Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Caves of Altamira

Late to the post with this, but we spent several days in eastern Oregon over the Memorial Day weekend. Nothing spectacular, but a pleasant little mini-break from the cold rain of the west side. The original idea was camping, but the cool temperatures and the threat of drizzle followed us over the hill, so we stayed in hotels and spent the day rambling the high desert.

One part of the sagebrush country I hadn't tried before was the lava caves; turns out there's something like 300 of the rascals scattered around Bend, Oregon, and one of the longest and most complex is here, Boyd Cave, just ou Bend.We were painfully unprepared for the cave, which was chilly and dark in the particularly inky fashion of places utterly shut off from the sun. The sad little hand flashlight just managed to make it more creepy, and we were headed back out when we were lucky enough to encounter some true cavers complete with Coleman lantern.With the light from this portable daylight we were able to get probably 2-300 feet into the lava tube, and could see and enjoy the molten stalactites on the roof and the flow ledges (or "curbs") along the walls, all the classic lava tube features.It WAS chilly, though, and the littles grew more and more claustrophobic and colder as we went on, so we stopped relatively early and turned back. I think we made the right decision; it seems that not far from our turnaround point were several ceiling collapse piles that required a crawl or squeeze through to pass, and that would have been a problem for the kiddos.And for me, if we're being honest. I'm not exactly the lithe and sinuous type. So we returned to the evening daylight and the promise of delicious popovers and honey-butter at the Pine Tavern.It was part of a lovely trip, of which I'll post a bit more later.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I didn't know about your lava caves. Being somewhat claustrophobic, I think I'd have difficulty entering one :)