Friday April 12, 2013 | 09:43 PM
Most epic adventures aren't pinpointed and pre-circled for you on the crumpled pages of an old Gazateer. If it were that easy - "epic" would lose its meaning. The best trick for discovering hidden treasures is by talking to locals. On this particular outing I'd picked a spot on the map to go, but in an effort to round-out our stay - I called in folks from the area for help. It's useful to call up sporting stores, Bed & Breakfasts, and wilderness guides to simply seek suggestions for places off 'the beaten path'.
We learn of an area situated deep within the woods where glaciers left a tortured path. Giant slabs of glacial ice once traveled 'ore this land, carving out blatantly obvious paths. Expansive crevasses are torn into the earth leaving massive boulders unearthed and awkwardly exposed. One purely wild remnant is a millennium-old ice cave. An afternoon's kayak trip leads us to a small sign marked 'Ice Cave'. We dock our kayaks and strap on our hiking shoes. Two miles in, we spot what we've been in search of. A rather narrow opening in the surface of the ground leads to an explorable gift of mother nature. Equipped with a headlamp and courage, we drop down into the black hole.
The story goes that early native Americans used this ice cave to store moose, bear and deer meat throughout the heat of summer. Ice and snow remain inside until late September, just in time for the next round of winter temperatures to blow in and refreeze everything. We're told that locals only recently added steel foot-holds for the climb down in (after several injuries had occurred). The cold air instantaneously shocks the body while lowering ourselves down into the frigid sub-surface. The walls of the cave prop up the ungodly sized overhead boulders.
The cave stretches 50 yards into the mountainside before forming a 90-degree turn. I turn my headlamp on to its brightest setting. With wide eyes and careful footsteps over patches of ice, we explore inward. Imagining the history of this place and the people who've stood here is incredible. It makes you wonder how they happened across this patch of earth so many years ago. Headroom is soon limited. Clad in shorts and light-weight shirts, we both express the need to warm up so we decide to resurface.
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