Baker National Forest

BIG 4 ICE CAVES

Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

~Author Unknown

After a beautiful drive in Washington and trying out Big Bob’s Burgers our little hiking group ventured out to the Big 4 Ice Caves.  Driving towards the parking lot there are plenty of stops and short walks to make.  We passed a small coffee shop along the way where the owners were quite knowledgable and proud of their area and rightly so.  They were a wealth of information and directed us to one stop in particular.  It was a small rock cave in th middle of nowhere but what was interesting about it was the fact that 2 brothers spent a ridiculous amount of time (something like 20 years) digging, by hand in search of wealth.  Unfortunately no wealth was to be had but I think about the hard work and motivation people had back in the day.  What drive!

 

 

 

 

We walked along more paths and passed creeks and small waterfalls.  This area sure is beautiful and diverse.  I would have liked to explore more as it seemed like there was much more history to discover but alas, we had to continue to our destination, the glacial ice caves.

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From the parking lot it is a very short walk (not really a hike) until you reach the glacial caves.  Years back there was an avalanche in the area and despite signs and warnings, the park is very busy.  Near the parking lot stands what is left of the building that used to be there a long time ago.  That was one strong chimney.

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The devastation of the avalanche is apparent as you follow the path to the caves.  It is kind of nice to be able to see the mountains without obstruction.  As you reach the caves, the green and forested areas clear and open up to a very rocky path that you must cross.

 

From a distance, the cave does’t look overly impressive but it is quite large.  Sadly, the climate change has melted them but one still stands.  Again, because of the melt, warning signs are posted but I just couldn’t resist.

Once you enter the cave, you are surrounded by blue and white ice.  It is nice and cool after walking on a hot day.  If you make your way to the very back of the cave you will see that there is a spot at the top of the cave that has melted.  The result is a waterfall within the glacial cave.  It is very dark and you should use a light as you will need to climb wet rocks.

 

Expect to get a bit wet but what an experience!  After admiring the beauty of ice in the middle of rocky and lush terrain we headed back home and I felt a little sad knowing that perhaps in a few years the ice caves will be no more.

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