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The Jester
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Anyone interested in a tour of Ole's Cave? I need to get down there soon and check my caches. It'll have to be a mid-week trip, my weekends are a little full for a bit.

 

It's a fair drive down and back, about 2 mile hike to the Cave and back, and 2000 feet underground. Being a lava tube there's no chance to get lost - unless you use real skill!

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I knew I'd forgotten something in the first post.

 

The caches are GC15C2H "A Jester Unemployed..." and GC15C2J "...Is Nobody's Fool." (To read more of the back story see this thread.)

 

Ole's Cave is one of the first Lava Tube's discovered, and was Washington's first commercial cave. For a while it was thought to be from the 1850's eruption, but is actually over 2000 years old.

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Hey Craig,

 

If you go on a Thursday I can probably tag along. Let me know and I will do my best to make it. Which caches are you looking at doing maintenance on?

I'm potentially interested, as well, and if it's a Thursday, June 21 is an option for me, I'm busy the other Thursdays this month. But I'm open to other days, as well.

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Yes, helmets are a good idea (I have a few extra if people need them). If the hard hat will stay on while scrambling around it sounds good. Bike helmets are fine.

 

The cave stays about 42 degrees year round, so dress for that. It gets a little drippy inside (water working down thru cracks, even days later after rain) at times, so another thing to consider. A wind does generally blow thru the cave, adding some chill. Gloves and knee pads are nice, but not required - the lava is hard and sharp in places. Good footwear is required, it's not a flat, smooth floor. You will be srambling over broken rock at times. There is one section where it's easier to do it on hands and knees. And there is one small hole we have to pass thru (even at my heaviest I could fit), it's only a couple of feet long.

 

It's a good idea to carry extra light sources, three is the recommend number. Headlamps are nice as the hands are free, but they give 'flat' light to the floor surface so it's easy to trip on the irregularities. I often use a headlamp with a small flashlight in hand to light the floor better. Plenty of extra batteries and bulbs are good.

 

If it's a sunny day, sunglasses carried with will make the exit a little easier on the eyes.

 

BTW, your GPSr will NOT work in the cave, but you might get a lock at the various entrances (i.e.. holes to the surface). There are five of them, but we will only be using the first and fifth (#2 is rock scramble for climber's only, 3 & 4 have fern galleries that shouldn't be tred upon - I did get a lock at 3 & 4 with a Rino a few years ago, I still need to get up #2 with GPSr).

 

A small pack to carry everything is good, be aware it may get scrapped on the rocks. Food and water are handy. Remember to carry everything out you bring into the cave.

 

The cave is only about 2000 feet long, but will seem longer underground. It used to be that you only returned thru the cave, but now with GPSr's we can return up above. The surface has no bearing on the cave, so it was hard to hit a 30 foot target from a quarter mile away, over pretty rough terrain. Now, it's simple - if you mark the first entrance!

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Logistics and timing:

 

It takes at least three hours to drive to the parking spot.

 

It's about 2.5 mile hike to "A Jester Unemployed..." - about an hour, depending on our hiking speed. The road (2 miles) is easy, the trail is moderate to difficult due to trees down over some of it and the rough country it travels thru. All of this is in NW Trails.

 

The cave will take 1-2 hours depending on how much looking we do.

 

Overland back to Entrance 1 - 30-45+ minutes. No trail, rough terrain (moss covered lava).

 

Return times are about the same, so we're looking at at least 11 hours - this doesn't include a meal stop on way home or those always-happens-delays. And, of course, there are caches along the route...

 

If we meet in the Renton area (we can pick up others on the way south) at 7am that puts us at getting back about 7pm (a little extra time added) without other stops. That gives a couple of hours for caches and meal before dark. An earlier start give us more time. How do people feel about this?

 

If we want to plan a meal on the way home, I'd recommend Izzy's Pizza in Kelso (all you can eat pizza, hot bar, salad, dessert).

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I'm good with meeting in Renton at 7 am for the trip, and all the logistics sound fine to me. Thanks for all the advance intel!

 

I will be driving my car down, since I'm going on to Tri-Cities from there for the weekend. This means I have a couple seats available, so we can divvy up the passengers.

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Logistics and timing:

 

It takes at least three hours to drive to the parking spot.

 

It's about 2.5 mile hike to "A Jester Unemployed..." - about an hour, depending on our hiking speed. The road (2 miles) is easy, the trail is moderate to difficult due to trees down over some of it and the rough country it travels thru. All of this is in NW Trails.

 

The cave will take 1-2 hours depending on how much looking we do.

 

Overland back to Entrance 1 - 30-45+ minutes. No trail, rough terrain (moss covered lava).

 

Return times are about the same, so we're looking at at least 11 hours - this doesn't include a meal stop on way home or those always-happens-delays. And, of course, there are caches along the route...

 

If we meet in the Renton area (we can pick up others on the way south) at 7am that puts us at getting back about 7pm (a little extra time added) without other stops. That gives a couple of hours for caches and meal before dark. An earlier start give us more time. How do people feel about this?

 

If we want to plan a meal on the way home, I'd recommend Izzy's Pizza in Kelso (all you can eat pizza, hot bar, salad, dessert).

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Where would a good spot to meet be for someone coming up from Oregon? :D I'd like to come, and I'm pretty sure my oldest daughter would like to (Haven't talked to her, yet, as she's in the middle of college finals) as she's always up for an adventure! Even is she can't make it, I'd LOVE to come!!

If you want to carpool to the parking spot, we could meet by this cache (GCGBDC) just off Exit 21 in Woodland.

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Looks like there will be 5 (maybe 6) of us:

 

The Jester

hydnsek

TheMcMorrows

Sol seaker

Dragon's Passion 4 Caching (plus 1 possible)

 

The basics of what you need:

 

light (3 different sources, plus backup batteries)

helmet (bike helmet, climbing helmet, hard hat - I have extra)

sturdy footwear (very rough & uneven floor, easy to turn an ankle)

food & water

clothes for about 42 degree, light wind, damp conditions (and whatever we have on the surface)

knee pads are nice, as are gloves

whatever you want for caching...

 

I hope the weather is as good as today's...

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Dragon's Passion 4 Caching just let me know that she has twisted a knee and won't be joining us, so no meeting stop in Woodland.

 

Caches I'm interested in doing on the way down/back:

 

GC2QP6D - a SB rest area.

GCYH12 & GC247DK - a couple of DNF's on Hwy 503.

GC2KF0R - 10 fav points

GC2TGFG - on the walk to Ole's Cave

GC1RQWF - a NB rest area.

 

ETA - NB stop

Edited by The Jester
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Yeah, only two of us went yesterday, but we had a great day. We picked up a couple of caches on the way in, and a few on the way out but it was a long enough day we passed on all the 'cookie cutter' caches along 503. The weather was warm, but not too hot - but quite the contrast to inside the cave. Maybe we'll make this an annual trip for those that aren't sure about trying it on their own (plus there are two other Lava Tubes in the are - Ape Cave & Lake Cave).

 

We found a note on the car windshield when we got back - Lucy and Ricky were down to try climbing St Helens today and spotted the car.

 

For those interested, it took 1:26 (2.4 miles) to get in; 2:20 to got thru the cave; 1:50 to return overland (1.2 miles - we wandered about looking a lava features); and 1:29 (2.2 miles) to get out. The difference on the in and out mileage is we did a cache (Bison-7) on the way in.

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