Private dinner at Pronghorn Resort lava tube cave. Photo courtesy of Pronghorn Resort.

An Intimate Picnic in a Lava Tube in Central Oregon

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Stuffed in a golf cart with six other women, I find myself winding around the narrow pathways of an on-site golf course at Pronghorn Resort in central Oregon. Suddenly, we take a quick right off the path, our group laughing as we grip the side railings so we don’t fall out. Unlike the other resort guests who are navigating this sprawling course on wheels, we’re not rushing to catch a tee time. Instead, we’re headed to the lava tube cave, accessed only through an opening near the centre of the Tom Fazio Championship Course.

We creep into the dark cave as our guide explains the unique underground tube systems found throughout Oregon’s Deschutes County, where the resort is located. Thousands of years ago, volcanic eruptions sent hot lava coursing under the surface lava, which hardened as it cooled, creating 500 to 1,000 tubes like the one we’re standing in now. Very few of these caves are still accessible to the public, making this visit a unique experience available only to the resort guests who have prebooked a gathering here.

Private yoga sessions, intimate concerts, and wedding receptions are just some of the events that have been hosted in this underground space, but for our group an intimate cave picnic is on the agenda. Sitting on spread-out blankets at the cave’s entrance, we nosh on sandwiches and watch as golfers play through the course above us.

Huntington Lodge at Pronghorn Resort.

Huntington Lodge at Pronghorn Resort. Photo courtesy of Pronghorn Resort.

After lunch, we hop back into the golf cart for a ride to the resort’s Wellness Teepee, which typically hosts activities such as sage workshops, yoga classes, and crystal sound meditations; our group is here for a wellness chanting session. Completely out of my comfort zone, I settle onto my pillow inside the teepee, cross my legs and close my eyes. After a few minutes of musical mantras, I feel surprisingly calm, connected, and cool.

Pronghorn Resort Wellness Teepee.

Pronghorn Resort wellness teepee. Photo courtesy of Pronghorn Resort.

The rest of our weekend is balanced with bike rides through the surrounding Juniper tree preserve, soothing spa sessions, and invigorating hikes amid the towering rock spires and jaw-dropping canyon views of nearby Smith Rock State Park.

Smith Rock State Park.

Smith Rock State Park. Photo by Bianca Bujan.

Off-property offerings are also aplenty 24 kilometres down the road in Bend, with more biking, hiking trails, and boating spots speckled throughout the Cascade Mountains looming just west of town. If shopping is more your speed, downtown Bend offers a blend of local boutiques and familiar brands along the main strip, nestled among cute cafes and upscale restaurants.

On our last night, we opt for a dinner at Cascada, a newly-renovated fine dining spot that combines farm-to-table cuisine with panoramic views, conveniently located on the property grounds. I cozy up afterward by the outdoor firepit feeling rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated with my new favourite tipple, The Huntington cocktail, in hand and watch the sun set behind the Cascade Mountains.


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November 19, 2019