Saturday, October 25, 2008

Triangulation Peak & Boca Cave

This weekend Emily and decided it was time to go on another short hike before I had to work at Ruby's.
We drove out towards the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area with guidebooks in hand.  When we passed
by Detroit Lake I was absolutely amazed at how low the water level was.  When Kalin and I had passed by the lake in mid July on our Jefferson attempt it reminded me of Lake George.  There were hundreds of boats on the lake and it looked like a tourist
community.  Now the water level was about 50 feet lower and all the rocky barren shores were exposed and the waterway
under the bridge near the town looked like the grand canyon when we drove over it, completely impassible by boat now.  We only saw one boat on the lake and I have no idea how it got there because all the docks and boat ramps were laying on the bare ground now!  

The hike we chose was a relatively short one of about 6 miles or so round trip
and it took us by a beautiful rock spire appropriately called Spire Rock.  It rose straight up out of the side of the mountain like a thick needle about 80 feet into the sky.  If you look at some of the pictures posted here you should be able to see it.  The trail was very well maintained and seemed even easier than the Tripyramids that we climbed last month.  We quickly made it to the exposed
summit and were rewarded with absolutely beautiful views of Mt. Jefferson rising to the Northeast.  I could clearly see the ridge "Sentinal Hills" that Kalin and I had humped 60+ pound bags and skis over in our attempt to climb Jefferson in July.  It brought back really bad memories
of pain and anger from that trip.  Emily and stayed at the summit for a while eating some lunch and soaking in the sunshine of the beautiful day.  There were beautiful fall colors everywhere, ironically they were most beautiful in the clear cut logging areas.  The true summit of the mountain was a small rock outcropping about 30 yards from the lookout of Mt. Jefferson.  Emily and jogged over and snapped some pictures of each other on the rocks above some pretty steep cliffs.  Emily is a little nervous around exposed areas but I think she is gaining confidence in herself with every hike that we go on.  When I feel she is secure, confident and ready, I'll take her up a Cascade Volcano, perhaps in the spring.  

Just as we were packing up for a quick descent a couple at the top asked if we were headed down to the cave.  This question of course shocked us because no where in the guidebooks did it mention a cave.  After some quick directions Emily and were bounding off on a herdpath descending towards Mt. Jefferson from the main trail on Triangulation Peak.  There was a lot of blowdown on the trail and it was steep at times but then it leveled out across a small meadow of flowers leading to our destination.  Before reading on, play the video below, because this is exactly what we found when we walked around the corner to discover "Boca Cave".

Boca Cave was amazing!!!  The cavern entrance perfectly framed Mt. Jefferson in the distance and the
ceiling of the cave had to be 60 to 70 feet high.  The cave didn't go very deep into the mountain but the ground area was definitely very big and provided a lot of shelter for possible future camping trips.  I'm not sure what the geologic factors were that created the cave.  I took several photos of Emily to inside the cave to show the sheer size of it in perspective.  If the couple on the
summit hadn't mentioned it Emily and I would have just hiked back to the truck without ever checking it out.  It definitely seemed like a "locals only" location because there wasn't any graffiti or vandalism to the cave.  As soon as we left the cave I started to plan out return
camping trips to it in my head, perhaps a back country ski into the cave.  The road to the trailhead would be closed meaning it would be a 10 mile ski to the cave but the way out down to the main highway is all downhill which could potentially be a lot of fun and fast!  Hopefully this winter we'll get a good enough snowpack to test out the trip!  


Nate Meehan said...

Awesome shots of Jefferson Jon! I agree, those clearcuts were pretty beautiful... Closest thing we have out here to what it looks like back in NE, huh?

~I said...

that is a neat cave! when/if the snow comes, I would love to ski in to the cave!