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The midmorning atmosphere promised to be warm.  Meteorologists had posted a forecast of temperatures in the low 90’s.  For us San Franciscans, that is very hot.

Providentially, this 3rd day of our Oregon Adventure would be taking us into the soul of the earth.  The Oregon Caves was on our schedule.  This national monument would lead us under ground to a depth of over 200 feet.

The good news is that the temperatures of the cave plummet to the low 40’s.  That means we will be taking a couple of layers of clothes with us.  It beats sweltering in the blazing sun on the surface.

Our guide was humorous and informative.  He had us laughing , guessing and enjoying ourselves.  My geology class of yesteryear found someone to awaken that knowledge that had been long placed on a shelf.

We were surrounded by tight quarters, different kinds of rock and stunning formations.  The national park service had dependable lights wired along the tour.  Concrete pathways led us from chamber to chamber. 

God’s finger of creation etched itself into remarkable beauty along the way.  Stalactites and stalagmites were growing before our tourist eyes, one inch every thousand years.  It is a marvel for surface dwellers to catch a glimpse of this “life” underground. 

A long ago adventure of a hunter, his dog and an angry black bear began our tour.  This yarn kept unfolding as our guide wove it in and out with the geology lessons of the day.   

We edged our way through tight passages, ducked below rock outcroppings that were very unforgiving to soft heads, and marvelled whenever we entered a room that the Creator carved out of stone with the simple tool of running water.  There is something to be said about the patience of an artist who carefully reveals the remarkable beauty rock art.  This is an out-of-the-way place but worth the effort for an amazing show.

Maybe it’s the newness of our surroundings but our guide gave us notifications on our progress.  He told us when we were at the “point of no return.”  During our tour he told us when we were at the half way point, the lowest point on the tour, how much time we had left as we neared the conclusion of our visit.  It all gave us surface dwellers comfort that while the darkness welcomed us in it was just a matter of time before we were released back into the light.

photo credit: brucefong photography

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