Coolest Cave Exploring — EVER in Ape Cave

 lava tube ape cave picture

Inside of Ape Cave Lava Tube

Not that we are big ‘caving or spelunking’ people, but Ape Cave in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest made it to the top of our OMG UNBELIEVABLY COOL list.  You get to navigate by yourself (no guides, no rangers, etc) inside a 3 mile completely dark lava tube tunnel.  It is strewn with huge boulders and tight spaces to pick your way through.  There is no directional signage – nothing to help answer the “Am I going the right way – is this little opening the place I should be squeezing through?” question.  There was an 8 foot wall that I couldn’t have done without Glenn pulling me up since it only had one small toe hold and no other ‘assistance devices’ to scale it.

Lava rocks outside of cave - this is what it we climbed on inside of cave

We marveled that in a federal facility where all kinds of things could happen – falls, sprains, getting lost etc that there are no safeguards, no forms to sign on, no reporting on exiting, etc.  Really it was kind of refreshing sort of a throwback to days when people were tougher and less willing to sue.  The park does recommend two light sources, one being a lantern since beam from flashlight seems to get absorbed in dark walls and floors.  We’d add that you wear long durable pants and hiking boots with good ankle support.  We wore jackets since it is always cold in a cave, however this was so strenuous that we wished we hadn’t.

Most of our pictures didn’t come out since it is sooooo dark in the cave so I did pull some off the internet.  Trust me, it is one of the neatest things we’ve EVER done and we will return to do it again.

Caite coming out of cave shaft.

We didn’t get pictures of Mount St. Helens due to a big storm that was coming in when we headed up the mountain.  It still was a good learning experience for us since we had never really ‘studied’ how the mountain erupted and how it has changed in the past 25 years.  It is on our ‘go back to’ list.  We went to the more remote East side where there are fewer visitor centers, etc but you get closer to the mountain than the West side.  The road is pretty rough since it is built on unstable, shifting terrain.

Image result for ape cave gifford pinchot national forest

Image result for ape cave gifford pinchot national forest

One of the easier places to walk inside cave

Opening of cave

Opening of cave

This entry was posted in Places we've been and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Coolest Cave Exploring — EVER in Ape Cave

  1. Keith says:

    Love it! What a great adventure. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dark, close, and a bit uncomfortable? Not for this Claustrophobia Kid! You are brave.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *