The Ape Headquarters, where you can buy souvenirs and rent lanterns in the summer, is located just off the parking lot. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, at 08:32 a. The resulting rock blast and mudslides killed 57 people and around 7,000 large animals, engulfed 200 houses, choked rivers, buried highways and flattened trees like matchsticks. This made me squee a lot. Driving time from I-5 and highway 504 where all the Mount St. The Ape Cave is the third longest lava tube about 4 km or 2. I spend that time writing, reading, and exploring the outdoors.
The debris avalanche was up to 0. A bit further, the canyon begins to broaden and flatten as it approaches a large alluvial fan spreading into the Smith Creek valley. The Visitor Center itself is a handsome timber-accented structure, with vaulted ceilings, and within a peaceful woodsy lake and wetlands setting. After driving for a few hours on I-5, we finally hit Spur 503, the true beginning of our adventure. Water in Spirit Lake has slowly risen since becoming dammed, and is now controlled by a 1.
There are side passages and crawlways to explore in this area. Some people believe the lava tube was named after the large, ape-like creature instead of the scouts. But before you get there you will need to drop farther into the canyon. The trail took us to many tree casts that formed when the lava flowed around the trees and cooled, leaving impressions of the forest. A white moisture covers some walls of the cave, which visitors have unfortunately written on with their fingers. Within its boundaries, the area that was impacted by the cataclysmic eruption of May 18, 1980 is left to respond naturally to all environmental factors.
You must climb up, over, or around the abrasive rocks, taking care not to twist an ankle or, in some places, bump your head. Beyond the lava fall are a couple of rock formations that require some physical ability to climb over or to squeeze around. The volcano has been erupting on since October 2004. Traveling up the lava tube provides a longer and more difficult hike. If the gates are closed in the winter, you can park at the Trail of Two Forests and hike about a mile in. The Cascade volcanoes formed as a result of the Juan de Fuca subducting moving under the North American plate. Hyndman, 1987, Roadside Geology of Washington: Mountain Press Publishing Company: Missoula, Montana, p 105-123.
Helens National Volcanic Monument: Gifford Pinchot National Forest: Northwest Interpretive Association trail guide, Hemlock Printers Ltd. The boardwalk trail loops through the two forests, and is kid- and wheelchair-friendly. One more section of the lava tube is beyond the upper exit. Although strenuous, this non-technical climb is suitable for people in good physical condition who are comfortable scrambling over steep, rugged terrain. Bring a warm jacket or vest. We did the loop trail, from which you get views like this: The view from the suspension bridge.
The ceiling is only about 6 feet high in places, so take care. Despite the unexpectedly long trek and the soreness in my feet, I felt a pang of sadness. I looked to the right. P to present , which, itself, has had seven eruptive periods marking different eruptive styles. I like good beer and traveling. The tunnel at the top is small and quickly siphons into a tiny passage full of rock formations that require climbing over or squeezing around.
Nonetheless, we start our trek into the upper caves. A bit further, the canyon begins to broaden and flatten as it approaches a large alluvial fan spreading into the Smith Creek valley. A well-marked path leads back to the Main Entrance. I had almost forgotten the trees and streams that were above us the whole time. The floor is flat though a bit uneven at first , then sandy later on, from a mud flow that filled the lower portion centuries ago. Helens and flowed down the surface of older pyroclastic-flow deposits. An annual national parks pass can also be used in lieu of the regional national forest pass.
These composite volcanoes exist as a result of subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate beneath the North American plate which produces an arc of large composite volcanoes. The official name of the trail is the Sunrise Trail 262. Just as your heart starts to flutter with fear of the unknown, voices echo off the tunnel walls. The biggest cavern, aptly called The Big Room, is an 88-foot wide giant cavern and is located at the beginning of the Upper Cave. Sturdy shoes and strong lights are a must. Driving Directions From Randle, travel south on Highway 131 Forest Roads 23 and 25.
Ape Cave is the place. Other than that, there's a lot to see and do. There are two concerns about this: Firstly, the lava fall is easier to ascend than to descend safely. The scouts named the cave in honour of their sponsor, the St Helens Apes. Unfortunately, the walls here have been disfigured by graffiti 2012. If the road is gated at the Trail of Two Forests junction e. I kept waiting for my eyes to adjust, squinting to try and make out the shape of the tunnel, but there was nothing.
However, no one wanted to lower themselves into the dark hole so he contacted Harry Reese, a local spelunker and scout leader, to investigate instead. A short trail leads to the information kiosk at the. As the lava cooled, it shrank and cracked. Helen you can not help and notice all the new growth which look so fresh and green. There is no man-made infrastructure in the cave except for the entrances, so Ape Cave feels like a tunnel to the center of the earth. We took it slow and clung to things, and tried not to look down between the slats. Openings and crevices can be explored for some of the cave life, such as crickets, grylloblattids, and fungus gnats.