Saturday, October 15, 2016

You Really Have to Be There

We were up early and on the road with our sights on Jewel Cave National Monument. An early arrival was very important because we had stopped there the day before and they had sold out their tours.  Today we arrived just right and were able to grab four tickets on the Scenic Tour beginning at 9:30 AM.
Ladders provided our stability on these climbs.

Jewel Cave is the third largest known cave in the world with over 180 miles of mapped underground passages. The “jewels” are calcite crystals that line the cave walls sparkling when the light hits them.
The cave breaths and has winds blowing throughout its interior. These winds change with the barometric pressure of the weather above the ground.  Our hike took us about an hour and a half and covered only ½ mile of the cave.

The tour was very interesting; our park ranger guide was very informative. As you can see by the photos I learned that it is very hard to get photos of a cave as you hike through it. Caves have no light so the lights installed in the cave by man did little to give you good photos. Using a flash was allowed, but the flash only traveled so far and the camera photos do not show the size nor depth within the caves underground environment. Most photos below are of huge rooms in the cave. In other words, taking photos in a gray/white cave is probably going to provide poor photo images. Sorry!

Draperies form as water trickles over surfaces.

Dogtooth Spar on the cave walls.

Surveyor mark used in mapping the caves.

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