Lava Tubes Search, 20 May 2017 · Index · Fort Stanton Cave trail work, 14 Oct 2017

Trip Report: El Malpais: Junction & Xenolith Caves, 26 Aug 2017

NMT Caving Club

Trip leader: David Hunter

Attending: Alyssa, Tyler, Eshani, and Noah

This was another beginners trip to the El Malpais National Monument, similar to prior trips.

As usual, the group got ready to go at the parking lot.

The group ready to go at the trail head.

Unlike prior trips, Junction Cave was open. It closes for most of the winter for bat hibernation so we did not visit it on our prior trips.

The entry to Junction Cave.

The BLM installed a gate in Junction Cave to keep people out during bat hibernation.

The Junction Cave Gate.

Not that their gate appears to be effective against Eshani-sized cavers. Though this probably doesn't matter as Eshani is very respectful of cave entry restrictions, and 12 year olds are more interested in playing with their phones than sneaking into caves.

Eshani inspecting the Junction Cave gate.

As usual, Eshani promptly tried out the tightest crawls available.

Eshani in a very tight crawl.

She even got Tyler to try it out, too.

Tyler squeezing out of the tight crawl.

After exploring the open-to-the-public parts of Junction cave we went on to Xenolith cave. While a couple of us had been there before, not everybody had.

Entering Xenolith cave.

This trip to Xenolith was not much different than the last one.

Eshani in the Xenolith Crawlway.

Unlike the tiny (and optional) crawlway in Junction cave, this crawl is more manageable. Everybody made it back through the crawlway to the back of the cave.

A caver coming out of the back crawl in Xenolith cave.

As usual, we also climbed to the top of the nearby cinder cone and enjoyed the view. Because when there is a cinder cone you have to climb it; those are the rules.

After hiking around a bit we headed back to do the usual post-trip gear decontamination.


Lava Tubes Search, 20 May 2017 · Index · Fort Stanton Cave trail work, 14 Oct 2017

Last Updated: Dec 2017; Original Posting.

© David C. Hunter, 2017

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