As I descended the rocks towards a small opening below the temperature began to drop, water dripped bouncing off of the lens of my glasses, and it was so dark I could no longer see my hands in front of my face. I realized this was, in fact, the CAVE type of cave. I’m not sure what I had expected exactly, but I hadn’t brought along my headlamp. A family of four with a young boy and girl followed behind. I laughed announcing I needed to return to my car to retrieve my headlamp. To myself I thought how happy I was to know that upon my return I would not be alone in the chasm. After a quick trip back to my car through the alpine forest I had caught back up with the family playing the role of fifth wheel tag along. It was fascinating to look at the tube like structure knowing that at one point molten lava had flown down the same path I now walk. Below I noticed the undulating surface of the cave floor. You could still see the waves and ridges of what once was a stream of flowing rock and mineral. Even with the spotlight of my headlamp visibility was not far. There were spots of large boulders to crawl over followed by areas where the ceiling came so low you had to slip through on hands and knees. As I looked through the rising steam of my own breath I caught the flicker of light off of the shimmering gold minerals on the tube walls. This was my first time visiting a cave since I was a boy. The crisp chill of the air and silent void of isolation was quite familiar and welcomed.
Lava River Cave