Lava Tubes, Oregon

oregon20160727_121849July 27, 2016 – We made our way to Bend, Oregon, to visit the famous lava tubes, on the advice of Tom’s son, David.   On the way, we noticed that even though we were now on the opposite side of the country from our own Georgia, we were seeing many of the same stores — Starbucks, Pizza Hut, etc.  Objecting to this “homogenation” of our country, we tend to choose local restaurants and stores most of the time, but sometimes it is comforting to see something familiar.


We passed strange rock formations that looked almost like buildings found in a Dr. Seuss book – they are lava or spire formations that stick up on the mountainsides. There exist many opinions about what caused these spires to occur … to date there is no definitive answer.



We passed Bend Center, with some familiar names.  But we we stopped for lunch at McGrath’s Fish House.


Below is Tom at our table under a swordfish, and our smiling server who Tom thought looks just like his cousin Mary — there’s Mary in the cornfield on the right.

oregon-mcgraths20160727_125721  marypeaseimg951108

It was a nice day and they had service both inside and outside.   oregon-bend-mcgraths20160727_140017

I just found out while writing this blog, however, that right before Christmas last year, this restaurant closed because they couldn’t pay their rent.  What a shame!!

Continuing toward the Lava Tubes of Bend, we passed some lovely farm scenes …


As well as some that might have done well as a scene of a scary movie.

oregon20160727_120505 oregon20160727_120507

Ranches really do have entrance gates with their symbol, just like in the movies.


Below, with the mountains in the background, is an organic farm with a sign that says “PLEASE DO NOT SPRAY.”  Makes me wonder who is in charge of spraying if not the farmer.oregon-organic20160727_120607

lavatubes20160727_153645Here we are at the Lava River Cave entrance.  We first had to confirm that we had not been to any other caves where bats may reside since there is a bat disease that can be spread from cave to cave by people. Lava tubes were created by volcanic activity thousands of years ago. As explained on the Welcome plate below, Lava River Cave is one of Oregon’s longest uncollapsed lava tubes.  It was originally a conduit carrying molten lava to lower areas on the banks of the Newberry Volcano.


Besides bats and various animals and bugs that still live there, Humans inhabited lava tubes in antiquity.  Here is a picture of a suggested domestic scene.  Considering that entering this particular tube requires stairs and handrails, and the area near the opening is littered with rocks from a partial collapse, perhaps they did not live in this particular one.  Wait – we actually went into a cave underground that had partially collapsed?    Were we nuts?

Pictures taken near the entrance.  Once beyond the entrance, it is totally dark.  I mean really really black dark.  Everybody had flashlights or lanterns and that was the only light.

lavatube20160727_152331   lavatube20160727_152316   lavatube20160727_145330 

Notice all the handrails for the path





After walking over an uneven pathway, there were metal stairs and cross-bridges.  There was probably another half-mile to go, but by that time I had had enough.  Call it claustrophobia … call it scared of the dark … call it whatever you want …. I had to go out.  Tom was kind enough to humor me and so out we went.  Not, of course, before taking as many pictures as we could.


That’s me hanging on the railing.  It was also really cold down there even though it was high summer outside.


I haven’t moved … other people were coming and going of course


Hey, somebody send a rescue party?

lavatubedsc_6860lavatubedsc_6856  lavatube20160727_152251 lavatube20160727_145359

Back outside.


Next, we visited the High Desert Museum with its displays of the cultural history of the region.  Here are traditional Indian clothing bend20160727_162406 bend20160727_162400

This was a display, part picture, part statue, of a man catching fish.  Note Tom watching from lower left


There were also some elaborate Indian headdresses that had been worn by Plateau men holding tribal authority, such as warriors or chiefs.   The first one (on left) belonged to Red Hawk, Cayuse, in the 1930s; the second one (middle) was owned by Chief Tommy Thompson, Wyam, in the 1950s;  and the third one (right) was worn by Chief Hi-U-M-Tick-Quin, Umatilla, in the 1920s and 1930s.

bend20160727_162225  bend20160727_162159_lls 

That’s me standing in front of a teepee of the Plateau Indian Nations. The teepee is real; the background, of course, painted.  Inside the teepee, what you can’t see is quite a bit of furniture.  Watch for it in the video, next.


Below is a panorama of the High Museum set to the music of an Indian dance.

By the entrance of the Museum is the actual stagecoach owned by Henry James “Hank” Monk.  In it, he carried gold before railroad times, as well as passengers such as Horace Greeley, the Prince of Wales, General Ulysses Grant, Prince Alexander of Russia, and President Rutherford B. Hayes.bend20160727_170125

This entry was posted in Lava Tubes & High Desert Museum, Oregon. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lava Tubes, Oregon

  1. David Allbritten says:

    Thanks for the shout out!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *