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Wednesday
Jul252018

Exploring Little Girl Cave

Little Girl cave is what is left of a lava tube from about 9000 years ago. It is about a quarter mile long from end to end. Viewed from the air, it traverses diagonally underneath the road that we drove in on and comes out at a point where the tube ceiling collapsed. Looking further along the same line, a ditch can be seen continuing on dotted with areas of the tube that may not be fully collapsed.

When we arrived at the site, our guide fitted each of us with a helmet that had a battery powered light mounted to it. He then lead us down a trail about fifty yards to the entrance of the cave. We were cautioned about loose rocks under foot and not to touch the ceiling since that might break away some loose rock from above. We turned on our helmet lights and were then lead down single file into the cave.

The cave entrance was strewn with large boulders from the ancient cave-in that exposed the entrance. In fact, most of the cave was a continuous climb over boulders. The ceiling had obvious chunks broken out all along the way. However, at no point was there any light shining through from holes in the ceiling. Our guide told us that we were about 15 to 20 meters below ground. At one point the ceiling opened up into a much taller chamber. Looking backward, it appeared that the lava tube had two additional tubes or layers above the one that we were traversing. Our guide told us that another name for the cave was Canyon Cave due to the vertical nature of the space.

At about the mid-point of the cave, our guide had us all sit still and listen to the sounds of the cave. We heard absolute silence aside from the occasional water droplets. He then had us all turn our helmet lights off. We were plunged into complete darkness. The twists and elevation changes along the way long ago cut off any light from outside. We could not see a thing. It was absolutely dark.

When asked why the cave was called "Little Girl", our guide told us a story of a little girl who had been lost in the absolute darkness of the cave. Apparently, there was a search for the girl - but, she was not found in the cave. However, weeks later, the story has it, she emerged from a cave near the airport! The validity of this story is suspect, however, since the airport is about 80 miles away.

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