Thursday, May 9, 2013

Arnold Ice Cave & Hidden Forest Cave

Since Central Oregon is basically one giant volcanic area there are also many, many caves here.  If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know we have been going around exploring various caves in the area.

Yesterday we decided to see if we could find two caves mentioned in the paper the other day, the Arnold Ice Cave and the Hidden Forest Cave. The article suggested leaving Arnold Ice Cave for more experienced spelunkers and instead check out Hidden Forest Cave.  

The caves are not marked in any way and after a false turn we found the parking area.  The first cave was right at the edge of the lot.

We didn't know which cave this was so we went ahead on down to take a look.

It's steeper than it looks here.  It also appears that at one time this had a stairway that went down into the bowels of the cave as there was a lot of lumber and a partial stair foundation near the top.  Hubby went a little further down to take a look while I stayed above.  The footing was rather precarious.

From the inside looking out.

Hard to see here but there is a hawk nest in the rocks (click on the picture to enlarge).

We figured that first cave must have been the Arnold Ice Cave because it was so difficult to get into.  Then we set off down a nearby trail to try and find the Hidden Forest Cave.  Like I said, nothing is marked and there are lots of large depressions in the landscape that could have caves in them.  After looking into a couple of empty bowls we finally found the right spot.  It was just a very short hike from the parking lot, maybe an eighth of a mile.

We found a big depression and saw the cave, then went around to the other side where a small trail led down into the bowl and towards the cave.

There was only one little spot that was a little rough going, but it wasn't too bad.

Then the trail got really easy.

And it got really pretty.

The entrance.

Inside was a large flat area.  Other people built a fire ring.

From the inside looking out.

The cave itself wasn't really very deep.  It was just like a huge room with a volumnous ceiling.  It was a really beautiful site and would be a nice place to picnic.

On the way back to the truck we saw this pretty little flower. I know it's not an edelweiss but that's what it reminded me of.

On our way home we decided to check out this rock pile.  From a distance it looked like a man made pile of rocks.  I had thoughts of an ancient burial site or something...

But as we got closer we could see it was just a natural formation.

The views were pretty even though it's just desert.  You can kind of see the snow capped mountains in the distance.

On top of the pile.

And then we went home.


Kathy said...

Fun day trip!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I still see no helmets or ropes tied between you two! The second cave looked safe but that first one looked scary!! Nice to see my brother still has to climb to the top of rocks, hills & mountains!
Your chicken run is beautiful! So much work, but the outcome is looking worth it! And I'll bet happy little chickens too. Do I dare ask, are they strictly for eggs? Or do we see tender little Kiev's walking around there?