Oregon Caves National Monument, OR

Day 20 – June 28, 2016

Mileage – 77,956

Crescent City, California

(Teryn) We started the morning at a parking lot of a Walmart.  Jenney made pancakes for breakfast.  They were delicious. It’s good to have a homemade breakfast once in a while.

After breakfast we headed on the road.  Logan and Teryn didn’t know where we were going because it was a surprise.  We drove for an hour and a half to Oregon Caves National Monument.  When we got out of the car Teryn was excited, because we missed the cave in Sequoia National Park.  It was her goal to go in at least one cave on this trip.

Logan however decided to read the entire way up the windy mountain road and immediately commenced vomiting when we got to the parking lot; pink raspberry pancakes.  With that over we looked toward our cave adventure.

We got our safety talk and headed to the lodge for tickets and junior ranger books.  Jenney decided not to go because she was really tired, but Kevin, Teryn and Logan went on the Cave tour.  The ranger called us over and explained how caves were formed.  Caves are formed by acid that make holes in the rocks over time.  She explained this was a marble cave and the three types of rock igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.  Marble is metamorphic, created when sediment is laid down then put under incredible pressure and heat causing it to change.

After the talk the ranger led us to a plaque right before the cave that had the name and date of the first person that we know went into the cave.  He went in the cave because his hunting dog ran in after a grizzly bear.  Then we went into the dimly lit cave.  Our tour guide led us through the cave and at our first stop she told us more about the people who have gone into the cave before us.  Further into the cave we came to three or four stops that had soda straws, columns, stalactites, and stalagmites.  She explained how they were formed growing less than 1 inch per 1000 years.  Then we went into the biggest room of all, the ghost room. The ranger taught us that the ghost room got its name when early explorers who were already freaked out mistook the white crystals on the wall as ghosts.  We went to a look out point with really steep stairs, there was a really cool formation that looked like mushrooms. We stayed there for a few minutes as the group before us ascended before we could go down.  She told us that we were heading to our last stop to see an early explorer who didn’t have as good of an ending.  As we rounded our last corner she stood in front of bones and asked, “what type of bones do you think these are?”  Some people guessed human, to which she said,  “early explorers don’t always have to be human.” Another participant guessed bear, which was correct. A grizzly bear could have come in from a spot in the cave up above and was not able to find his way out in the dark.  We walked 500 feet straight up and out of the cave.

We finished our junior ranger books, turned them in and hit the road for 5 hours to Portland.

Once we got to Portland we met Kevin’s colleague Gary and his partner Kate.  We sat outside on the porch talking and playing with their dog, followed by a tour of the RV.  Their hospitality was amazing.  We spent the evening talking, munching, and learning more about each other.  We were thankful for such great hosts.