Lava River Cave

On my last full day in Bend I decided to visit this cave, which is just south of the Lava Butte shown in the previous post.  The mile long cave maintains a constant temperature of around 40 degrees, cooler than most caves, I presume, because it is lava and not conventional rock.  Having learned a lesson when I visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky last year I arrived at this cave before it opened at 9 o’clock.  (When I was at Mammoth the daily temperatures were up around 100 degrees and EVERYONE wanted to be down in the cave where it was a constant 54 degrees.  All the tours there were booked so I never saw the cave).

While I was waiting outside the gate I struck up a conversation with my new friend Erich, a fellow traveler who is also visiting the area.  I talked his ear off as we walked through the cave together on the self-guided tour and before we parted I told him about this blog.  About a hour after I started my next activity he sent me a message saying that not only had he looked at the blog but that it has inspired him to start one of his own!  That is the ultimate compliment.

I recommended that he go to the McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway (the Observatory, butterflies, etc) which I had seen earlier in the week, which he did.  He later sent me a message suggesting that I visit the Lava Cast Forest, which is where he went after touring the cave and before going to the Pass.  That wasn’t on my list but I did make it back to Bend in time to stop there about an hour before sunset.

My pictures from inside the cave aren’t worth a damn so I won’t bother posting them.  It was a neat cave, though.

And no, Erich is not the guy in the picture.