Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to Plato's cave

Have you heard of those books "1000 things to do before you die?" Or maybe you saw the movie "Bucket List"? There are things we should all do at least once before we shuffle off this mortal coil. Reading Plato might be one of them, though the things to do are generally more cool places to see. Going to the ice caves by Cornucopia, WI is one of those things you just definitely do or see, at least for us here in the north.

In Plato's allegory of the cave, we're all supposed to be in this cave with images projected in front of us and we don't know about the greater reality outside. But, hey, these caves were pretty cool. And mind-opening enough that I felt like going in was bringing me a greater reality.

Hans and Noah and I went this Sunday, along with the poodle. And it was fantastic. Literally. You should do it.

It's a long schlep along the ice and snow dunes to get there, over a mile with some pretty treacherous footing. Once you're there, the real fun begins.

At the point of land, there is about 300 yards of cliff line full of nooks and crannies.

Maybe 2/3 of the nooks just dead-end in a dramatic overhanging cliff. It was just enough curvy sandstone to take me back to canyons and gulches of SE Utah.

About 1/3 of the nooks lead to something even cooler: real caves, low down caves, carved by splooshing waves over the centuries. A small entrance leads to larger caverns inside. Hans would go first, down on his tummy, then Noah or I would follow.

My favorite was a long narrow tunnel, out of the way enough that most of the visitors don't find it:

Follow the link above or this one for directions. For us, it was 1 3/4 hour drive from Duluth, and with a stop for late lunch at the Village Inn on the way back it was nearly a full day.

Now that we're back to the dim "reality" of computer screens, I'm not so sure I like this real world.


Albert Wouters said...

That sounds like a really cool trip Slades! You guys do the most interesting things!

Ovidia said...

Which was Plato's original point: we're too afraid of the real world to turn away from the flickering images on the cave wall.

I'm watching the flickering images on the new HD TV ... and staying as far away from the real world as I can. I've even imagined up some poodles and some hot coffee and a plush, warm Wall-E.

Plato would have been disgusted.

Have I mentioned recently what a great writer you are?!?

Blogging the North Shore said...

Hey, A-man, thanks for checking in. We try to keep life interesting...you only have so many days on this planet, right?

Anonymous said...

Splooshing? Splooshing waves?

Blogging the North Shore said...

As an angst-ridden writer, I really struggled with the word "sploosh." How can you capture the sound of waves entering sea caves? Adjectives get you partly there, like "resonant", "booming." How about...


Anonymous said...

Your onomatopoeical gifts should be indulged, Childe Andrew, and your urr-mmm-BU-UMMMMM-ing accepted without any demur from any Melvillean sub-sub-librarians.

Anonymous said...

That last tunnel was hard to crawl through; it hurt my back...