Sunday, September 8, 2013

Treasure Cave

My Wyalusing adventure continues ...

As you drive along the towering bluffs that bracket the Mississippi river, you notice the endless variety of shapes that have worn from the sandstone. Water, wind, ice ... these natural forces sculpt the beautiful formations that we see today, and at Wyalusing the adventurous can, with a heavy dollop of bravery see a magical example.  

Treasure Cave is just off the bluff trail, itself a must do as it offers a series of stunning vistas of the river valley, but be sure to wander down the steps to treasure cave.

The steps are step and the view hidden, but if this keystone feature doesn't pull you down the irregular steps carved from the living bluff, nothing will.
Slip through the keyhole and find yourself deposited at the top of a very steep ladder-like set of steps. I told you this was not for the timid. Then after you make it down that set, a second set takes you up, into the cave.
Did I mention this was an adventure?
Those steps are hanging on the edge of the bluff, high above the valley floor. This tree which makes this trail its home will demonstrate the precarious perch that the trail takes to the cave.
You have about 18 inches around this root, beyond that, a bumpy fall to, well you don't want to think about it.
Let's look at those steps again.
I started to wonder what I had gotten myself in to. I don't really like heights. I can do them, but edges frighten me. There I was, at the base of the steps leading to treasure cave. Gulp!
But up I went. At the mouth of the cave, the ground is steep and covered in, sand. Duh. You want a good pair of boots to do this, but if you make the climb, this is what you will see.
It's deeper than it looks here, and there is a side cave as well, but I was a little nervous up there. It was Tuesday, and nobody was around. That's the way I like it, but if a hiker falls from treasure cave, does anyone hear the scream?

My heart beating, I made it back down, then up again to the keyhole, worked my way up the steep rocky steps and back to solid trail. Thrilled and winded, I'd do it again, and I recommend that if you make your way to Wyalusing, take the challenge for yourself.

One last thing. As I reached the top of the bluff, a ranger met me. I said hello, and asked if he was taking a break. "No," he said. "Just checking the cave. People get stuck down there. We have to talk them out sometimes."


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