First up today was the short 0.2 mile steep climb up the all black cinder cone called Inferno Cone.
Without any features it is hard to tell distance.
Looking back down.
There were some nice views from the top on this great clear sunny day. Lava as far as the eye can see.
This was the only tree anywhere on the cone.
Big Southern Butte off in the distance.
Looking down on the start of the other end of the North Crater Trail.
Back down we go.
Our next stop was actually the Broken Top Trail but the stop at Buffalo Cave along the trail was the definite highlight so it gets top billing.
The trail does a 1.8 mile loop around Broken Top Cinder Cone. It started out interestingly enough in some more lava.
But then for about 2/3 of the loop we were just walking around the cone through sagebrush.
There was a side trail to the Blue Dragon lava flow overlook. It sounded interesting but was just a lookout high above the vast lava field.
The sign described how a lava pool formed below.
But the walls don’t really stand out because everything is the same colour.
Continuing around the loop with Big Cinder Butte in the background.
Some more sparkly stones.
At first we though that this was a log.
This one looked like is was oozing chocolate.
A very jumbled cliff.
More large lava bombs.
Then across a smooth lava flow.
To this collapsed area with the entrance to Buffalo Cave.
A photosphere from near where Jennie was standing.
The “main” entrance to the cave is quite small and we saw a few people decline.
I climbed down and discovered that it was quite large just below the entrance. You have to bend over but it was not bad. Someone else joined me. It was very dark. He at least had a head lamp. I was just using my cell phone flashlight.
The camera flash really lit it up though.
I convinced Jennie to come on down.
The cave is not very long but there is a large room where you could stand up.
The no-go section is fenced off.
There were some holes to let beams of light in.
The family in the previous entrance picture came later. They went a bit deeper and found some other ways in and out around the depression in the lava.
Popping out a different gap.
We left the way we came in.
We had lunch before I went exploring again.
A photosphere from our lunch spot.
I saw family go down a small hole on the other side of the valley in the lava, to a separate small cave.
This one was very red.
The opening in the picture above is larger than it seems. I could get through it easily into another chamber with exits back outside.
Out I go.
The hole I came out is in the left side of the picture below. Jennie is waiting for me along the edge at the top right.
Just to the left of the picture above, there was a large overhang with a small cave / room underneath.
This one had a lot of colourful lichen in it.
Another unusual rock that was probably a bit of roof given that it looked like it was covered in drips.
A photosphere from where Jennie took the above pictures.
We finally moved on through a valley with collapsed lava edges.
Then along the jagged edge of the cinder cone.
Then back to the car and home.
We later headed out to the lookout on the highway to get our internet fix.