Spelunking at the Ape Caves
For years I’ve been wanting to explore the Ape Caves of Mount St Helens. I had heard all about these caves that had been created by the flow of lava during an eruption of the mountain. These caves are the longest lava tube in the continental United States and are open to tourists all year round! Nate and I had never been able to find time to head on the hike and then I was pregnant with Caleb and couldn’t do the climbing required but finally the stars aligned and we headed out.
This is the summer of getting out and about and we’ve been trying to include Caleb in our adventures but this time Nate and I decided we needed to adventure without our little man. Not only was it great to get time outside connecting with my love but, after doing the hike, we realized how horrible it would have been to try to bring Caleb along.
First off, we’re in a cave! It was pitch black! Nate and I planned ahead and brought our headlamps with us but at one point we decided to turn our headlamps off. I put my hand right in front of my eyes and couldn’t see it one bit. I definitely hung onto Nate with all my might because I just knew he would think about doing something to terrify me. 😉 It was slightly unnerving to know we were underground but, other than a few spots, the cave was large enough to not make us feel claustrophobic.
Beyond being in the cave, it also was a hard hike! Although the hike was pretty flat, there are 27 piles of boulders that have to be climbed over, an 8 foot lava wall that you have to scale with only a rope, and a few tight squeezes. There were a few spots where even I had to take a step back and figure out how I was going to get over or through.
By the end of the hike I was so proud of myself for having completed the trek with only one boost from Nate (the 8 foot lava wall was a little much for me…). The hike above ground back to the parking lot was a hike of celebration!
One item is now checked off my bucket list and I have a great feeling of completion!