I took a drive down the coast to La Jolla one fine October day. You see, I had heard of this place where you could go down a tunnel into a deep dark cave where cool things would be revealed. I arrived at the Cave Store with my $5 in hand ready for an adventure! The sign at the entrance was foreboding “145 Steps. Please do not attempt the trip if physically unable.” I hoped I had the skills necessary.
A large wooden door graced the entrance to the tunnel that would lead me down, down, down to where the cave awaited to be discovered. The staircase was worn from years of traffic, I can only imagine how many people have made the trek down the long tunnel and back again. The tunnel is man made and has been open for over 110 years. I stop to wonder if they had backhoes then or did they dig this long tunnel with shovels?
I stepped inside and began my journey down into the abyss. The stairs are creaky, uneven and wet. I hold the handrails, taking care not to end up rolling down the tunnel. Really, nobody wants to see that. There is enough light to keep you safe, yet the ambiance of the experience is not lost. There is a warning sign up ahead, “Low Ceiling”. There is nothing to worry about for me, I’m a shorty! There is a faint glow of turquoise in the distance, the promise of light at the end of the tunnel.
Finally, at the bottom of the staircase a platform emerges and I get my first glimpse of the cave. There is a deck leading to the center of the cave, there is a couple taking in the view. They ask me to take a photo of them with their cell phone. They are silhouetted against the bright opening of Sunny Jim.
There he is, Sunny Jim! The cave was named “Sunny Jim” by Frank Baum of Wizard of Oz fame. The silhouette of the cave resembles a cartoon character who was a mascot for a British cereal company, however, I like to think of him as some mysterious pirate who roamed the oceans drinking rum and plunderin’.
After spending some one on one time with Sunny Jim, I made my way back up the long staircase to the store. I celebrated my adventure by purchasing a “I Survived The Cave” t-shirt. I’m so glad I made the trek. I’ll be back again sometime to visit Sunny Jim.
To see photos from this adventure visit my Gallery.
For more information on The Cave Store and the Sunny Jim Cave visit the website: www.cavestore.com