Rhino Cave | My Family Travels
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During the winter of sophomore year, I decided to take a trip with the Marine Biology classes to Eastern Washington, where we observed the basalt that formed the hills of the Columbia Plateau. After hours of driving and walking, we arrived at our destination: the Rhinoceros Cave. The teachers told us that a rapid-moving basalt flow in the Grand Coulee killed a rhinoceros and created a mold of its body in layers of dried basalt. However, to actually see the cave, we had to overcome a set of obstacles. We climbed down a cliff, walked a mile on the edge of a steep hill, strode through the grassy fields of cow dung, and finally, climbed up another cliff to see the rhinoceros mold.  Half of the group didn’t even go down the cliff, another group stopped after walking half a mile, and a few more ran back after smelling the cow dung. I was one of only ten out of the hundred who made it all the way to the cliff.

 I looked up, contemplating whether I should ascend the steep cliff. “A student almost fell down this 200 foot cliff two years ago,” I thought, but it was too late to stop. Before I knew it, I was climbing up the rocky surface. The bleeding didn’t stop me, nor did the whining from my classmates. The chance had finally come to experience everything first-hand instead of listening to lectures or reading textbooks. With one last push, I reached the cave.

The cave was more than four holes in the basalt. It became a symbol of my passion to explore Marine Biology first-hand. Science isn’t just listening to my biology teacher talk about his journeys to the magnificent coral reefs and dangerous dives for abalone, or reading textbooks about the oceanic zones. Marine Biology is about observing every aspect and exploring the depths of the ocean. In this case, it meant exploring the site of where an enormous ocean existed long ago.

When we returned, everyone who had given up began asking questions about the cave. I simply replied, “Indescribable.”

 

 

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