Friday, August 9, 2013

Cave exploring and a blog jump

Last Sunday, my family continued our Sunday Family Adventures.  We headed to the Mt. St. Helens area and explored the Ape Caves.  The Ape Caves is one of the longest lave tubes in North America.  It was formed roughly 2,000 years ago when lava flowed down Mount Saint Helens south flank. There are two options for exploration.  The Lower Cave is a fairly easy walk, but as a consequence it has a lot of visitors.  The Upper Cave is roughly 2.5 miles and typically takes folks about 2.5 hours to complete.  There are 27 boulder pile ups and an 8-foot lava fall to scale.  We completed it in roughly 3 hours with Aria by our side.  She is a trooper.  I was a little worried how she would handle the pretty intense cave hike in the pitch black with nothing but a headlamp to illuminate her path, but she did extremely well and had a lot of fun!  I am immensely proud of my little explorer.  

Taking a mini-break deep within the Upper Cave.
Adjusting her headlamp to get a better view.
The way out was a tall ladder.  Aria was pretty nervous about climbing out but she was a champ!
Go figure. She made it through 2.5 miles of intense cave hiking without a scratch only to fall and scrape her knee outside on level ground.  Oh well, what is childhood without scraped knees?  She wears it with pride.
We definitely had  a great time but I will admit that the Upper Cave hike is probably  not a good fit for every family with young children.  In fact, most would warn against it as once you are in, well...the only way out is to keep trucking.  If you decide to check it out yourself, I'd advise you to consider everybody's abilities and personalities before heading in too far. 

Also, I'm blogging over at KimchiMamas today as well.  If you are interested in reading about  my struggles with letting go, head over and check out my post on control and stability.  It should be up by mid-morning.  


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