Mount Saint Helens Ape Caves

8:30:00 AM

On our way to Portland last month we stopped at the Ape Caves near Mt. St. Helens. This is something we have wanted to do for a while, a hike that Brett did when he was growing up and one he knew I would love. We worked a half day before heading down there and it worked out perfectly. It only took an hour or so to do the actual hike (more on that later) so we still got to Brett's parents' house by dinner.

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There are two ways you can go in the cave. The shorter version is extremely smooth and easy, a walk down and back when you hit the dead end. This is the route that we did due to a mix up and the fact that we did not realize that the park closed at 5, so we didn't have time to do the whole route going the other direction. We do plan on going back for the Upper half sometime in the future, maybe next summer if we end up moving to the area. Next time hopefully I have a camera that has a working flash so that I can get these pictures myself.

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Going into a cave like this is something I had never done before, and at first I have to admit I was a little freaked out. Once my eyes adjusted to our headlamps and lantern I was fine. It was nice, actually, to be in such a cool cave. The previous week had been super hot in Seattle and we don't have AC.

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The Ape Caves, from what I saw and Brett has said, is the perfect spot to go with kids of different ages, too. While we walked we saw lots of families with young kids who were just in heaven doing something so cool as hiking a cave. The other half also has enough piles of boulders that a teenager would be entertained for a few hours. We also passed a booth with a park ranger that was ready to explain the formation of the caves and the environment of the area. Older children would love the diagrams and information the ranger could provide.

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