It drizzled a bit overnight and in the morning. Driving along the rim we found a dusting of fresh snow on some of the slopes. Given the conditions we opted for a tour of a cave, a bad weather trick we had used a few months earlier in Austria.
Lava River Cave, a lava tube, which is a cave formed by a lava flow, is a part of Newberry National Monument. It is some 100 miles from Crater Lake just south of Bend, Oregon Its accessible part is more than one mile long. We skipped the lantern rental and went in with our wimpy LED lantern and headlamps. The cave is a tunnel, in places 15 feet wide. It narrows toward the end and the ceiling becomes low. Dragging along a tripod and a camera, I first started crouching, then went on my knees while the kids still ran around. I finally had to crawl and then it opened up and came to an end. No one knows how far the cave continues as it is blocked by sand.
On the way back almost at the entrance, I realized my backpack was missing. And along with it my wallet, car keys, ... I laid it down when taking a picture. So I went back to look for it. When I reached the end of the cave, I was resigned I would have to go all the way back out, rent a better lantern, and go looking again. Fortunately, as I had zigzagged through the cave, I told a few people that I was looking for my backpack and they found it.
Later we took a drive through the scenic Umpqua River Valley and capped the day off with the usual campfire.
|Philip entering the cave||Step by step||Lantern-trails||Darkness||Cave people|
|Back near the entrance||Highway scenery through the rear-view mirror||Fifteen mile straight stretch||North Umpqua River scenery||Watson Falls|