Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 8: Jewel Cave and Devil's Tower

On the way to Jewel Cave we made a brief stop at the Crazy Horse Memorial. It's been under construction since 1948, but funding has been challenging.

If you can fit through this opening and are not disturbed by confined spaces, spelunking in Jewel Cave may be for you. Since it was a bit of a challenge for Miles, it is definitely not for me.

Fortunately, you don't have to be a spelunker to tour the cave though. There is an elevator that takes you down roughly 30 stories. And a ranger leads you through the cave using the pathways and stairs that have been laid down. This is the second longest cave in the world. The longest is Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Jewel Cave is being explored regularly, so the cave keeps getting longer, current length is 142.38 miles. The temperature is constantly around 49 degrees Fahrenheit. It's so dark that nothing lives there...not even bats or spiders.

At one point the ranger turned off the dim lights that light the path and some rocks so we could see just how dark pure darkness is. Your eyes never adjust and no matter how long you wave your hand in front of your face, you visually have no sense of it being there.

Cave Bacon in Jewel Cave.

En route to Devil's Tower, a representative from Wyoming's welcoming committee turned on his lights and stopped us to say "Hello" and issue us a speeding citation.The road was straight as a ruler and we were pretty much the only car. The officer was a rather unfriendly sort and didn't take kindly to Keith's attempts at friendly conversation.

Speed Devil and Devil's Tower.

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