Lava Beds National Monument – California

imageLava Beds National Monument

Completed: May 29, 2016

Senior Friendly

At the northern edge of California is a desolate landscape which offers great opportunity to explore caves, at least twenty. The views across the lava beds are stunning. This is a favorite national monument which I enjoy visiting and was pleased to have time to complete their Junior Ranger program.


This is considered Senior Friendly as the upper age limit is listed as Ages 12 and older, as well as two age groupings of 5-7 and 8-11. The groupings are titled; from youngest to oldest, Blue Bird, Sagebrush Mariposa Lily and Modoc. Besides completing the age-appropriate and required activities attending a Ranger-guided program or view the park video to earn this badge.

Activities include; Cave Safety, Cave Softly, Leave No Trace, It’s a Wild, Wild Life, Modoc Culture, Formations of Mushpot, As the Lava Flows, Goin’ Batty with Ben, Drawings in the Rocks, If Rocks Could Tell Stories…, National Park Service Mission, Camp Lava Beds, Protecting Our House, What is Wilderness?, and Lava Beds Maze.


There are 4 activities required for all ages and 4 Modoc pages. The National Park Service Mission page was a good way to explore the mission statement, it included correcting an incorrect statement by selecting a better word and to have you write what the Mission statement means to you. The most challenging activity was the Camp Lava Beds which has you spend the $25 a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) family member sent back home for a family to live on in 1935. Even at 1935 prices $25 did not go very far.

Protecting Our House and What is Wilderness? were both two page spreads that used maps to identify the main ecosystems and wildernesses in the park, as well as a place to write up your experience while in a portion of a wilderness within the park boundaries. I walked out a sort distance on the Whitney Butte Trail.

Once done I brought the completed booklet to the visitor center a ranger reviewed the booklet and discussed my answers. The ranger filled in the certificate, then had me recite the Junior Ranger pledge before giving me the badge. This was a program that was well-designed for older kids and this Senior.



Devil’s Postpile National Monument- California

Completed: May 26, 2014
Devil’s Postpile

Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly

Devil’s Postpile National Monument Ranger Station is only open during the summer months, and luckily it was open this Memorial Day weekend. During that time you take a shuttle from the Mammoth Mountain ski area to the canyon which has hiking, Red’s Resort, as well as the monument. The road is steep and very narrow, the $7 adult shuttle ticket is well worth the cost.

As the shuttle arrived a ranger was there to meet the crowd and give out brochures and Junior Ranger booklets. We both recognized each other, Ranger Elsa was the ranger who gave a nature walk last September whenI was in Yosemite. My grandson and I did our Junior Ranger badges together. She was excellent with the kids.

This program is considered Senior friendly as it indicates it you are over 10 years of age you should complete 10 activities. There was a total of 12 activities. I spent about 3 hours completing the 12 activities. A younger child could easily complete their activities in less than an hour. If you do not complete it before leaving the bottom, the multi-agency visitor center in town has the patches.

Working on the booklet

In order to complete several of the activities you need to walk the 0.4 mile up the trail to the unique rock formation for which the monument is named, additionally you need to walk up to the top to make several observations and drawings.

Ranger Station

The Rainbow Fire maze was one of the more difficult mazes I have had to complete. Besides working the maze you had to identify animals that return to an area after a fire, based on the type of plants as they return.

The Scavenger Hunt had you draw in several items you can find along the trail, as well as something for your to add. Again I enjoy the drawing activities. Overall I enjoyed the activities and the time spent at this national monument. The river, views of the Sierras and the unique geology come together to make a most enjoyable experience.

Junior Ranger pledge

Booklet & patch