All about the Big Four Ice Caves
Listen to 7 year old Raichel Giecek's podcast All about the Big Four Ice Caves!
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The caves are not a glacier as some people believe, but rather snow from Big Four Mountain that gathers at the base at the end of a chute and it never really completely melts out. Waterfalls that come from high above travel through the gathered snow at the bottom and eventually form the caves each year.
The ice caves are named after Big Four Mountain, which is 6100 feet tall and its cliffs provide year round shade to the north side base where the trail ends.The popularity in the area started in the early 1900’s. A train that went from Everett to the mining town of Monte Cristo passed through the meadowy area that is today, the Big Four Picnic Area.
The Rucker brothers, capitalizing on the existing railway, built the Big Four Inn around 1921. It was a huge, beautiful resort which served as a getaway for families until it burnt down in 1949. The fireplace and staircases are all that remain of this once popular destination. Beavers have dammed up the waters in the area of the old tennis courts and created a large wetland.
Along the hike, there are signs everywhere, saying not to go in the caves and to stay on the trail. The last episode of Kids Cascade Hiker Podcast was all about staying on the trail… go check it out!
When the caves are first seen from the trail, there is a sign that explains sadly; people have died here. Thats serious! It reads:
It was another sign that made my daughter sad. It talked about a little girl who passed away in 2010. Her name was Grace Tam and she was only 11 years old. Her sign Reads:
Last year, 2015, there was another accident and someone again lost their life. Please pay attention to all of warning signs the next time you go to the Big Four Ice Caves. Hopefully kids and their parents will hear these stories and STAY OUT!
The family of Grace Tam published a book that can be purchased here: