Black Chasm Adventure

The Dragon Helictite: Black Chasm Mascot

We got to go caving last weekend! Thanks to a dear friend who wanted to celebrate her birthday underground, we had a spectacular day. We went to Black Chasm, in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Jackson, California. Ironically, our family went there exactly a year ago.

Black Chasm Formations

The cave is gorgeous and very well lighted so that the rock formations are shown to best effect. This cave has some rare formations called helictites (top photo), which seem to defy gravity because they grow any which way. In the first photo above, you can see the dragon head formation that the cave uses as its mascot; it’s sticking out farthest on the right.


The trip was fantastic, not only because I adore caves, but because we got to go with some of our very favorite people and celebrate Ritsa’s birthday. Isn’t she cute?

B-day Girl

Ian and T Blue and Headra

We picnicked on goodies and the children got to ramble in the woods a bit. I love how doggedly Asher tags after the bigger boys. He’s every bit as tough as they are, just not quite as fast or sure-footed.

Boys Tromping

Zany Lucas

Asher Love

It was chilly, having snowed the day before. Everywhere we looked the stones were covered with a beautiful carpet of moss, thick and brilliant green. We followed some directions to find the Zen Garden Trail and, I have to say, I’ve never seen anything like it in California. It looked so much like a set from one of the Lord of the Rings movies, as though we suddenly had been transported to New Zealand and should expect orcs to come trundling around the corner at any minute.

018 016
This place was heavenly and perfect for exploring. We rambled up and down boulders and in between huge, monolithic rocks, all draped in lush moss.


Here we are, minus two beloved photographers who managed to avoid being in most of the pictures. Many thanks to Tate for letting me use some of his photos. Happy Birthday, Ritsa!

More adventures, please, darlings! I love them so!

5 Responses to “Black Chasm Adventure”

  • Alyss
    April 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    What a fun thing to do for a birthday! I haven’t been in a cave in years, and the more common ones up here are lava tubes rather than limestone caves. It’s always an adventure being underground and I have always been reminded of stories of pixies and gnomes and dwarves when caving 🙂


    • Sara
      April 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      No doubt, Alyss. I do the same and I wonder if my kids are thinking along those lines or if they’re just in the moment, seeing the amazing structures. I don’t ask; I just listen. They were certainly curious about whether the bat was still visiting this cave.


  • Liz
    April 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    lovely. I wanna go bouldering!
    (and I haven’t been caving since 19… um, 1986? Crap.)


    • Sara
      April 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Liz, it was great. I totally recommend this place.


  • jeanene
    April 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

    An interesting adventure.. reminds me of the Cango caves in Southern Africa.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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