Tag: Oregon Caves

Underground magic

A trip to the Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve.

A week ago when our family guests were staying with us we decided it would be a treat for all of us to visit the very famous Oregon Caves – it was not a disappointment.

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Morten and Marius gathering information.

The history of the caves does involve a dog.

Apparently Elijah Davidson discovered the caves in 1874 when he was out with Bruno, his dog, and it disappeared. The dog had fallen down a fissure that Elijah managed to squeeze into and, bingo!, there was the most incredible deep cave ahead of him. (Watch the video below for a fuller description of how the cave was discovered.)

Joaquin Millers Chapel This is a room seen on the cave tour. It is called Joaquin Miller's Chapel and it is named after the author, Joaquin Miller because he wrote about Oregon Caves in Sunset magazine.
Joaquin Millers Chapel
This is a room seen on the cave tour. It is called Joaquin Miller’s Chapel and it is named after the author, Joaquin Miller because he wrote about Oregon Caves in Sunset magazine.

Clearly today’s visitors to the cave enter in a more gentle fashion!

P1160309WikiPedia has a very good description of the caves, from which I quote:

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is a National Monument and Preserve in the northern Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon in the United States. The main part of the 4,558-acre (1,845 ha) park, including the marble cave and a visitor center, is located 20 miles (32 km) east of Cave Junction, on Oregon Route 46. A separate visitor center in Cave Junction occupies 4 acres (1.6 ha) of the total. Both parts of the monument, managed by the National Park Service, are in southwestern Josephine County, near the Oregon–California border. The climate is generally mild even at the cave’s elevation of about 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above sea level, but icicles can form at the cave entrance, and winter snow sometimes blocks the park highway.

Elijah Davidson, a resident of nearby Williams, discovered the cave in 1874. Over the next two decades, private investors failed in efforts to run successful tourist ventures at the publicly owned site. After passage of the Antiquities Act by the United States Congress, President William Howard Taft established Oregon Caves National Monument, to be managed by the United States Forest Service, in 1909. The popularity of the automobile, construction of paved highways, and promotion of tourism by boosters from Grants Pass led to large increases in cave visitation during the late 1920s and thereafter. Among the attractions at the remote monument is the Oregon Caves Chateau, a six-story hotel built in a rustic style in 1934. It is a National Historic Landmark and is part of the Oregon Caves Historic District within the monument. The Park Service, which assumed control of the monument in 1933, offers tours of the cave from mid-April through early November. In 2014, the monument was expanded by about 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) and re-designated a National Monument and Preserve. In addition, the River Styx, which flows through the cave and emerges as Cave Creek, was named to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Oregon Caves is a solutional cave, with passages totaling about 15,000 feet (4,600 m), that formed in marble. The parent rock was originally limestone that metamorphosed to marble during the geologic processes that created the Klamath Mountains, including the Siskiyous. Although the limestone formed about 190 million years ago, the cave itself is no older than a few million years. Valued as a tourist cave, the cavern also has scientific value; sections of the cave that are not on tour routes contain fossils of national importance.

Daughter Maija, grandson Morten and your truly just having exited the cave.
Daughter Maija, grandson Morten and yours truly just having exited the cave.

Between Marius and myself we took a great number of photographs but many of them can’t compare to the quality of photos found on the web.

For example here’s one of my pictures:

P1160322and here’s one taken from the National Parks Service website:

These are formations known as soda straws and like soda straws they are hollow tubes. They are made up of the mineral calcite.
These are formations known as soda straws and like soda straws they are hollow tubes. They are made up of the mineral calcite.

Won’t go on! (But I will post a collection of photographs, both from me and Marius and found online in a future Picture Parade.)

What I will do is to close with this YouTube video. It is 17 minutes long but very interesting and, hopefully, an inspiration to others to come and visit this incredible geological site.

Happy Holidays to all!

Oregon

A dip into this remarkable State.

Just fancied a change from two days of Democratic Deficit. So today’s post is a brief overview of the US State that Jean and I live in, together with our animals, the State of Oregon.

Now it’s easy to look up a Wikipedia reference to Oregon but what really caught my eye was as a result of a recent visit to the local Grants Pass office of the Bureau of Land Management.  We had gone there to purchase a $5 permit that allows us to go on to BLM land and harvest our own Christmas Tree!

In the Grants Pass office were a number of brochures of scenic attractions in Oregon and we picked up one describing the Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway.  Just a quick browse reminded us of Oregon’s stunning and dramatic scenery. Just wanted to share some images.

Mount Thielsen

Mt. Thielsen
Mt. Thielsen

The Mount Thielsen trail is described here.

Crater Lake

At a depth of 1,932 feet Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.  It was formed more than 7,500 years ago when the Mount Mazama volcano erupted and then collapsed back in on itself.

Crater Lake showing Wizard Island.
Crater Lake showing Wizard Island.

As Wikipedia describes the lake,

The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148-foot (655 m)-deep caldera[1] that was formed around 7,700 (± 150) years ago[2] by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. Human interaction is traceable back to the indigenous Native Americans witnessing the eruption of Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. At 1,943 feet (592 m), the lake is the deepest in the United States, and the seventh[3] or ninth deepest in the world, depending on whether average or maximum depth is measured.[4]

Watson Falls

The base of Watson Falls.
The base of Watson Falls.

The website EveryTrail describes Watson Falls:

Watson Falls is the third highest waterfall in Oregon at 272 feet. It is the most beautiful waterfall along the North Umpqua River Valley. You will cross a wooden bridge below the falls that will put you right into the lower rapids with an amazing view of the falls as they roar over the basalt lava cliffs ahead.

Someone who goes under the handle of HikingTheWest posted this video on YouTube about 6 weeks ago.

Oregon Caves

These caves are an Oregon National Monument with full details on the US National Park Service’s website.  That website explains:

Nestled deep inside the Siskiyou Mountains, the caves formed as rainwater from the ancient forest above dissolved the surrounding marble and created one of the world’s few marble caves. The highly complex geology found on the Monument contributes to the unusual and rare plants and animals found nowhere else but here.

A view of the inside of the caves.
A view of the inside of the caves.

There are many good videos of the Oregon Caves on YouTube so do have a browse if you want to.  This one caught my eye, especially as it was filmed in January, 2013..

Rogue River

The Rogue River
The Rogue River

Final sight for today, the Rogue River runs close by Grants Pass, our nearest town to where we live.  Again there is a Wikipedia entry from which one learns that, “Although the Rogue Valley near Medford is partly urban, the average population density of the Rogue watershed is only about five people per square mile (12 per km2).”

Just reflecting on that last paragraph, a simple calculation reveals that the State of Oregon has a population of around 3.9 million people with an land area of 98,300 square miles.  Thus the population density of Oregon is 39.6 persons per square mile.  To put that into perspective, our neighbouring Californians to the South enjoy a population density of 238 persons per square mile!

Jean and I are very lucky to be living in such a beautiful part of Southern Oregon.