Caving in Lava River Cave

Along with the hike through the Lava Lands and the drive to the top of Lava Butte, we took the time to go caving inside of the Lava River Cave.  This was the first time any of us have been inside and down into an actual cave.  It was chilly and quite a trek down into the cave, but once down inside it was well worth the climbing.

We made our way down the walkway to the cave entrance.  Jeff even wore his Prescott, Arizona tribute t-shirt on our cave exploring trip.  It was a nice thing to see at times when I would be behind him.

A view of the cave from outside.  We had to purchase the use of a propane lantern for $5 from the Ranger's Guard House before going inside.  We also used Jeff's high-powered LED flashlight too.

The welcome sign read about the history behind the cave and how much lava was actually carried through the ground.  The cave is Oregon's longest non-collapsed lava tube that still stands even 100,000 years later after the flow.

Other signs let us know what to expect as far as animals that might or might not be inside the cave.

The opening to the cave was amazing to stand and look at, but it was almost scary too.

Skylar looked so small compared to the size of this monstrous cave opening.

Once we got the courage we began our descent into the cave.  We used out hiking poles once again.

The inside of the cave was covered in moss, water, and a few bat droppings here and there along the wall.

The climb down was a bit too much for pictures, so we decided to pack away the camera and concentrate on our footing.  Once we hit the bottom, it was better picture taking grounds.

This point in our cave exploring was the middle ground under the actual highway that lead to the Lava River Cave.  

It was quite chilly at the bottom, but not so cold you couldn't function.

The tube seemed to go on and on through the dark, and at times, if you stood completely still, seemed almost eerily too quiet.

We hit some areas in the cave where we had to duck down and literally crawl through.  Someone that's claustrophobic would not have done well in these areas.

Once we reached the end of the cave, it was so dark that I had to use my flash on the sign.  The area behind the sign went down into a drop off that was further down into the earth where the lava flowed up and into the lava tube.  We were told that over a million bats now call this area home.

The bottom of the cave was covered in small craters that were/are created by the moisture that collects inside the cave and drips from the ceiling for a period of time creating the small divots in the rock.

Once we reached the end, we made our way back.  This walkway was was lead down into the cave from the opening.  You can see a group of people coming down into the cave from the top of the stairs.

When we made our way out of the darkness and saw the sunlight our eyes had to take time to adjust.

The light was so bright, but we were glad to come up out of the cave.  It took us two and a half hours to cave dive into this cave.  

Skylar and I wore our new Nike's during our cave exploring and they gave us great support, but I think next time, I will stick with hiking boots.
It was a great cave dive and the Lava River Cave is definitely on the list of MUST SEE AGAIN!

Eco-Trip:  When hiking or exploring, be sure and pack a snack for the trip along the way.  Pack foods that are organic and come in their own packaging such as, apples and bananas.  The less you take into an area, the less you have to worry about leaving behind.  For this and other tips on going green visit, The Earth and Me:  Go Green.

For further tips on making your life a bit more informative on the "green" front, visit my Examiner Green Pages:

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