Lava Caves/High Desert Museum

February 25, 1984

Guess what we did on our trip? We crawled on our bellies, banged our heads on rocks, fed snakes, petted porcupines and soaked in the hot springs!

We had a great time exploring Boyd Cave southeast of Bend. We had to drive through a lot of snow to get there tho. Once there, we all donned our extra warm clothing, and equipped with flashlights, descended the icy wooden stairs leading down into Boyd Cave. Actually, it’s not a cave in the strictest sense—it’s really a lava tube. After a short discourse on the formation of lava tubes, we became a string of lights winding down through the cave. We reached a point where the ceiling lowered and the cave narrowed so drastically that we had to actually get down on our stomachs and inch-worm our way for about 6 feet until the cave widened out again and we could proceed as usual. Though I had seen a bat on the ceiling when I had checked this trip out a few weeks ago, the eager searching of all our flashlights revealed nothing but the ceiling. Several of us, notably Bea, managed to bang our heads on the ceiling as we stumbled at some awkward points. When we reached the second crawl, we decided we had gone about as far as we wanted to go, so we all stood there and turned our flashlights off and observed a period of the quietest silence you can imagine in the total darkness. Breaking silence, we turned our lights on and proceeded back to the mouth of the cave (a distance of around 1200 feet). There we had our lunch.

We made it perfectly on time for our 1 p.m. appointment for a guided tour of the High Desert Museum. Our guide, Bill McDonald, gave us quite a show. After showing us some sleeping otters, he took us down to the birds of prey exhibit where we were introduced to a little pigmy owl who was quite nervous about the nearby presence of one of its predators—a red-tailed hawk. This immature female red-tail had been brought to the Museum when it was still too young to fly, so they are teaching it to fly and hunt and will release it later this spring when the time is right. We were there at its feeding time and watched it swoop onto and devour its meal of chicken.

Following this we went over to the porcupine exhibit where we all got the experience of petting the tummy of a porcupine. From there we went to the reptile and amphibian display area where several of us fed crickets to the snakes, lizards, and toads. The tour ended and we all went our separate ways, except that most of us ended up together at McCredie Hot Springs for a nice long relaxing soak in the springs while watching the stars and enjoying high spirits.

Those participating were Rick Bolton, Ted Castell, Peggy Dillon, Bea Fontana, Betty Legris, Joe Lowry, Anne Montgomery, Gene Thaxton, Elsie Sommers and leader Ben Ross.


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