Monday, June 29, 2009

My World Tuesday #38 - Ice Caves

On Sunday, and friend and I went up to the ice caves along the Mountain Loop Highway east of Granite Falls, WA. The caves form at the base of Big Four Mountain.

The trail reopened on Saturday after floods washed away the bridge over the south fork of the Stillaguamish River in 2006.

According to the US Forest Service website, the new aluminum bridge was prefabricated in Florida and trucked to the site in June. A helicopter flew the seven bridge sections into place and workers assembled it in about a week. The entire construction took about five weeks.

Big Four Mountain, elevation 6,135 ft (1,870m)

New Footbridge across the Stilly

I had never been before so I figured why not go? Me and hundreds of other people. Luckily, Leslie and I arrived early, around 10:30 a.m., and started the mile trek towards the base of Big Four Mountain. Here at the bottom of the north wall is the lowest elevation glacier in the lower 49 states.

Glacier at the Base of Big Four

The ice caves are formed in late summer by streams flowing down the mountain and running under the snow field that is created by winter avalanches.

Warning Sign Along the Trail

Since it is still early summer, we only saw the snow field and numerous waterfalls. No visible ice caves have formed as of this day.

Large Waterfall at the Top of the Glacier

Several More Waterfalls on the Adjacent Rock Face

One section of the trail is still damaged from winter storms and avalanches. You can see in the picture below the fallen trees we encountered.

Look at the Size of the People on the Trail Compared to the Trees

I did see some wonderful greenery along the trail including these two specimens:

Almost Hosta-Like Leaves

Gigantic Leaves Along the Trail

The root system for this tree that had fallen was amazing. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Intricate Weave of Roots

I guess I will have to take a trip back later in the summer to see the actual ice caves.

That's my world for this Tuesday. To see what others are sharing or to do so yourself, click on the My World Tuesday badge below.


Cezar and Léia said...

Dear Sally
Thanks for sharing all these beautiful pictures the scenery is stunning!
God bless you

Gaelyn said...

What a wonderful place to hike. I didn't realize there was a glacier there and at such a low elevation. Delightful waterfalls. Hope you get to photo the ice caves.

The NW does grow some big plants and trees. Love the root wad.

JC said...

Really great photos this time ...

SandyCarlson said...

These are really beautiful. That's an incredible place.

Sylvia K said...

Fantastic place! And your photos are marvelous! Thanks for sharing the hike!

Rajesh said...

Fantastic shots of amazingly beautiful place.

Martha Z said...

What a beautiful hike. I'll have to check if we can fit it in this summer while in Washington.

Barb said...

Hello Sally.
This is very interesting - I've never heard of these caves. I'm glad you told us to look at the people in the picture of the fallen trees - I saw them only when I enlarged. They do look dwarfed by all that fallen timber! Thanks for taking me along.

magiceye said...

indeed an amazing place!
lovely images and commentary too!

Island Rambles Blog said...

Your photos show the huge mountains and then the tiny detail of the hosta like plant...very lovely..all the photos in my world make the world smaller and more beautiful

nadia said...

Sally, I've never known about this place before, so thank you so much for taking me along with you to see this beautiful place! The scenery is breath taking.

PS: You took great shots!

Regina said...

Wow, calming and relaxing place.
Great shots. Thanks for sharing.

Babooshka said...

This is a terrific place for the photographer, Love the light on the footbridge. Ice caves, the name alone conjours up such cool images.

fishing guy said...

Sally: What a neat post with those great photos. So that is where Hostas com from. I think I would have trouble going in the caves after reading the sign.

Arija said...

The might of Mother Nature made visible all around you. A wonderful hike and post.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

Sally in WA with connections in Greensboro:

Your world is so different from ours. Those mountains are omnipresent and rock SOLID!

S.W said...

Thank you for sharing us with these wonderful pictures , I love taking pictures but some times I didn't know how to make the proper angle for photographing and even I couldn't stop taking pictures all the road so I have huge collection of photos, some are good and some aren't


Snap said...

Beautiful area and interesting info about the bridge and the ice caves. Learn something new everyday! Thanks!

alicesg said...

Wow very interesting about the ice caves. Looked like ice pouring out of the cave mouth. Beautiful.

storyteller's other blog said...

Thanks for taking us on a virtual walk with you. Your world is lovely indeed.
Hugs and blessings,

Erin said...

what a wonderful place to explore...and your photos were great, that tangled mass of tree roots was most interesting and i loved the waterfall captures too.
have a wonderful afternoon.

Mocha Momma said...

Oh my...breathtaking! I saw on the news that the bridge was repaired and I said "I want to go", but I'm glad I read your post first. I will wait until later this summer. I have never been there.

Great pictures. The PNW is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing you pictures.
Nannette from Life: Be In It