Discovering Unseen Treasures in a Lava Cave in Bend, Oregon
The mouth of the Lava River Cave gapes open, and its teeth—icy domes formed by water droplets—reflect the glow of lanterns. Spidery fractures on the ice mimic intricate glass. The domes set expectations for a mile-long display of nature’s eye candy. From there, daylight disappears into darkness, and the cave’s appeal goes unseen. Solidified lava forms the walls and ceiling, and its tunnel was once a river of flowing lava. Rainfall drips from above, feebly denting the soil and forming abstract sandcastles. Also above are hibernating bats. “If they wake up, they lose the energy they’ve worked hard to store up,” warned the ranger. Maybe some things are better left unseen.