Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Spencer Jack Is In Friday Harbor Safe From Collapsing Washington Ice Caves

Incoming email this morning from Spencer Jack and his dad. That is Spencer you are looking at here, getting ready to board the Yakima Ferry to float to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

At my current location there are no islands in need of a ferry boat to gain access. Fort Worth has an imaginary island it calls Panther Island, which requires no boat, or even a bridge, to access. All you need to do is walk onto the imaginary island over dry land.

Yes, the stereotype cliche is true, as stereotype cliches often are. The South is a bit eccentric, what with imaginary islands and happy hour inner tube floats with alligators in a polluted river.

I digress.

Back to this morning's email from Spencer Jack and his dad.

Subject line: Spencer Jack in Friday Harbor Safe from Collapsing Ice Caves

Spencer Jack insisted on a ferry ride today with hundreds of other tourists to Friday Harbor. We sailed west to a small town known as Friday Harbor located on San Juan Island. Did some shopping, after enjoying pan-fried oysters and salads for lunch.
With drinks. Shopping today we found our FUD's 49th August 11th birthday present. I'm sure he will enjoy such, as I think most history buffs would. It is just fitting of FUD. And when FNSJ and I come to visit FUD in DFW soon, we will enjoy this present with him. Spencer loves games. I suppose we need to ship to him this package unless he is planning a trip the PNW which for the first time in 5 days did not reach the 90 degree mark. Shipping may be standard, and not the overnight express when one ships perishable seafood. I suppose if we ship this package early enough, it should arrive before FUD starts his 'golden years.'  And way ahead of our late summer arrival.

Did our FUD ever visit those ice caves? I'm kind of lost as to where they located.   I suppose I could look such up, but I'm almost certain that FUD will reply with an answer when I wake.

Yes, FNJ, I have visited the Ice Caves a couple times. Once with your cousins, FNC and FNJ3 (Favorite Nephew Christopher and Favorite Nephew Jeremy).

That is Jeremy behind Christopher as we made our way to the Ice Caves. This visit occurred in Winter, when it is relatively safe to go inside, but still a bit scary. It was very careless for anyone to ignore the warning signs in Summer, particularly when it is HOT.

I have a photo album with more pictures of the Ice Caves, with FNC and FNJ3 inside. They are old-fashioned hard copy prints. Maybe I'll get around to scanning them later today.

UPDATE: Later is now. Go to my Washington blog to see photos of Chris and Jeremy inside the Big Four Ice Caves.

My last time to the Ice Caves was during the late Spring thaw. I led Spencer Jack's Great Aunt Michele and a group of kids she was the coach or counselor for. I can't remember what the exact deal was. We hiked the trail in til we could view the Ice Caves, which were not yet formed. The attraction was to sit on giant boulders at a safe distance and watch huge chunks of ice break free of the steep cliff above the Ice Caves come crashing down making a noisy cascade of ice.

I think the last time I was on the Mountain Loop Highway, in the vicinity of the Ice Caves, was with Spencer Jack's Uncle Joey, aka FNJ2. We were driving the Mountain Loop Highway, where in the Monte Christo ghost town zone I had Joey get his bike out and coast, at high speed, down the hill, whilst I followed in the pickup.

On my Washington website there is an entry in my webpage about the Cascade Mountains which mentions the Ice Caves. Below is the text, which should give Spencer Jack and his dad a good idea of how to find the Ice Caves.

Below is the aforementioned text, note the foreboding warning at the end...

Ice Caves
There is a road called the Mountain Loop Highway that goes from Darrington to Granite Falls. This road is in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. It is the way to Glacier Peak which is one of the 5 volcanoes in Washington, and the least known and most difficult to get to. The Mountain Loop Highway is very close to the lowlands of Puget Sound and is easy to get to and closer than going up to the ski areas on Stevens or Snoqualmie Pass in search of snow to play on. There are many attractions on the Mountain Loop Highway, Mount Pilchuck, Granite Falls (the actual falls, not the town),  Monte Christo, an old mining town which is now a ghost town and a major mountain biking and hiking destination in summer and a cross country skiing destination in winter. But the most unique thing on the Mountain Loop Highway may be the Ice Caves which form every year as the winter's accumulation of snow that has slid off the mountain forms caves as water erodes the ice away. The Ice Caves are about a mile hike from the Highway. There are warning signs. 'Enter the Ice Caves at your own Risk', 'Ice Caves Dangerous on Warm Days'. People have died in the Ice Caves. 

I suspect I will soon be seeing photo documentation of a Spencer Jack Mountain Loop Highway trip. I wonder how much of the Monte Christo ghost town remains? As a kid that was a fun place to explore.

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