Day 156 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways
We began the day driving Northeast on 97 through Klamath National Forest. Unbeknownst to me there was a war veterans memorial wall and sculpture garden roadside within the forest. In light of recent events, I decided to stop. After stopping at the wall honoring area California veterans who fought in a variety of wars, I wandered through the sculpture garden. The sculptures were large, modern pieces made of metal resembling different wartime scenes including a POW, a wounded soldier, a soldier coming home to his loved one, a nurse caring for the wounded, and more. It was a nice place to pay respects to all of those who have fought for our safety.
Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge
After our visit we continued on to Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 and was the Nation’s first waterfowl refuge. Over 275 species of birds have been recorded in this area. I saw a variety of ducks, geese, a coyote, and even a bald eagle!! The marsh lands, situated around 4,000 feet, were surrounded by snow capped mountains and lava fields…a very unique landscape.
Next to Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge where we briefly stopped at an overlook to appreciate the waters on which the Modoc Indians relied. In fact, the lake’s shore used to be within the Lava Beds National Monument where the Modoc War took place in 1873.
Lava Beds National Monument
In 1864, a small band of Modoc Indians led by Kientpoos (also known as Captain Jack) were asked to give up their homeland at the lava beds to live on a reservation north of modern-day Klamath Falls. Tensions between the Modoc people and other tribes as well as shortages in supplies promised by the U.S. Government prompted many to return home. The U.S. Army was ordered to return them, by force if necessary, to the reservation.
In November of 1872, the Army and Modoc warriors exchanged fire. Over 150 men, women, and children fled to the safety of Captain Jack’s Stronghold, where for five months, the Modocs defended their natural lava fortress against an army that outnumbered them 10 to 1.
For seven weeks in the spring of 1873, over 600 men lived in the temporary quarters within the lava beds known as Gillem’s Camp. In April of 1873, General Canby who agreed to lead peace talks was attacked and became the only general to be killed in an Indian War. It wasn’t until the Army cut off the Modocs access to water and infighting within the Modoc tribe, that the band was finally captured in June of 1873. Those families were sent to Oklahoma, never to return.
After visiting Gillem’s Camp and Captain Jack’s Stronghold, VANilla took us to the northeast corner of the park where we visited Petroglyph Point. The point used to be an island in the lake to which Indians canoed to carve symbols in the soft volcanic tuft.
Black Crater and Boulevard Cave
In order to reach the caves in the park, we retraced our route to Gillem’s Camp and then turned south where we stopped at Black Crater and Boulevard Cave. Petey was not allowed on the trails or in the caves, so I made a few quick walks to climb over the cinder cones and walk through short lava tubes.
We finally reached the visitor center to find more information on the caves and campgrounds and called it a day. Several deer grazed in the campgrounds as we took a lap around the area. Tomorrow I plan on caving. ETB
Map of My Road Trip Across the USA
For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.