Our Summer 2010 Trip...Headed West This Time travel blog

part of Wind Cave National Park is a game preserve for about...

one lone bull was grazing in this area when we rode by

another one of those Pigtail bridges - wish I could photograph the...

see the mama bison nursing?

a display inside the visitor center - these elk battled, got stuck...

a photo of the elk that battled but both lost

a map of some of the 136 miles of passageways that have...

this is the only natural entrance to Wind Cave - the cave...

the ranger was showing us that the cave was "breathing out" before...

we do NOT use the natural entrance to enter the tour! The...

this is the way the natural entrance comes into the first passageway...

Fred getting ready to go down more of the 400+ steps on...

going, down, down, down deep under the surface; most of the passages...

headed down even farther in to the middle level of the cave...

the first explorer of this cave used candle soot to put his...

an example of the spider web-like calcite formations common in this cave

the temperature in the cave is always at 53 degrees

inside one of the narrow rooms - this cave had lost of...

the sharp pointed formations are called dog tooth spars

more of the spider web type formations - actually labeled boxworks

the boxwork is made of thin blades or fins of calcite projecting...

almost like a heart shape

this is called popcorn and is very common in this cave system

more boxworks - it looked different in various locations - Wind Cave...

an excellent example of the famous unusual boxworks

more boxwork examples in this 136 mile cave - about 5 -...

examples of some sheeting formations

very few stalactites or stalagmites in this cave - but tons of...

the dog tooth spar crystals are very pretty in this 4th longest...

it is hard to give a good idea of the size of...

this is actually in one of the larger rooms- most are small...

looking back into one of the other passageways not on the tour

the boxwork here is so intricate it is called cobwebs - in...

the crystals sometimes pick up colors from other minerals in the water...

one of my favorite examples of the boxworks - not many caves...

toward the end of the 2nd tour - we took two great...


I am going to cheat and use the national park website information to tell you about Wind Cave National Park. I am just too busy having fun to type it all up myself. Here is the national park information: “Wind Cave National Park includes one of the world's longest and most complex caves and 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa pine forest, and associated wildlife are the main features of the park. The cave is well known for its outstanding display of boxwork, an unusual cave formation composed of thin calcite fins resembling honeycombs. The park's mixed-grass prairie is one of the few remaining and is home to native wildlife such as bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs. Wind Cave has always been a world class natural resource. However, it was not until explorers first entered, and then continued to push further underground, that the significance of Wind Cave began to be realized. When most people think about the importance of Wind Cave they tend to dwell on boxwork and the cave's vast length. Over many years of exploration and mapping, Wind Cave has grown to be one of the world's largest known caves. Currently over 134.16 miles of passages have been mapped in Wind Cave. This places Wind Cave as the third longest cave in the United States and fourth longest cave in the world.”

We loved the boxwork all over the cave. In fact, we ended up taking two tours into the cave to see as much as we could. We went up and down over 400 steps and went as deep as 250 feet underground. Both tours were exceptionally fun!



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