The Adventure Series wrap-up in Central Oregon Dunes
Editor: Eric Bewley Photo: Jason Hutchison, Eric Scudder, Glenn Anderson
LAPINE, OR -Our concluding adventure for the 2002 Adventure Series was an exciting event with several new faces signed up to brave the cold weather in hopes of seeing something new and interesting. We had a total of 11 vehicles for this ‘wagon train of discovery.’ Our plan was to visit South Ice Cave, Cabin Lake, Ft. Rock, Derreck Cave, Hole in the ground, Christmas Valley Dunes, The Lost Forrest, and Crack in the Ground. This was a pretty ambitious schedule considering we only had 2 1/2 days which were shortened by the winter season to about 8 hours of daylight.
movie #1 | .avi | 622Kb movie #2 | .avi | 765Kb movie #3 | .avi | 1077Kb movie #4 | .avi | 471Kb movie #5 | .avi | 1220Kb movie #6 | .avi | 617Kb movie #7 | .avi | 1071Kb At air down, it was exciting to see so many Sidekicks together for a run. Yes, Samurai are near and dear to our heart but its always good to see a new kid on the block. You may have noticed there were two “non-Suzuki” vehicles on this treck. The first being a ’97 Grand Cherokee dubbed ‘the doctor Jeep’ due to the power everything and the leather. and the second being an ’89 Range Rover. We graciously allowed the two because the Jeep owners are seriously considering a Suzuki and the Range Rover owner is our good buddy, Dave Arnold who has a Samurai that’s been just about everywhere.
From left to right top to bottom the particpants were: Alex Gaviola , Pat and Shielah Doherty , Mike Forrest, Eric Scudder, Ron and Chris Ender, Bill Henry, Eric and Sara Bewley, Jason Hutchison, Glenn Anderson, Dave Arnold with Mara, and Stasi Vaillancourt.
Our treck began at about 2 o’clock from LaPine. We were a little behind due to a straggler that had battery touble that morning. Immediately we hit snow as we passed over a local butte on our way to Cabin Lake. As the daylight was already getting low we had, our first destination casualty, South Ice Cave, which had to be bypassed so that we could make camp with a little daylight left.Never fear, as soon as we left the snow covered butte we were into the dust again. Ah, got to love the desert.
We made Cabin Lake in pretty good time and was able to make camp with a fair amount of daylight left. The gag about Cabin Lake is that it is a bird watching cabin and the ‘lake’ is nothing more than the size of a punch bowl. Even after we showed the participants, some were unable to accept the fact that Cabin Lake is the size of a sink. If you ever want to play a mean trick on a ‘buddy,’ send them fishing at Cabin Lake.
After a good nights sleep in the sub-zero weather and a brisk morning breakfast of frozen coffee, we were off to one of the main destination points of the trip. Ft. Rock is a Marr crater eroded on one side by wave action and is now U shaped.
Maar: A volcanic crater that is produced by an explosion in an area of low relief, is generally more or less circular, and often contains a lake, pond, or marsh.
Ft. Rock doesn’t have a lake or pond in it anymore but still offers stunning rock formations and views. Dave Arnold, our resident Geology expert, gave a short talk on how Ft. Rock was formed, the types of rock that was around the area, and the time table for this to form. Most were amazed out how large this crater was and as we approached the comments on the CB ranged from “wow!” to “holy cow!”
Not so many years ago, visitors were able to enjoy the area to the fullest by being able to drive, camp, and recreate right on the formations. Now there is a more steril and less involving paved path to an information kiosk with a hiking trail for visitors.
Our next stop along our adventure way was Derreck Cave. This cave is a fairly large lava-tube type cave that is approximately 1/2 mile long. The groovy part about this cave is that the access to it is 4wd only and it has not been paved, sterilized, and publicized by the BLM yet. We had lunch in the somewhat blustery, due to storms passing overhead, cave entrance.
Wow, time sure flies when its winter and your having fun. Our next adventure casualty was Crack in the Ground. The sun was setting way too fast for us to make this ambitious schedule. So, it’s off to our camp site for the second night, The Lost Forrest which is directly east of the Christmas Valley Dunes.
This forest is a patch of ponderosa pines thriving in the desert with barely half the rainfall pines usually require. No other ponderosas grow within 50 miles. In the Ice Age, pines grew throughout Southeast Oregon. This grove survived only because it grew on top of an ancient, sand-covered lakebed. The lake’s hardpan collects rainfall from miles around. The tap roots of the ponderosa pines reach down through the sand and drink what they need from the invisible lake. Next to the Lost Forest, wind has sculpted some of the sand into an area of dunes
On both Friday and Saturday nights, the more adventuresome of the group went out to explore the areas. This night, a large group of us wandered into the dunes area for a night trip to remember. There was a feeling of real exploration as we meandered back and forth accross the never ending dunes occasionally spotting a jumping bunny or two. The exploring was so fun that two of us, drove back on fumes and had to be rescued by good samaritans toting 5 gallon jerry cans. The next day brought the dunes to everyone. In their glorious unpopulated state, one feels like they are the only ones on what could possible by another planet. During our 3 to 4 hour stay on the dunes we saw only two motorcycles and no other vehicles.
Our next stop was a refueling stop at the town of Christmas Valley and then we were off to Crack in the Ground. We took the through this very interesting geologic feature noting the “strangeness” of it all.
Crack In The Ground This two-mile-long basalt slot is ten to 70 feet deep. Often, it’s so narrow that boulders bridge it. Patches of ice and snow from winter survive in the crack’s cool depths year round.
Being our last ‘adventure stop’ it was off to the races as we took more improved gravel roads North towards HWY20 which led us into Bend for a final gas up and farewell to all the participants.
This year’s ZUKIWORLD Adventure Series has been a blast to put on and the new things we have seen and experienced plus the great people we have met have made this a most memorable and worthwhile endeavor. We look forward to the new people, places, and things we’ll get to experience next year. If you get a chance, please join us.