Tag : caves

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation (Last Year): In Washington

Oregon gives way to Washington. BTW, this, all this last summer stuff, was part of a homelessness-inspired road trip I took in 2014. My house in Pittsburgh sold way faster than I meant for it to sell and — well anyway. Starting June 8th or something I was on the road. Went from Pittsburgh to Norman to look for a place to live, then drove up to Utah (by way of the Colorado posts I’ve posted) for my niece’s wedding, then down to San Diego. From SD, I had to fly back to Pgh to defend my thesis, then I flew back to San Diego and started driving north. Ergo: Eastern Sierras, State of Jefferson, then Oregon, then this post.

Also, driving from Bend up to Hood River is a really nice drive.

After crossing the Columbia on a bridge, I camped somewhere and then went to look at some cave where people in the nearby town used to visit to get ice. Because there’s year-round ice in this cave. It’s a real thing.

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There were also some natural bridges around there, but they were odd and green and maybe not quite as dramatic as the ones in Utah. Here:

I mean, they were fine. Totally fine. That ice cave was super cold though.

The drive from Trout Lake, past Mt. Adams on the unpaved roads up to Packwood, was also super scenic and highly recommended (although it’s kind of a long stretch on a rough road).

Mt. Adams from NF-23

Then a couple photos from when I was hanging out with my parents in Tacoma. I know, you’re only here for the text. Sorry.

Rail transport! And then it was time to go to JHole for the family reunion by way of the Beartooths.

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Last Summer: Lava Beds National Monument

Getting out of Lake Tahoe’s ugly Bay Area traffic and into the beautiful State of Jefferson was a nice transition.

State of Jefferson - Forest

State of Jefferson - Farmland

Was trying to work my way up to Bend, Oregon. On the way was Lava Beds National Monument, of which I had not prior to this trip heard. Maybe. I can’t remember. It’s been a while and saying I’d never heard of it before sets up the story to be “more impressive” by creating a wider gap between expectation and reality.

At any rate, Lava Beds is mostly, as the name would imply, A BUNCH OF CAVES. Not like Carlsbad Caverns caves, but a bunch of human-scale caves that you can head off into and run around in (depending on how good your flashlight is). Fun, self-guided, very dark caves with stairways down into them and enough jagged rocks to bang into such that you feel like you’re really doing something.

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If you were a kid, this would be like the greatest national monument ever. They tend to overstate the “difficulty” of the caves. Watch your shins.

A lot of no-cost NFS campgrounds around here also. And if you hadn’t been there before, you could have also gone to Lassen, which was fun the first time.

Caves, then.