There didn’t seem to be much in the way of July 4th celebrations going on in the town that interested us so we went a short distance east of the city to check out these lava tubes. They are lesser known destinations so I figured that they would not be crowded. Sure enough we had each of them to ourselves while we were there. We did see a few other people but not while in the caves.
The whole area around the caves is a giant lava field and there are lava tubes, collapsed and not, everywhere.
Boyd Cave is a lava tube that you can follow for about 1/2 mile. It was not collapsed anywhere and the entrance is in the middle of a vast empty field. You can drive right next to the entrance.
Off in the distance are the 3 Sisters Mountains.
We are in a National Forest so I assume the Forest Service added this ladder down the narrow opening.
Down we go.
Once again I had the powerful flash on my camera. It was pitch black once you were away from the entrance. We had little LED headlamps and flashlights but they just provided enough light to see where you were stepping and did nothing to give you the big picture. We would get glimpses when the flash went off but we are really seeing the cave for the first time through the pictures.
The jackets were required attire as it was rather cool down there.
The first part had a nice flat floor.
Then we had to climb over a rocky barrier.
After this the floor became a lot more rough. There was a ridge along the edge that was a bit easier to walk on.
Looking back at Jennie walking along the edge.
We didn’t actually go very far, maybe a couple of hundred yards. In the near pitch black, the tricky footing got a bit too much for Jennie. In these kind of places even my adrenaline gets going, but for me that is part of what makes them interesting.
Jennie always likes to check out the weird rocks.
I went a little farther than the ladder to see how much longer it went. It got narrow very quickly.
Looking back at Jennie by the ladder.
Up and out we go.
Arnold Ice Cave is just a few more miles down the road and you can also park right next to its entrance.
Whereas Boyd Cave had a tiny entrance, to enter this cave you first take a path down into a huge collapsed section of the lava tube. Then the cave entrance is at the bottom of one of the walls.
The entrance is the dark spot on the bottom left, below.
It quickly got very steep and slippery due to a sandy surface. Jennie turned around and I tried to go on but didn’t get much farther.
I got low enough to see a little way down the main part of the cave.
But to get down to the floor it was about an 8 foot drop. It looked like you had to somehow go down these logs leaned up against the rocks.
I decided that since I was alone that was probably not a good idea, so I headed back up.
Jennie had spent her time exploring around the entrance.
It is about a 5 minute walk along a path to get to Hidden Forest Cave. These tiny flowers were everywhere.
There were a couple of other collapsed areas to look at along the way.
Yet another photosphere.
Jennie really didn’t like me standing on this overhang.
Hidden Forest Cave is at the end of a long collapsed section of lava tube. You go down an gentle sloping path from one end and walk a short distance through the forest at the bottom.
This photosphere was taken as we walked along the edge to get to the far end.
To the massive cave entrance.
It doesn’t go very far.
We sat near the cave entrance and had lunch.
Before heading back via a slightly shorter and steeper way to ground level.
A final look down at the cave entrance before we headed back to the car and then home.