Hikers Depart From Horse Butte, Visit Cave

The early-morning hiking group trekked through the area burned by the Skeleton Fire more than two decades ago, which meant views, plus visited a lava-tube cave on Sunday, April 22.

“Eleven CONC members went out on a cool, clear day to hike a 10.5-mile loop starting at Horse Butte,” reports group leader Eileen Woodward. “Most of the loop is within the site of the Skeleton Fire.

“The 1996 Skeleton Fire burned nearly 18,000 acres on the eastern flank of Bend, and 30 structures were damaged or destroyed. This wind-driven fire accomplished most of its damage in just a few hours. There is very little regeneration of trees aside from a couple of replanted plantations, so the area provides unobstructed views in all directions.

“Midway through the hike, the group visited Boyd Cave, a well-preserved lava tube stretching close to a mile. Visitors need a very powerful source of light to explore this cave as it is complete and total darkness once away from the entrance. Our iPhone flashlights didn’t quite do the job.”

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