Monday, August 23, 2010

9/13/06 Lava Beds National Monument Part 1

這次Lava Beds之行是接著前一天Crater Lake之後的行程。

Lava Beds這一區,主要是過去這50萬年,附近Lake Medicine Volcano的無數次噴發而形成的。Lake Medicine Volcano為一種盾狀火山(Shield Volcano),是由大量流動性高的岩漿形成又寬又低的山。Lake Medicine Volcano整體面積之廣,加上多處熔岩的火山口,因此Lava Beds這邊一帶,可以看見各式各樣的火山結構,好像是研究地質學的人不可多得的實際教材。

Our trip to Lava Beds National Monument (NM) took place the following day after our trip to Crater Lake NP.   Lava Beds NM encompasses an area the includes the numerous lava flows emanating from Lake Medicine Volcano, a shield volcano which is probably the largest mountain in the Cascades Range in terms of area.  The shield volcano's lava was highly fluid, and there were many different vents instead of just a single one.  Therefore, the Lava Beds area is a textbook of various different volcanic formations, including cinder cones, spatter cones, craters, lava tube caves, and of course other lava flows. 

Lava Beds NM位於加州最北邊,於加州和Oregon州的邊界。前一天去Crater Lake NP之後,是在Klamath Falls過夜,因此這天早上是從OR-39公路往南開,進入加州後會變成CA-139,沿路牌指示從西北邊的入口進來的。

Lava Beds NM is located in the northern most part of California, near the state line.  We stayed at Klamath Falls, OR the night before, and thus took OR-39 South.  After crossing the state line, it turns into CA-139, and then there were many signs pointing us into the park.

Captain Jacks Stronghold and the Modoc War

從西北邊入口進來看到第一個岔路左轉,就能到Captain Jacks Stronghold。說到Captain Jacks Stronghold,得提一下所謂的Modoc War。

早在1850左右,Modoc印地安人和西遷的白人開拓者之間就已經發生多次流血衝突。當時的酋長Old Schonchin,最終決定和美國政府以及其他印地安部落(其中Klamath族最大)簽定協議,同意將族人遷移至新成立的Klamath保護區。

在Klamath保護區,部份的族人接受,就待了下來,但有另一部份的人是強力反對的。另外,Klamath保護區原本是Klamath族的土地,而Klamath與Modoc族一向是世敵。無法接受這樣的安排,Captain Jack另外帶領了一幫人,回到他們的故鄉Lost River,打算拾回原本的生活。

美國政府嘗試和平談判宣告破裂,不但一點幫助都沒有,結果造成了更進一步的衝突。Captain Jack帶著他的人馬撤退至今天的stronghold。這邊的火山岩石地形,不但有多處洞穴,還有高低起伏不規則的大石塊,變成了絕佳的防守重地。美軍自以為火力強大,但是對地勢完全不了解,幾場仗打下來,損失慘重,而Captain Jack的人則大致上是相安無事。

最終,這些Modoc人敵不過美國優越的人力物力而投降。不過Captain Jack的50名戰士,可以在幾個月內,成功地擊退自己人數20倍的1000名美國士兵,是相當了不起的。Captain Jack和其餘兩名Modoc戰士,則因為在和平談判的會議中,槍殺了兩位美方的代表,而被判死刑,都被吊死了。其餘Modoc族的人,有些被流放至Oklahoma,而有些則留在Klamath保護區。今天的Modoc族後代,也都還留在這兩處。

美國這場仗打下來,可是勞民傷財,總共花了當時美國政府40萬美金,超出原本的預算有35萬美金。如果單單考慮Modoc印地安人的數目,那可真是一點經濟效率也沒有。據說,要是按照Captain Jack他們當時的訴求而另規劃土地給他們,要撥出的錢還更少。

Coming from the northern entrance, at the first three-way junction, there is a sign to Captain Jacks Stronghold, which you would reach by making a left.

Captain Jack was one of the main participants of the so called Modoc War during 1872-1873.  Conflicts between the Modoc Native Americans and the settlers have already ended in many deaths.  The official chief of the Modoc, Old Schonchin, then signed a treaty with the United States, Klamath tribe, and Yahooskin tribe.  Under the treaty, the Modocs would move to a reservation and share the land with the other two tribes.

However, the Klamath Indians were long rivals of the Modocs, and while many tried to adapt to new life, many did not put up with it.  Captain Jack led around 150 men and women and returned to their home Lost River to pick up their old ways of life.

Initial negotiations with the United States government only made things worse, ending in more deaths on each side.  Captain Jack and his people retreated to Lava Beds, where they fortified themselves at today's stronghold.  Familiar with the area and its geography, the Modocs held off the United State army for 6 months.  Out of the 150 men, only about 50 were actual warriors.  They managed to take on an army whose size eventually grew to 1000 people, and they inflicted 73 casualties and another 47 wounded.  During the war, only 13 Modocs were killed.  

Eventually, Captain Jack's men started to lose faith in him and a group who deserted him also managed to help the US army capture him.  Captain Jack and three others were tried and hanged for killing 2 members of a Peace Commission.  The remaining Modocs were sent as prisoners of war to Oklahoma.  Today descendants of the Modocs can be found in both the Oregon Klamath area and the Territory of Oklahoma.

The Modoc War was an expensive war for the United States, costing them more than $400,000, more than $350,000 of the original estimate.  Considering that there were only 50 or so Modoc warriors, this was an extremely inefficient use of resources. 

Captain Jacks Stronghold 這邊有個小停車場可轉進去停車。那邊的trail,有分短的0.5mile搞定和較長的1.5mile。由於這些石頭又硬又凸,走起來並不舒服,所以要來記得還是要穿個舒適一點的鞋子來走。

There is s small parking lot at Captain Jacks Stronghold.  There are two trails that circle the area, a shorter one of 0.5 miles and a longer one of 1.5 miles.  Because the basalt rocks are hard and irregularly shaped, some parts are not very nice walks.  Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes. 

有些石塊比人都還要高。而且根本像一個迷宮一樣,不難想像當初那些美軍在這兒是怎麼吃盡苦頭的。在Captain Jack的人藏身之處以及開戰的地方,都要公園的人插的牌子,有詳細的解說。回想當時的情況,這些Modoc印地安人,為了自己的權益,不惜退居這兒防守。可是他們那幾個月的生活條件肯定是相當艱苦,親自走訪一趟就可以體會。

Some of these rocks are taller than the average human being, and the whole place is like a maze.  It is not hard to imagine what a nightmare it must have been for the ill-prepared U.S. army who tried to attack the place.  Along the trail are signs that mark the events of the war or other hideout location of Captain Jack's men.  Although the Modocs successfully repelled many times an army many times their size, their living conditions during those few months must have been just as miserable.  One must admire their strong will and determination (while it lasted). 

Devils Homestead Flow

沿著公園裡主要的那條路從北往南開,在還沒到visitor center前,就會穿過Devils Homestead Flow。由於路是直接從其中間開過去,因此就算不下車,也會看到兩旁黑漆漆的火山岩床。在Lava Beds百分之九十的石頭都是玄武岩(basalt),矽含量較低,流動性高,造就了Lava Beds這一帶的整片景觀。

Coming from the north, before you reach the visitor center, you will pass through the Devils Homestead Flow.  Since the road literally cuts through the area, it is a geological feature you cannot miss, for it is on both sides of the road. 


Basalt rock and soil is normally bad for vegetation because of its chemical composition.  This is evidenced by the scarcity of trees and grass in the area.  This area owes its name to the dark color and barrenness, which is quite descriptive and appropriate. 

Cave Loop

公園主要道路繼續往南開,就會到visitor center和Cave Loop Road。這兒洞穴形成的主因,是岩漿形成的lava tube,跟平常看到的鐘乳石洞是不一樣的。Lava tube,就是在流動的岩漿先形成了熔岩道,但和地面與空氣接觸的岩漿先行冷卻後,就變成了管子,隔絕並包住了裡面仍是高溫的岩漿。當全部的岩漿都流完了之後,裡面就呈中空狀,變成了洞穴。Lava Beds NM是美國lava tube數量最密集的地方。

Staying on the main park road, you will reach the visitor center, and next to it, the Cave Loop Road.  These caves are called lava tube caves, where the main shaping force is molten lava.  A lava tube is formed when the outer edges of flowing lava hardens into rock, forming a conduit that insulates the lava flowing inside.  When the lava flow dries out, it hollows out into a cave.  Lava Beds NM contains the highest concentration of lava tubes in the United States. 

Mom with flashlights

Cave Loop Road 上有十幾個洞穴,許多遊客是爸媽帶著小孩子,做山洞探險的親子活動。由於每個山洞的寬窄,高低,長短,還有陡緩的情形都不同,所以要視自己體力和能力決定要去玩哪個洞穴。比較有挑戰的洞,開口不大,有時得蹲下來走,甚至得在地上爬行。

除了Mushpot Cave以外,剩下的洞穴裡面都沒有照明,所以要進去前一定要確定有手電筒,不然進去包準是伸手不見五指的。如果自己沒有手電筒,visitor center可以當天用駕照或別的識別證免費來租一整天他們提供的手電筒。

這次和媽媽來,照著公園資訊的建議,挑了一個最簡單走的(現在已經不記得是哪個了,不過很有可能是Indian Well Cave)。我現在已經忘記為什麼沒去更輕鬆的Mushpot Cave。如果不是當時在整修,就是我想體驗一下拿著手電筒進洞的那份原始感。由於這些石頭都是堅硬的玄武岩,加上裡面可見度極低,因此就算是最簡單的洞穴,也要小心走,不然有恐一沒踩好,也是可扭到腳的。另外,洞穴裡面外面的溫差相當大,因此記得要準備長袖衣物。這次來,還算是夏天,外面像火爐一樣,但裡面冷冰冰的。有些洞穴裡終年還有結冰,不過我這次沒機會瞧見。

There are more than a dozen caves in the Cave Loop, and this place is ideal for the family wishing to do cave exploring adventures with their kids.  The caves come in all sizes and shapes, which means some are narrower while some are wider, some are steeper while some are more gradual, and some are longer while some are shorter.  You just need to know what to expect and know your limits.  Some of the narrower caves involve duck-walking or even crawling on all fours. 

With the exception of Mushpot Cave, there is no external lighting in the caves.  A few meters inside the cave, and it quickly turns pitch black.  Therefore, you must be equipped with a flashlight before entering any other cave.  If you do not have your own, the visitor center rents out flashlights for free by depositing an official I.D. 

Being with my mom, I decided to pick one of the easiest caves.  I seem to have forgotten exactly which cave it was that we went into, and I also don't quite remember why I decided not to go to Mushpot Cave.  Either it was closed or I just wanted the "primitive" experience of going inside a cave.  As stated earlier, these basalt rocks are hard, which means parts of the floor are not easy to walk on.  Walk with some caution, since a sprained ankle would be totally uncool.   Speaking of cool, it gets really cold inside the caves, and certain caves even have ice deposits all-year-round.  Remember to bring long sleeves and other forms of warm clothing when entering. 

Hidden Valley and Mammoth Crater

公園裡主要的景點Cave Loop一帶全部lava tube cave的岩漿源頭,來自約5 mile以南的這個Mammoth Crater。與一般的火山口不同,這些岩漿不是噴發出來,而溢出來,流到四處,長達10miles,中間都沒斷。

要到Mammoth Crater這邊要開一大段沒有鋪的路,是個小折磨。而繞著Mammoth Crater邊緣走一圈的trail,也沒有去走。嚴格上來說,確實是有點浪費了點時間。

The main source of lava that created the caves in the National Monument, Mammoth Crater is located roughly 5 miles southwest of the Cave Loop Drive.  Unlike most explosive craters, the fluid basalt lava simply overflowed out of here, creating unbroken lava tubes extending up to 10 miles from here.

The road to Mammoth Crater is unpaved and bumpy.   We did not hike around the rim of the crater either.   For all that we went through, it was a minor waste of our time.

這兩張是在旁邊的Hidden Valley拍的。說是被掩蓋住的,是因為整個小山谷底都長滿了北美黃松(Ponderosa pine)。這個山谷其實是lava tube長期風化後,頂蓋崩塌,就像是一下水道上面被人敲壞掉一樣。由於這邊佈滿了樹木,提供了涼蔭,和Cave Loop那邊倒成了有趣的對比。

These two pictures taken here are that of the Hidden Valley, which is just next to the crater.   I suppose it is "hidden" in the sense that the valley floor is now filled with Ponderosa pines, and if you don't look closely, you might not realize the large cavity.  The pine forest also provides a nice shade, given that it was scorching hot at the visitor center. 

Schonchin Butte

這個小孤丘是個Cinder Cone(火山渣錐),是公園主要道路旁很顯眼的景觀,在visitor center北邊一點點的地方。它也算是要爬山的話,最近也最容易上去的山。從visitor center出來往北開,右手邊就會有路牌和路可以轉進去。

Schonchin Butte is a cinder cone and one of the most recognized features in the park.  It is also the closest most accessible hill to hike in the park.  Exiting the visitor center and driving north, it will be on your right hand side.  Look for the sign to turn into.  

Schonchin Butte並不難走,而且上面有個守望台,給公園的ranger們用來觀察附近有無大火。這兒夏天相當炎熱,如發生火災,會將附近僅剩的植物都燒光吧。這一天在值勤的ranger,說她都會備好早中餐及帶一本好書,度過漫長的一天。

Schonchin Butte is a relatively easy hike, and there is a Fire Lookout at the top of the hill.  A ranger is stationed here during the day to see if there are any fires burning in the area.  For what little vegetation is there, any fire could be potentially devastating.  The ranger I met this day said that she would pack her breakfast and lunch and a good book to read to make her get through her day. 

對於上來的遊客們,則是可以享受從高處一覽Lava Beds的面貌。黃土中鑲入的黑色沙石,明顯得可看見這些岩漿流過的痕跡。

For the usual visitor though, standing on top of Schonchin Butte provides fantastic views of the Lava Beds area.  The contrasting colors in the rocks and soil draw out the lava flow trails. 

後面背景中其他的小cinder cone
Other smaller cinder cones in the background

前一天參觀過Crater Lake的美景,這一天來Lava Beds,自然是遜色不少。同是火山地形,但因屬性不同而產生出來了天差地別的地理景觀。雖一點也稱不上是漂亮,但Lava Beds的火山地形,卻始終讓我印象深刻。

追溯起整區的最主要岩漿源,位於南邊的Medicine Lake,又是一段更長的沒鋪的路,因此完全取消去的念頭,開車回Oregon。


Compared to Crater Lake the day before, it was definitely several levels lower in terms of beauty, if any.  Both being sculpted by volcanic activities, the different type of volcanic formations have created drastically different geological wonders.  Despite lacking the natural beauty that other parks have been able to provide, Lava Beds NM's interesting volcanic formations have nonetheless left a lasting impression on me.

The main source of the area, Medicine Lake, was even miles south of the monument, which involves more unpaved roads.  It was not something we wanted to do, and we headed back to Oregon.

Two years later, because of time constraints, a revisiting of the monument was much more rushed than this time, although I had the opportunity to explore many other caves.   

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