WSU Vancouver Cougars brave Turtle Cave

Where better to go on a rainy fall day than underground? That is exactly where a group of WSU Vancouver students and their friends went on Nov. 3 under the leadership of the Recreation Office Intern, Jonathan Rader.

Turtle Cav e

We headed out through the Columbia River Gorge past the city of Carson and Bridge of the Gods. After winding through the forest on a road shrouded in fog and clouds, the pavement finally gave way to potholes and gravel. After a couple of wrong turns, our caravan stopped at what seemed to be a random spot on the road. From there, Rader led us on a short walk to a sinkhole that served as the entrance to Turtle Cave.

We pulled out our flashlights and donned the helmets provided by the Recreation Office. We discovered these would come in handy when water dripped and rocks jutted from the dark cave’s slimy walls. Turtle cave is a lava tube with multiple side tunnels in the interior and two sinkholes at the surface. We spent the afternoon climbing over rough rocks and around rivulets. We saw stalactites, stalagmites and writing left by previous explorers.

The cave route led explorers through small holes and along loop-around routes that led back to the main lava tube. It was a fun trip that traded the drizzly day aboveground for a drippy one below.

Jiheng Zhao, a graduate student in engineering, enjoyed the outing and compared it to the Ape Cave trip sponsored by the Recreation Office last year.

“The trip to Ape Cave last year was a great experience for me. This cave was wilder and a little harder than Ape Cave. The scenery was gorgeous and made me feel relaxed. Exploring the unknown cave made me feel excited and nervous. The trips [organized by the campus Recreation Department] are a good chance for me to meet new friends, exercise my body and get involved in local life,” Zhao said.

WSU Vancouver students eat lunch in Turtle Cave

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