Oregon’s Lava River Cave

Created almost 80,000 years ago, the lava tube started to form as the top layer was exposed to the cool air and began to solidify.
While the top crust hardens, the lava continued to flow like a river underneath, creating an almost one mile long exploratory tube beneath the Earth’s surface along Oregon’s Deschutes river.
Fast forward to the modern day and you find a sole explorer with a lantern in hand, ready to walk down into this dark and cold wonder.
As I descend the man made steps, my lantern burns brighter as the darkness swallows the daylight. I soon find myself in the total black of the Lava River cave.
You have no guide, only the occasional glimpses of another explorer’s light ahead of you.
I carry on.
Slow is the only way to proceed down here, as the cave floor has sudden drops in the unstable rock. My eyes start to adjust to adjust to the darkness like a bat, my hands feel for the cave edges as I reach out for some comfort.
Luckily, my lantern burns brightly.
One mile down, and the cave tube is diminishing in circumference quickly, forcing me to crawl on hands and knees until I reach a sign stating to go no further due to instability.
The quiet stillness is unnerving and calming in equal amounts. I can hear tiny droplets of water falling down onto the cave tube floor, playing a maddening, repetitive sound.
drip. drip. drip…..
I’ll never forget the feeling I had as the light from the cave entrance became visible once again.

It symbolizes that no matter how immersed in darkness one may be, if you carry onward with strong resolve, grit and determination, you will always find light at the end of any dark tunnel.

Imagine what lies beyond, waiting in the darkness as you listen to your own echoes.

 

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?