Big Four Ice Caves... Sort of!

Big Four Ice Caves... Sort of!

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Early in the season the Ice Caves that form at the base of Big Four Mountain have not had enough time to form yet. Big Four Picnic Area is just off of the Mountain Loop Highway out of Granite Falls. 

Note: The caves will be forming soon. On normal years the creeks create the caves in July and usually never melt all the way out. Last year they melted out completely for the first recorded time and the Darrington Ranger that was there is curious to see how that will affect the formation this year.

We parked at the Ice Caves parking lot about a half mile up the road from the picnic area. The trail was light in traffic and I figured most families know that the caves aren't yet there. Those that were on the trail seemed to not know this as well. We did pass one hiker that was verbal about his frustration of not being able to see them yet.  

My thought was to take my girls up early in the season and then bring them back and show them the progression of the caves. 

My oldest daughter, Raichel, was very sad after reading the memorial plaque in place telling the story of a little girl named Grace who passed away there in 2010.

There were signs placed thoughout the area warning hikers to not go in the caves and to not even leave the trail. It is not monitored and the warnings are usually overlooked. I was happy to see that there were no hikers off the trail while we were there.  

On the way back, just as the trail renters the forest, we set up the girls' hammock! This has become their new highlight. The fresh forest aroma created an even more peaceful setting for our lounging snack spot.  

We took the loop to the picnic area to investigate the old Hotel site and we passed a Forest Ranger on the boardwalks. Raichel wanted a picture with him and he told us to say to the other Ranger who was near the Hotel site displaying information.  

This was a great added bonus! She was so nice with the girls, giving them stickers and showing them old photos of the area. She explained that the fireplace, the only part of the Hotel that still exists, was also probably the culprit of the fire that burned it down in September of 1949.  

It was an easy walk to the other parking lot from there and we headed home, the girls were both asleep about five minutes down the road.

 


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