In the summer of 1978, I took a road trip with my parents from Sacramento to British Columbia, Canada. We passed through Oregon and Washington State, making a few stops along the way to see the sites. Sadly, back then I wasn’t much into photography — but I made up for that shortsightedness (slightly) by taking copious notes and keeping souvenirs ( I did take pictures on our repeat trip in 1979).
Traveling up US Highway 97 through central Oregon, we found Lava Butte (#9 on the map above). We were able to drive to the top; in my notes I recorded that “…it was so windy we soon came down. But the view was great.”
Near the Lava Butte we followed a paved pathway through the open lava flow, 10 miles square, called Trail of the Molten Land. You can see more photos of this beautiful, if somewhat barren, landscape by clicking here.
After leaving this spot, we drove to the nearby Lava River Caves State Park and explored a cave, nearly a mile in length, formed by flowing lava. According to my notes: “We had to rent a lantern for 50 cents, and there was no guide; we went on our own. It was 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) down inside and pitch black. We walked almost the whole way — it was creepy — but near the end it got so small that we had to bend way over, and it smelled dusty and was hard to breathe so we turned around and came out. By the time we got out our noses and cheeks were red and my hands were numb with cold. It was fun but felt good to get out.”