It is mid August, the Zenith of Summer. Days are warm, busy, and adventure filled. Yet long and lazy twilights are waning, something in the air has changed. Night closes in and brings with it an urgency, a cold not felt in months. The Perseid meteor showers have come and gone, Munch and Music has closed, and the pine needles have begun to drop.
This time of year also brings us The Bend Brew Fest, which we survived yet again. Sampling from 71 breweries along family, friends, and good music will leave you dizzy. When I heard our epic weekend was to taper off in Sisters I knew where I needed to go. Sometimes getting ‘grounded’ after a mile high weekend is a literal job.
Less than half an hour from the city center and nearly a world away is Skylight Cave. It is one of Central Oregon’s many (350+) lava tube cathedrals. It is a fantastic place to switch gears from a stimulating weekend to a steady work week ahead. It is must in these last Summer weeks, when the cool cave air is still a refreshing treat.
Skylight Cave was formed by a long lasting volcanic eruption. Lava erupted from the Earth for days, eventually streamlining into channels. The channels would then form a crust or tube that a lava river could flow through. The tubes would serve as insulated pipes that could transport extremely hot lava very far distances. Lava rivers create mass amounts of gas and steam, this resulting pressure formed vents along the tube. These holes or Hornitos (Spanish for tiny ovens) are present at Skylight Cave.
When the sun shines directly onto the hornitos ethereal light beams highlight the cave floor. We made it too late in the day for such a show but to no dismay. The cave welcomed us with a warm ambient glow. Mustiness and jagged rocks aside, it was quite comfortable. The Sunday afternoon melted into early evening before we ventured back into daylight.
We headed towards home feeling refreshed and inspired. The family sighed a collective yawn, we were exhausted but happily relaxed. Suddenly, a bobcat darted across the road, leapt over a log and was gone. We pulled over and tried to track him with our eyes but he had disappeared into wilderness. Night would fall soon and with it would go one more perfect summer day.
From Hwy 20/126 turn onto forest road 2061 (across from the Camp Sherman turnoff) and follow it about 5.5 miles to forest road 1028. Turn left on forest road 1028 and follow it about 1 mile to forest road 260. Turn left on forest road 260 and drive 1 mile. The cave is marked by a sign on the right side of the road. The cave is closed from October through March to protect hibernating bats.