Friday, May 14, 2010

Second Post (of 9 or 10) on Arizona Trip

Our second day in Arizona we spent the morning at Kartchner Caverns. I hate to say this but this particular post I have to borrow pictures from the web as this site does not allow for picture taking in the caverns.The picture with me and the bat ears is a static display at the caverns where you have the opportunity to hear what a bat hears (supposedly). Personally I felt like I had hearing aides on (at least what those who wear hearing aides have told me they hear.)but it made a good picture.

When you first get to the caverns you enter through a large door like those found in walk in freezers. You enter an antichamber and the door is shut then you proceed through two more doors and antichambers. Each time the doors are shut so the outside temperatures cannot affect the caverns. You also proceed through a "mister" that will hopefully dislodge any lint or foreign matter before entering the caverns. Oh and if you are using a wheelchair you still can go through the cavern as the walkways are entirely wheelchair accessable!! Very Cool!! When we left the caverns we were wet enough from the ambient humidity that our clothes felt as though we hadn't dried them all the way in the clothes dryer!

Most of the following information came from Kartchner Caverns website.What didn't, I will make bold so you will be able to see my comments.

Kept secret since its discovery in 1974, Kartchner Caverns, 12 miles south of Benson, Arizona, was announced to the world in 1988. Still virtually pristine, this massive limestone cave has 13,000 feet of passages and two rooms as long as football fields. Finally opened as a state park November 12, 1999, this underground wilderness will remain protected while offering visitors a rare tour through multi-colored cave formations. The temperature inside the caverns averages 68°F year round, with the humidity at 99%. Dan and I were lucky enough to have visted several caverns across the United States but we both felt that this was by far the most protected and interesting of most of the caverns. It was in pristine condition. It also was living which meant that you occaisionally got dripped on by the still forming stalagtites that hung above your head in the cavern.

In 1974 two young cave hunters began exploring a mountain range in southeastern Arizona they thought might reveal a cave. They found a sinkhole, felt warm, moist air from the tiny hole and crawled down through the muddy tunnels to discover a series of caverns. While elated, they also felt a deep sense of responsibility. This was a wonderful curse...and one that would drive everyone involved with this cave to extremes in their efforts to save it for years to come.

Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen had to keep their secret pact for 12 years before Governor Bruce Babbitt was lured down into the rattlesnake-lined sinkhole. Then after clandestine meetings, government employees being blindfolded and quiet work by the legislature, the cave was purchased by Arizona State Parks and the development of the Park began in 1988

Inside the upper caverns of Kartchner, two main galleries the size of football fields are a kaleidoscope of color with 100-foot high ceilings dripping with multi hued stalactites and floors jutting up with matching stalagmites. Giant white columns form where the two meet. Dainty white helictites\ translucent orange bacon, and shields of white calcite adorn this natural wonder.

An extraordinarily thin stalactite, called a soda straw, hangs tenuously 21 feet 2 inches down from the cave's ceiling. Rare quartz needles forming "birdsnests," nitrocalcite "cotton," and an extensive array of brushite moonmilk appear only during cooler, wet seasons.

again this is not about Whidbey Island.

1 comment:

ANNE said...

love this. annne

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