A FalconGuide to Mount St. Helens
by Fred Barstad (Falcon Guides)
© Fred Barstad/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
A very enjoyable hike.
The upper cave is the best part of the hike. Reccomended for taller hikers to get over the lava fall section.
An unforgettable experience, especially for anyone who is as interested in the geological history, volcanos, and the awesome power and beauty in nature.
This "trail" I would not consider a hike but more like an exploritory path leading in two directions- one upwards gradually in elevation and the other downwards gradually.
What ever you choose to call it, it is something not many can say that they have seen. There is nothing in anyone's hiking experiences that could possible be compared to it.
One cave is not like another, and Mt. St. Helens lava tube cave is unique.
To get the full and unique personal experience I recommend bringing high output lanterns rather than headlights or flashlights.
The only dissappointment you may encounter is the finding of a beer can. If you should find something like that or a cigarette butt, use your goodness over the low life that put it there and get it out of there.
The Ape caves is an awsome adventure on a hot summer day. I recomend bringing your own flashlights, and going early. The park rangers who lead tours every 45 minutes through the lower part of the cave are extremely intersting, and knowlegeable. The hike through the upper portion is strenuous, but is much more difficult if attempted from the upper end going towards the information center. Plan to not only visit the caves, but spend time exploring the other smaller lava tubes on your way back down to the trail head. Also give yourself the afternoon to do some of the hikes up the Mountain. The rangers are also knowlegable about these hikes, and can give excelent advice for your skill level, as well maps of the area.
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