In our neck of the woods, there is such a thing as The Ape Caves. Today the Webelos I or the Tree Scouts as they are now known, went to the Ape Caves. We used it as part of the Geologist Activity Pin. All the Tree Scouts did get the Council Segment Patch for going on this outing.
This covered: Take a field trip to a geological site, geological laboratory, or rock show. Discuss what you learned at your next Webelos den meeting. And Explain one way in which mountains are formed. We did attempt to name what geological items that might be found in your home, but we got busy with spelunking. (No we didn’t really.. It was all walking with some crawling for a bit.) The intention was to complete the entire Activity Pin, but as we realized during the process, it was not possible. So, the Webelos Den Leader has left it up to the Tree Scouts to complete on their own. He pointed out that they should focus on Volcanos, since we were at the base of Mt St. Helen’s.
The whole trip is about 90 minutes from Downtown Portland through Woodland and onto the Caves. We drove straight to the Ape Caves with a stop for lunch and a quick hike. Just before you get to it, there is the Two-Forest Trail. According to my son, this was the best part. What he really means to say, is that the Lava Tube that is a tunnel that you can climb down into and then across to the exit while crawling was awesome. The boys did it twice. Apparently finding a separate exit that comes out right next to a sign that says STAY OFF! The hike was really a half mile loop on raised walkways. The Adults figured that being raised up helped keep people off the vegetation and also from falling into these large manhole sized holes. They were everywhere. I had hoped that when the boys were going through them as a tunnel none of them would freak out to find out that they had claustrophobia. While I was on the Tour permit, it would have been the Webelos Den Leader’s job to go in after them…;) Thankfully none of the boys were.
While we were also deep inside the Ape Cave, we turned off all flashlights (which was really hard to do!) and say the Cubscout Promise, Law of the Pack and the Pledge of Allegiance. This was part of our Citizenship Activity Pin that was started a couple of weeks ago. In an earlier blog, I pointed out that a lot of the boys did not the Promise and Law. I also committed to learning it myself. While I am not there totally yet. I am getting there. So, we turned off the lights and did it.
After the Ape Cave that was 1.5 miles roundtrip, we headed further East to the Lava Fields and took a .8 mile hike to a bridge crossing a very cool river. The whole area had been scraped off by Lava Flow from Mt St Helen’s. It was a great sight to see. However, the weather did not work for us and was very cloudy so we did not see Mt St Helen’s as the clouds were very low. However, what we did see looking up was awesome since it shows how all the water, ash and forest just crushed everything in it’s way.
The 30 minute hike that we took the boys on was great. I think that they got something out of it, but the Adults by this time were feeling it as much as they were. Several of them were hungary and hiking the 3 miles in the day in the cold wet Lava Tubes did take it out on them.
One other bit that we did was to talk and do a Leave No Trace project outside the Caves. We picked up a bunch of little bitty trash on the trail and in the parking lot. We all had to get at least 5 bits. It’s amazing what people leave behind. I picked up a bunch. Figure 13 people with 5 bits each. That’s not too bad.
We ended up in the City of Woodland, Wa eating Hamburgers at Burgerville and reviewing the day. However, using a trick from the Boyscouts, I told the boys that Adults eat over HERE and the Scouts eat OVER THERE! Which were just fine for them and us.
While Elliot will tell you that his two favorite parts of the day were “Crawling in the Lava Tunnel and playing DS all the way home” I highly suspect that there were many other parts of the trip that he liked. I know that when he gets with his buddies at school and talks about it, it will be way cooler. The one great thing out of this trip is that Scouting provides the Opportunity to do something different that you have ever experienced before in your life. Today was just that. Scouting provided me and all the Dads the Opportunity to go some place that none of them had ever gone to with their son to complete a couple of requirements for a Webelos Rank Badge. There is no knot, badge or award that will ever be able to be awarded that will replace today’s experience. Take the Opportunity!