Guler Ice Caves, Trout Lake, WA

Ice Cave

Sunrise over Timothy Lake

We woke up at 5:30, ready to go! A cop had pulled into the parking lot next to us and sat there for a while and probably ran our plates. We weren’t sure if we would get a ticket for where we were parked, but then he moved on.

We took a quick stop by the lake to watch the sun come up. The fog was rising off the water like steam, and the fish were jumping and skittering across the surface like skipping stones. It was completely silent. All of the world was still asleep. Time to hit the road. It’s nice to get an early start.

The views today were even more magnificent than yesterday. Not only can we see Mt. Hood, but now Mt. Adams has come into view. That is where we are headed, to a little place near Mt. Adams called Trout Lake.

Hello, Mt. Hood!

We are starting to see orchards again as we get nearer to Washington – miles and miles of cherry trees, with Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams as the backdrop. It’s so pretty. It suddenly feels like we are in Italy, with dewy vineyards lining the fertile green valleys beneath the dramatic shadow of Mt. Vesuvius.

And then we cross the Columbia River. We are back in Washington again! It feels good to be “home”. Washington feels like home now.

The campground at Trout Lake is closed! So we decide to check out the ice cave nearby to see if we can camp there. Serendipity strikes again. The ice cave has a campground! We navigated through a tricky patch of mud, thankfully didn’t get stuck, and set up camp in a private space in the trees.

These are the kind of forests that I love the most. The old trees are incredibly tall and dense. A little bit of light dapples down through the leaves. The underbrush is thick and lush, creating layers of every imaginable shade of green. The birds are singing the prettiest song that echoes through the trees. It’s so peaceful.

We grab our jackets and headlamps and go to explore the ice cave. It is a hot, sweaty day, but even as we approached the cave the air became noticeably cooler. Then, stepping down the wooden steps into the ice cave, we were hit with a blast of frigid air. It’s startlingly cold, and feels like a refrigerator! Even the steps are treacherous and slippery with ice. It’s so unexpected that it could be that cold.

At first look, the cave appears to be one small room but then opens out into a series of tunnels partially blocked by cave-ins. There are icy stalagmites everywhere, formed from dripping water from the cave ceiling. Some of them stretch from the ceiling all the way down to the floor. In the light of our headlamps in the dark, the ice formations look like huge gemstones and tiny ice crystals sparkle like diamond teeth in the cracks of the rocks.

We stayed down in our nice, cold playground for a while, exploring the icy wonderland in the dark. When we climbed the stairs back out we were startled by the blast of hot air, like the wave that hits you when you open an oven door! There was easily a 50-degree temperature difference. We might have to go back to the cave to cool off if it gets too hot today. What a fun treat that was.

Tomorrow we need to do some scouting to find a suitable place with cellular coverage for work next week. I can’t believe our two weeks of adventure have passed so quickly!

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