14 Jul The Marble Halls of Oregon
Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve is located in the Siskiyou Mountains at an elevation of 4000 feet. The park expanded to approximately 4,600 acres back in 2014. ORCA, as many refer to the park, is located 20 miles from its nearest town called Cave Junction. When first driving to the park I was afraid of its winding road because I had never driven on roads like this one back home in Texas. But when one looks outside of the window, the fear is taken away by the beauty of the mountains nearby covered by coniferous forests that consist of Douglas-fir, White fir, Port Orford cedar, Incense cedar (my favorite), and Pacific Madrone. The park has the widest (in girth) Douglas-Fir in the entire state of Oregon, and can be found in Big Tree Trail. I always hug it after a long hike. One might describe the road to the park as therapeutic because of its scenic views and fresh air comes in through your car’s windows. My favorite trail to go watch the sunset is Cliff Nature Trail, where the top of the trail faces these bright orange and pink color skies on the mountain landscape.
My first time going inside the cave, and in a cave ever, I was amazed to see this unique but so fragile ecosystem. The cave is made of metamorphosed limestone called marble and maintains an average temperature of 42oF so if you ever plan to make a visit, make sure to grab a jacket before going inside the cave. My favorite room in the cave is Paradise Lost because there are these mineral deposits that resemble hands of bananas where water drips from them.