer or bighorn sheep made from willow and sticks. The figurines were pierced by miniature spears. It is suspected they were used in rituals promoting a successful hunt. The figurines have been carbon dated to 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.