Friday, November 01, 2013
Oregon Caves National Monument
Oregon Caves National Monument was one of the many nature parks we visited on our last Klamath Circle of Parks trip. This park is between Crater Lake National Park and Redwood National Park. Oregon Caves is located in the Siskiyou Mountains, and aside from the marble cave,
there are also four hiking trails through the ancient forest within the park.
The cave tour must be with a guide, the cave is huge that one can get lost here. The fee is $8.50 per person for the tour, however, since we have a National Park Pass, we did not have to pay for the tour. Being close to the many National Parks in the West, we usually just buy the annual pass which is only $80.00, just 4 visits to any National Parks, we already get our money back since most National Parks have $15- $25 entrance fee. Just in Oregon Caves National Monument alone, we would have to pay $34 for the tour if we did not have a National Park Pass.
My problem with our guide however is we did not really stop for pictures, as a result, my pictures were taken in haste, and with very low light in the caves, it was a challenge to take pictures and not be left behind by the group. We did take stops, but that was to explain about the history and formation of the cave, and though he told us we can take pictures while he talks, but then, all of us in the group were too respectful to take our camera out, whenever he talked. We only took our camera when we had to resume from walking, and those who wanted to take pictures took a quick stop to shoot. It definitely was a challenge having too little time to shoot for pictures and to rush getting back to the group :(
The tour was described in their site as moderately strenuous, however, it actually was not really that moderately strenuous. It included climbing more than 500 stairs and a total climb of 230 ft. In some passageways, we had to duck down and squeeze through very narrow pathway. The tour lasted for 90 minutes.
Tourists planning to visit the cave must not be wearing flip flops, open toed shoes, sandals, and other considered to be unsafe shoes, otherwise, they may not be allowed entry to the cave. It is for safety, since the trail is so slippery, there ware water inside the cave, and it is dark as well. The temperature in the cave is at 44 degrees Fahrenheit ( 6.7 degree Celsius) regardless of outside temperature, warm clothing is recommended. Like most caves, backpacks, large purses and tripods are not allowed because of low ceilings ( we had to dock down to pass several times ) and narrow passageways.
According to natural history, the marble rocks of Oregon Caves were once a tropical reef that was pushed under the continental edge to a depth of 12 miles and then uplifted 4,000 ft above sea level.
Oregon Caves National Monument's unique geology is composed primarily of bits and pieces of ocean crustal rocks. The park is well know for their botanical diversity. Being close to the Pacific Ocean, the region has very comfortable temperatures, both winter and summer.