Saturday, November 16, 2013

8 hikers celebrate a birthday exploring caves and finding petroglyphs

I was honored to lead a group of hikers on some trailz and particularly to the caves and petroglyphs at Turkey Mountain yesterday morning. We met at 11:00 and took a little 1.5 mile out-and-back and say some of the historic landmarks on Turkey--some that are centuries old. Pictured left to right--Good old TZ, Tim Baker, Mimi Tarrasch, Donna Bullock, Sheila Lauterbach (the birthday girl), Pricilla Boegh, Sue Parnell, and Julie Ladehoff. (Don't remember the doggies names either.)

We took the paved bike trail about halfway down the hill, and then cut over to the Lo Chi Trail. I love this trail--it has high bluffs to the west, the tallest trees on the mountain, many ups and downs, and is a nice not-so-technical single track that ends up with a mo-fo of a hill about a mile north. But for our purposes, we ran until the trail was 30 feet from the railroad tracks, and then dropped down for a little track work. This is the only way to the caves other than basically rappelling down from the Ho Chi.

The hike from the tracks to the shelf where the caves are requires an on-all-fours claw and scratch hanging onto trees and vines all the way. Our whole party scrambled right on up with no delays.

Even those with short legs made it up in quick fashion.

There's an order to how this area should be seen. I chose the Catacomb cave first. Most of our party climbed up to the entrance for a peak inside.

Picture swiped from Sheila Lauterbach

This cave is always dry. In a pinch, one could live here. It's a little short on modern utilities, but at least you'd have a roof over your head.

Picture swiped from Sheila Lauterbach

Just out the door from the Catacomb cave are a couple of old wooden ladders leading to another shelf which is actually above the Vulture Cave, aka Lo's Cave, aka Bad Dog Cave. These ladders have been here for 6-7 years and I question their safety.

Yep, I play with BitStrips on Facebook.

Picture swiped from Sheila Lauterbach

These are more of the inscriptions on the face of the bluffs. These are gradually wearing away. According to a couple of articles I have read, there are others carved in the rocks in nearby areas, but I have not found them.

Picture swiped from Sheila Lauterbach

Most of the gang climbed up and into the Vulture Cave, and I told them the story of the vulture, and also of the snakes that dropped onto a group of Halloween trekkers.

This is the petroglyph we came to see. This is Gwen, believed to be carved in the Pre-Columbian Era.

Climbing down is every bit as hard as climbing up, but we all made it with no mishaps. a mile and a half back to the parking lot, and the party of 7 continued their party at Hideaway Pizza. I think Sheila had a fun birthday.


  1. I love Lo Chi also. When I get to the climb up I always cuss myself but I refuse to go out simply back. I'm into loops. When I found the petroglyphs I just went simply down the tracks looking for social trails. I finally found them. The tracks are slow going for me. Lo Chi would definitely be better.