Dangerously Daydreaming

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence

Descent Into The Ape Cave

Another nostalgic post on past adventures is coming!  I think spending a week with my youngest bro and now making plans for exciting summer excursions with J has brought on these happy memories.

Two years ago when DJ was visiting I loaded up all of our weekends with camping trips and other escapades.  During our road trip out to Mount Saint Helens I heard of a place called The Ape Cave.  It’s a 2,000 year old lava tube that we could explore.  The tube can be walked through at it’s main entry point for one mile in either direction and has some unique geological features along it.

We armed ourselves with flashlights, Goretex jackets, gloves before wandering the short trail to the entry.  Some metal stairs aided our descent into the murky abyss.

Inside the ape cave the air was heavy with a chill dampness and stale too.  As we walked through the tube we realized the walls were slimy with moisture and algae growth and the floor was ash that had been packed down by many feet over the years.

The cave was 15 feet above our heads and about 10 feet wide until it suddenly opened up.  The ceiling rose to cathedral height and the walls spread to 25 feet.  A few steps more and our path narrowed again.  our steps echoed in the darkness and our only illumination in the blackness was the beams of our flashlights.  And then just ahead we could see it: The Meatball!  At least that’s what they call it.  A sphere of molten rock was lodged just above our heads between two ledges that ran along the walls of the tube.

Before long we met the end of the tube where a cave-in had blocked off further access.  We turned back toward the entry point and continued passed it to go further up the tube in the other direction.  Soon we were scrambling over huge chucks of lava rock that had caved in a millenia before our arrival.  It was a struggle sometimes with our flashlights in one hand and using the other to grasp the crumbling rock.  Steady footing and a quick eye saved us from many a broken ankle.  A glimmer of daylight shown ahead.  The other exit point!

We climbed out, squinting like moles who have never seen daylight.  We followed a trail that run just above the lava tube and would take us back to the parking lot.  Here was the odd combination of life and death inextricably connected to volcanoes.  Broken earth, and angry lava rock were strewn about with spring flower and bright moss poking out between them.  Verdant forest crowded in, new growth from the most recent eruption of Helens.  The world was still and beautiful.

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4 comments on “Descent Into The Ape Cave

  1. whatimeant2say
    June 13, 2012

    That looks like a blast!

  2. whatimeant2say
    June 13, 2012

    BTW, Dimples was looking over my shoulder during this post, and said, “I want to be her!”

    • Audrey
      June 13, 2012

      Dimples is welcome to come explore with us anytime! 🙂

  3. ethelthedean
    June 14, 2012

    So cool! I love the meatball – a very apt name. Plus you guys are pretty darn cute yourselves 🙂

    This big old ball of green and blue never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for sharing this adventure chickadee!
    xx

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