I had been wanting to go to the Redmond caves for a long time and on Mother's Day my kids had come up from San Diego and took me out to a superb brunch at the Juniper Golf Course, in Redmond. We were sitting there talking about what to do next and had kind of planned some hiking in Smith Rock, when I remembered that I really wanted to go see these caves.
They are such good sports. "This is your day Mom, whatever you want to do."
I had heard rumors that they had been so badly vandalized that they had been closed, so we drove over to take a look and they were OPEN.
The first of the caves we found was cave 4.
There are 5 caves there but really only caves 1,3 and 4 are easily accessible.
This is the entrance to cave 4.
As you can see, they are not well treated by the vandals. I learned later that the clean up that I was witness to was done courtesy of the Oregon High Desert Grotto, our local caving club.
It's pretty hard to cave using your iphone as a flashlight (and a really bad idea) and all my headlamps and stuff were back at home in my car, so we ran back in to town and grabbed a package of lights and went back.
The Redmond caves are a local legend. Whenever I mention them someone asks if they really run all the way to Prineville.
No. That, is from what I can tell, a myth and I sure didn't go down anywhere that long. They are pretty short caverns.
They have been used by everyone from the Native Americans to NASA.
There have been requests to use them for potato storage and mushroom growing as well as a possible location for the Deschutes Historical Society.
During the 1960s, the Office of Civil Defense considered their use as fallout shelters as the three largest caves (shown on this page) were though to have a capacity up to 450 people. (Kinda cramped I think.)
Info packets were mailed to residents of Bend and Redmond showing directions on how to get to them as their nearest fallout shelter in the early 1970s.
Cave 1 was my favorite. It is easy to get in to and has tons of room to do light painting. There are some cool little nooks and it was just awesome.
Kenny and Crystal, our newlyweds, were great sports and thought up a bunch of fun stuff.
We headed off to check out cave 3. it was very low. Kenny crawled in to see if it widened out but it didn't so we moved on to cave 4.
You saw the entrance to cave 4 way up top there (remember, before we had flashlights?) Here it is again. Once you get past the big rocks the low ceiling also gets high enough to stand up.
This cave, while not as good as cave 1 for light painting, holds it's own and works well enough. Kenny was having fun sticking his flashlight under his water bottle, which made a much bigger light and hiding it behind rocks.
I really liked the interior lighting from the entrance. The ceiling had a little help from some light painting.
It's pretty cool inside these great Oregon caves and the Redmond caves are no exception. Crystal was getting pretty chilly so she went and captured some of the entrance rays.
We had a really great time at the Redmond Caves. I'm going to go back and do some more exploring with some friends and check out the caves that are not as easily accessed and also more of the big ones. It looks like they go a lot further back after some crawling. (Of course I will not go alone.)