Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Ape Caves of Mt. St. Helens and Common Sense by Thomas Paine

"Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavoured to subdue us, is of all others, the most improper to defend us." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Strap on a headlamp and lace up a sturdy pair of boots... we're going to the Mt. St. Helens' Ape Caves.  Imagine That:  Pulling your kids out of school for an adventure with their Dad!
"In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology, there were no kings: the consequence of which was there were no wars, it is the pride of kings which throws mankind into confusion."  -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

We took the backroads through Battle Ground and Lewisville stopping for muffins and hot chocolate at RJ's Coffee Shop in Amboy.  Imagine That:  Home made ice cream scoops... before lunch!
"It is not in number, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Side Note:  I loathe GPS!   So yes, I received wonderful directions from Lorainne the jojo fry cook at the Chelatchie Prairie General Store and ... Bigfoot Crossing? Imagine That:  Turning off Google Maps and just using... a book atlas?  That's so dangerous!
"Men should not petition for rights, but take them." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

But then I found the Lewis River...
"Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

And a series of one car bridges...across Yale Lake to the Swift Reservoir.  
"I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Imagine That:  Navigating by rivers and bridges and natural landmarks.  Are you crazy? 
"To bring the matter to one point, is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern?  Whoever says No, to this question is independent, for independency means no more than this, whether we shall make our own law, or, whether the kind, the greatest enemy which this continent hath, or can have, shall tell us there shall be no laws but such as I like." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Finally we arrived at the Trail of Two Forests National Volcanic Monument.... or better known as:  The Mt. St. Helens' Ape Caves.
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

The Mt. St. Helens' Ape Caves were named after a boy scout group called "The Apes" that loved to hike up and down the trails to Spirit Lake back in the days when St. Helen's still had her lid, looking for signs of ... Bigfoot.  Imagine that:  Letting your kids hike alone in the woods in search of a mythic gorilla.  
"The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

They were inspired by old campfire tales of Native American encounters with the giant... Sasquatch.  Imagine that: Letting your kids sit around a campfire in the woods, and scaring them half to death with terrifying Indian legends!
"The most formidable weapon against errors of any kind is reason." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

During this time, back in the early 1950's to be exact, a farmer was clearing some trees and brush on his property when he discovered the mouth of a large cave.  He tried to descend into its dark hole using handmade ropes but quickly realized how daunting this was.  Imagine that:  Allowing your kids to explore a cave!
"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil." -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

So, the 'Apes' were called in to investigate and they fond a series of large hollowed out lava tubes stretching deep into the earth's surface.  Imagine That:  Allowing kids the responsibility to explore the unknown world!
"My country is the world and my religion is to do good."  -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

I mean, look at this place!  It's totally pitch black inside.  You can't see your hand in front of your freaking nose!  Jagged rocks.  Slippery wet  floors.  Walls and ceiling 30 feet apart.  Bats darting around your ears.  Incredibly dangerous, right?  Imagine that: Allowing your kids to try something totally and completely dangerous just to build self-confidence!
"Reason obeys itself; ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it."  -Thomas Paine, Common Sense

We spent the rest of the afternoon sinking our toes in the Swift Reservoir. We hiked some trails, ate peanut butter sandwiches packed in a cooler, cooked a hot ramen over a small fire stove on the lake rocks.  We looked up a Bigfoot trail and hiked for a mile or so... then called it a day.  Imagine That:  Spending a day with your kids following a mythic trail in the woods!  Sounds like perfect... common sense, to me.
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression."  Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Any bio of the brilliant British/American philosopher and political theorist, Thomas Paine, is bound to mention his sparsely attended funeral.  Revolutionary, American Founding Father, enemy of Robespierre, imprisoned in Paris for criticizing the church, Paine's Age of Reason and Common Sense pamphlets united the American people in conscious thought against the British Crown.  John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain."  Believe me, if only six people attend my gravesite... I'll consider that a win.  Keep living dangerously, people!

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