A Break in the Weather
After what seemed like weeks and weeks of non-stop rain, we finally got some much needed sunshine in the Adirondacks. So, I grabbed my friend Steven and his dog Theo and we went to check out Kunjamuk Cave. Steven hadn't been there since he was a little kid, and I had never been — but I've always wanted to check it out. We loaded up and headed out.
Getting to Kunjamuk Cave
When it comes to giving directions in Speculator, it's all about "The Four Corners." This is the biggest intersection in Speculator, where Route 8 and Route 30 cross paths. To get to Kunjamuk Cave you go to The Four Corners and head down Elm Lake Road. For about 2 miles the road is nicely paved and smooth. Along the way you will pass Lake Pleasant Central School, and the driveway to Oak Mountain. Before you know it, you come to what looks like the end of the road — but it's not. There is a large gate that is open in spring, summer, and fall unless otherwise noted.
Rough Road Ahead!
At this point you will see a sign that says "Rough Road." They mean it! Head down the narrow dirt road with caution, watching not only for traffic coming from the other direction, but for large rocks jutting out of the road that could do some serious damage to the underside of your car. Just a little way up on the right the road splits. You'll want to follow the split to the right onto Cave Hill Road. We parked here and decided to walk the last mile to the cave.
Neat sights along the way
It's a nice easy walk on fairly level ground. It didn't take us very long at all to make our way in.
The mosquitoes were out in full force after all of the rain (luckily we had packed bug spray), but so were the butterflies! We were surrounded by tons of beautiful monarch butterflies. I wish they would have stayed still long enough for me to get a good picture.
One of the downsides of walking after so much rain was the puddles we came across. In a few spots it was hard to find a place to get through without getting soaked. Of course, that's part of the fun of hiking, isn't it?
If you're traveling with small kids, you can actually drive most of the way and tailor your walk to a suitable distance for your party, or grab the bikes and pack a picnic lunch!
We saw a lot of really neat things on our walk. On the right side of the road there was what seemed to be a small, unnamed pond with a beaver lodge built up in the middle. Sadly, there were no beavers to be seen. Once you get off of Elm Lake Road, it isn't very well marked, so take note of the following: the road forks a couple of times; it's important to keep to the right and follow the signs for Wells!
When you cross a small, well-built bridge you are just about there! Keep your eyes peeled on the left side of the road, as the sign for the caves is fairly small.
Man-made or natural, That is the question
Once Steven, Theo, and I discovered the trail we couldn't believe how easy the final part of the journey was. We headed down a small, steep rocky bank and there it was! As I said, we had gotten a lot of rain just before heading in, so the ground was really wet, and there was water pouring off the rock face of the cave.
One of the more fascinating things about Kunjamuk Cave is that no one really knows its history. It is unknown if the cave is natural or man-made, and that has been stumping visitors for years. Personally, I lean toward man-made for one major reason — the same reason I didn't go into the cave — there is a hole in the top of the cave, like a perfect chimney, which also lets water rush in off the cliff behind it. If I had gone in, it would have been like taking a shower!
Tell us what you think!
Of course, if you're wondering who might have made this cave, here's a bit of info on French Louie, who reportedly holed up here in the early 1900s.
Check out this historic spot and tell us what you think — natural or man-made?