After some early morning hiking across the lava flows and a trip into town to pick up fresh batteries I returned to Junction Cave to do some exploring. The cave isn’t particularly long, but it was tough going and took nearly two hours for the round-trip. To reach the end of the cave required squirming through a tunnel less than three feet high that was so damp that my breath caused the air to begin filling with fog. On the return trip I stopped, shut off my flashlight, and sat down to experience the complete lack of light and see what tricks my mind might play on me. After a few minutes I started seeing really bright flashes that would pulse in and out, but after about five minutes of enjoying this trippy display I finally realized my brain was fine and that someone else was in the cave and I was seeing reflected light from their flashlight.
A late afternoon visit to El Morro National Monument completed the day. That park was created to preserve what is basically four hundred years worth of graffiti on the sandstone cliffs, but the hike to the top of the cliffs was more to my liking. I’ve committed the sin of getting a hotel room for the night, and can only justify the decision by stating that a shower makes the breach of road trip protocol so very worthwhile.