We visited different places at Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Sunriver and La Pine. It’s a National Park and probably one of the most unclear park I’ve been to. There was no visitor center due to it being closed for the season, there were no signs until the very last minute and on the GPS, it was confusing. It felt like an unmarked territory, somewhat.
We first went to the Lava River Cave, which turned out to be an epic fail due to Aidan’s fear of darkness and enclosure. It was supposed to be an hour tour, which ended up being 10 minutes tops, or 15.
At first, Aidan was reluctant and I assumed it had to do with him and hiking. He HATES walking, or exercising in general. So, I did not pay attention to what was really bothering him. As soon as we got to the entrance, he started freaking out and we all tried to encourage him, coaxed him… and told him to give it a try. He gave it all his best and within 100 yards, it was a full-blown meltdown. Body shaking in terror, him crying so hard and begging and clinging onto my legs with such might.
The abrupt end of the cave hike put Oisin into a very sour mood. So sour that he was difficult for the rest of the day. Our next place was the Lava Butte ¼ mile loop hike and it was gorgeous, but ruined by Oisin refusing to cooperate. As soon as we finished the hike, all of us were drained and annoyed.
I decided that we all were hangry and needed a good lunch, so we went to a Mexican restaurant at Sunriver Village (reminded me of Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Village). Then we all got sweets, a smoothie with ice cream and whipped cream.
As soon as we got our treat, we sat outside to enjoy the weather. Oisin was horrible to the point where I told him, “you have two choices. One, give me the smoothie and I will toss it or two, you toss the smoothie yourself.”
His face… he paused, wide eyed and then scrunched his face up hard and wailed as he walked and tossed his smoothie. It was untouched, a total waste. He got too upset and caused a scene and I then got too upset and tossed mine and walked to the car. Everyone got into the car were pissed, but Aidan (who probably was still reeling in relief that he’s not going to another cave, ever again).
I typed “Lava Cast Forest” on my GPS for directions, set up my phone on the dashboard, started the car, reversed and went into D gear and drove forward.
“We’re going to the Lava Cast Forest to hike for a mile around on a lava bed.”
Aidan (whiny face): “I don’t want to—“
Me: “Shut up. Every one of you, shut up!!!”
Eitan started crying. Oisin was still wailing. Aidan looked sad and kept offering Oisin his smoothie and offering me that he’d pay $9.00 for mine and Oisin's wasted smoothies.
The map took me to an unmarked dirt road… unsure, I kept going. It’d be only for 3 miles and it wasn’t that bad. Just “groomed” dirt road and the fastest we could go was 15mph. Altho, it made me nervous with Note being a tiny car and all.
I looked up at my review mirror and saw that Oisin was still crying… I waved to him and asked, “do you want to drive?”
The tide turned. Everyone got a chance to drive, for reals, gas pedal and brakes. It was a 45 minutes of laughter, chatting, driving and hugging.
When we finally parked at the “spot” for the Lava Cast Forest, it was not where I wanted to go. However, it was the best mistake. We were truly alone, we got to explore the grounds on our own, seriously. Not another human being or car or plane in sight.
(we had signal on the phone, lots of water bottles and food in the car as well as air compressor machine and more than half full tank in case you wondered if I was putting ourselves in an unsafe situation)
We finally headed back, the whole thing took 3 hours before we returned to a paved road.
Most of the day was not great, however, I’m so glad that the map “lied,” because that tiny window of moment was exactly what finding meraki meant for me. The best part of it? The boys enjoyed it as much as I did.
just a mother who fled from society's constraints and is super excited to wake up to the outdoors, remain braless daily and teach her boys the art of boredom and discovery.