Notes from Windward: #66

A Visit to the Ice Caves

Jillian talks about their adventure on the slope of Mt. Adams

Katie heading down the steps leading into the ice cave


      The interns decided to take a trip to Mount Adams, a 12,000 ft. mountain,the second highest in washington. Tristan was bound and determined to climb it, and we were bound and determined to pick him up once he'd done so.

      Instead of glacier hiking, Virgil, Katie, and I decided to do a little spelunking in the nearby ice caves. Before becoming a popular tourist attraction, the ice caves were used in pioneering days for cheese storage and by residents of Hood River and the Dalles to supply ice.

Virgil tests his footing on the ice


      We were somewhat prepared for the caves, with two flashlights between the three of us, but we weren't prepared for the uneven, somewhat treacherous ground inside the caves. At times we were walking only on ice, and by walking I mean slipping and sliding, while at other times we were crawling on hands and knees to explore side caves.

       The caves were long and tended to dip up and down through the ground, like a needle through cloth. We reached the end of the first cave only to find another cave ten feet farther that dipped back down into the refreshingly cold ground. The last cave was a bit harder to navigate, and somewhat restricting. It was called the break-away on our map, but it was more of a breakdown in that the rocks had all collapsed on top of each other leaving only a small chute down into the twenty foot deep cave. Being the smallest one of the group I was able to shimmy my way in, hoping every minute or so that I hadn't overestimated by skinniness or flexibility.

a narrow passage in the cave


       The break-away cave was different from the others in that many of the rocks were reddish in color, something that reminded me of the rock formations in Sedona more than anything else. Getting back out of the cave was a little trickier since the 'chute' down did a bit of a double curve, like the pipe from a sink, so immediately after I found myself going down feet first, I found myself going up feet first.

       But I soon found myself alive and muddy up in the hot summer sun. We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging at the Forlorn Lakes, picking blueberries and huckleberries, and accidentally slipping off logs into the water.
Forlorn lake


Notes From Windward
      Index - Vol. 66