Caves and Mountains

Mount St. Helens

Exploring mountains and caves in Washington State.

In many ways Washington State has the best of everything—ocean coastline, huge rivers, mountains, forests, big cities and tiny towns, wet landscapes all the way to desserts and everything in between, and something totally unexpected. So a great place to go exploring. This past week I made it to two new places—Mount St. Helens and Ape Cave. The Mount St Helens visitor center at Johnson Ridge is a great place to learn all about the May 18, 1980 eruption through a couple of movies, and all kinds of visual presentations. And walk outside and look up at what is left of the mountain. The vegetation around the mountain is well into the process of growing back after the devastation of the eruption—parts feeling like a new forest and other parts still feeling like a moon-like landscape. The Ape Cave is a very long lava tube cave—very chilly on a hot summer day and one where you must have a light. The walk in is hard has you struggle to adapt to the uneven floor. The walls of the cave streaked with color but smooth. The hike out is easy as you now have been adept at not tripping on every rock along the way. If you did not have a light you would be stuck in a completely black hole with no idea where to go. The bats are falling victim to the white nose disease so wipe your feet on the way in and out. Two great places to capture a bit of Washington State has to offer.

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