July 26, 2006

Vacation Blog: Chilling

When the blazing sun made it too hot for a comfortable hike, we did the logical thing: we went underground.

The cave we visited was set aside as a national monument in 1909. It's a cave of gorgeous marble rocks, with formations carved by running water, with stalactites and stalagmites that formed over thousands of years. Chilly air rushed across my skin as we entered this dim underground environment to spend an hour and a half ducking under rocks and staring at fantastic shapes. The forest ranger who was our guide talked knowledgeably about geology and hydrology, while my teenage sons entertained each other with whispered comments about the phallic shapes they were seeing.

With-a-Why was fascinated by the water dripping from the roof of the cave. "I keep getting kissed!" he kept saying, as a drop would hit his face.

The temperature in the cave stays at 42 degrees Farenheit year around. It's been that way for ... well, since anyone human ever began recording temperatures in the cave. Except recently, it's changed. Over the last ten years, in response to global warming, the temperature in the cave has gone up a degree. As we stumbled out of the cave, relieved to be able to stand up straight, stepping up out of the dark and cold into a gorgeous remnant of an old-growth coniferous forest, I couldn't help thinking about this chilling fact and wondering how many of the beautiful places we've seen on this trip would still be there for my grandchildren.

13 comments:

Kristen said...

When you mentioned the steady 42 degrees of the cave, I was wondering if it had warmed up recently, and then I read your next sentence. It IS very chilling.

Chip said...

I've only been in caves in Virginia and upstate New York, but they are such cool places (and I'm not talking only temperature). As for global warming, it's unfortunate that a handful of greedy, selfish people can do so much to prevent any attempts to deal with the problem. Grrrr...

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Well shoot, jo(e), you must be close to my house. Are you swinging by this little town?

Watch out for forest fires, there are 2 right now.

Teri said...

I think I know the cave you're talking about--one of the family vacations we took when I was in college (possibly, actually, the last family vacation we ever took with all four of us) involved ocean on the west and caves in the east (of OR). I'm sad to hear it's warming. grr. But I'm glad people from the other side of the country are seeing my land! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just came across your blog and I just love reading it. I would like to know where is this beautiful place. I am thinking of going on vacation anytime soon. Thanks...Kayni

kate5kiwis said...

wowee zowee jo(e)
i am *loving* these photos..
beautiful nature scenes.
your pix of BiB and WaW reminds me of my eldest and youngest sons. they're 12 years apart, but have a strong connection too.

listmaker said...

That's another sobering example of what's happening.

Yankee T said...

It frightens me to think about what will be left for the grandkids.

Leslee said...

Well Jo(e) it's very possible that you'll be a grandmother within the next 5 years so I'd say it's very likely that that place will still be around when you have grandkids, but maybe not your great-grandkids.

Anonymous said...

It is SO unfair that you get to vacation where I grew up and no longer live. I miss Oregon so much, it hurts sometimes. Enjoy. P.S. Don't miss out on central Oregon -- it has its own loveliness. (Especially Smith Rocks.) - Klug

BeachMama said...

The cave sounds wonderful.

We can only hope that it will all still be around for our grandkids.

Arbitrista (formerly Publius) said...

There are a lot of people who don't think things are changing because they don't want to, because they are incapable of understanding or approving of change.

But do you know who's worse? The one's that don't care.

Gannet Girl said...

I remember visiting a cave like that in Arizona, and being astounded by the differences between life above and way below ground.