Oregon Caves - August 16, 2014
Coordinator Camiele Simon, narration by Lois Soulia
Twelve was the magic number and we were twelve on Saturday, August 16, who gathered at the parking lot to set out on the long journey to the Oregon Caves National Monument on a hot and hotter day. The number was important because our Coordinator, Camille found that if there were 12 in a group, the admission price went from $8.50 to $6 per person.
Traveling on I- 5 to Grants Pass, the party went south and west, through Wilderville, Selmac, Kerby , Grayback and Cave Junction. (Did you know that the “cave” in Cave Junction referred to the Oregon Caves? – News to the narrator.)
Arriving at the National Monument about 11 a.m. in four different cars and times, the group was organized into a tour and off they went into the cool bowels of the earth (44 degrees) with Ranger Stephen to tell them the secrets of the caves and caverns. They learned about stalactites, columns, stalagmites, the white nosed bat fungus and an incredible journey of surface water which carved through limestone to form marble halls deep in the earth. 56 bats inhabit the caves. The jaw bone of an ancient jaguar have been found in the cave from ancient times when the animals inhabited the area. The group was treated to the sight of Grizzly bear bones found in the cave which may be over 48,000 years old.
Emerging from the cave, the club picnicked at a picnic table nearby and then divided into groups to pursue various hiking trails, some leading to a gigantic Douglas Fir tree (Called the Big Tree) which may be close to 3 thousand years old. The trails are well maintained and scenic and worth the time for a short or longer hike. Driving down off the mountain which was at four thousand feet, the happy cavers/hikers saw temperatures rise as the altitude dropped. It was a long trip but the hikers agreed that it was worth it. The caves are amazing and awesome.
Thanks are due to Camille who did a great job organizing the outing.
Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club