“The longest continuous lava tube in the continental United States.”
You may remember Cheyenne’s response when CJ invited us caving last summer; “no belly crawls.” Of course, in true CJ fashion, we ended up facing a tube crawl belly flop into a mud puddle before our eyes had even adjusted to dark. So when Hans suggested we visit Ape Cave up in Washington you can imagine her skepticism. Hans assured us that he had been there before. “It’ll even be okay for my diminutive dog.”
The cave entrance is in the middle and you have two choices. South leads 3/4 of a mile through a relatively flat floored open tube for non-belly-crawling, standing head room, pregnant lady-friendly spelunking. North leads one and a half miles on a grueling, stooped over, climb the underground lava flow, “challenging” hike. The main disadvantage to the southern route is that it is a dead end. Making it an equal mile and a half round trip, whereas the northern route leads to a far exit in the woods and a return surface trail.
The narrowest part of the southern tube.
The south face of Mount St. Helens from a meadow near the cave.
No dogs allowed, so the Hungarian Weasel Hound spent the afternoon trapped in the car.