Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ape Caves

A few months ago I had the pleasure of spending the day on Mt. Saint Helens. My sons teacher was taking the kids into the upper half of Ape Caves. If you've never been there, the upper half is the hard part. I decided I'd do some boxing in the area while I waited for them to come out.

It was a gorgeous day on the mountain! The weather was warm enough to be comfortable in shorts and a tank top. I talked Dork into joining me for the day and he too dressed for the beautiful spring weather.
We arrived at the parking lot for Ape Caves, got the kids sent off with Jay's teacher with headlamps, gloves, emergency flashlights, and lunch. Then we took a look at all of our clues trying to decide where to start. Really there's not many boxes out that direction, but I had brought two to plant while we were there. As we talked about the caves and the boxes located in or around them, I found out that Dork had never been into Ape Caves. I knew then that we had to start by touring the lower caves. I couldn't bear to have such a tragedy on my conscience. So we stopped and read the signs that reminded you that the temperature in the caves is 42 degrees year round and that jackets are a must. Hmm, no jackets, not even a sweater. Oh well. The next paragraph strongly suggested lanterns with a back up flashlight. There is NO light in the caves and if your lantern goes out, you're stuck. Well, we didn't have a lantern or a headlamp, but I did have my little emergency LED flashlight out of my car. That should be good enough shouldn't it? Heck, in an emergency we had his cell phone light and my camera flash.

Down the stairs, past the snowbank, and into the bowels of the cave. This was my second trip into Ape Caves and I have to say it still took a moment and a deep breath to step into the utter darkness of the cave. Once past the initial wall of dark it got much easier and we strolled along admiring the formations left by the lava that had formed this tube. We passed the infamous "meatball" and the "rails".
The roof narrowed down pretty dramatically. I had to duck, Dork didn't :)
We saw this on the left...

and then this on the right...

Hmmm, did I tuck a little something into that crevice on the right? Could be. There was a very jealous chimp in my backpack. One that was quite ticked off over the fact that the Apes had gotten an entire cave named after them and they'd gotten nothing. I just might have stuffed him into that little nook just to shut him up.

We reached the end of the cave, or as far as you can go standing up. I sat down in the dark and let Dork take the flashlight into the crawl space so he could check out how far it went. When he came back, I got this great picture.

It was a great day of boxing and exploring! I highly recommend it.


shiloh said...

I had to chuckle at the "I had to duck down Dorks didn't"

Kris said...

Sounds like a fun day. I haven't been up to the caves in ages!

BTW, it's about time you updated your blog! I miss your posts.


Anonymous said...

Oh, you evil woman. It is so DARK in there. I've been there many times, and now it seems I have to go back.