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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Wind Cave‏

May 19th, 2010 · No Comments

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Like just about everyone else in the Black Hills today, I went underground. The weather above ground was wet and foggy. Wind Cave on the other hand was its usual 53 degrees with 99 percent humidity, but dry and clear.

Anyway, Wind Cave National Park was one of the reasons why I came this month to South Dakota in the first place. After seeing the new Ken Burns series on “America’s National Parks” and reading the companion volume, I realized that while I have experienced most of our country’s national parks, I had never been to a couple of them in nearby South Dakota.

This cave is the fourth largest in the world. Spelunkers have already explored more than 134 miles of the cave.

I only hiked the first half-mile of the cave in a 1 and 1/2 hour tour. Ranger Tami showed us the only know natural entrance.

Ranger Tami Points Out the Only Known Natural Entrance to Wind Cave

Ranger Tami Points Out the Only Known Natural Entrance to Wind Cave

Click on the picture above to enlarge

That entrance is a bit too small for comfort. So we entered through a man-made entrance and went down 300 steps to the cave’s middle level.

Wind Cave has 95 percent of the world’s calcite formations known as boxwork. This is a honeycomb pattern formed by erosion.

Along the way down to the middle level we saw much of the cave’s famous boxwork. Most of it was a few feet above us on the cave’s ceiling.

Boxwork on Wind Cave's Ceiling

Boxwork on Wind Cave's Ceiling

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The cave got its name because changes in barometric pressure causes wind of up to 35 mph to blow in and out of the entrance. Today the cave is breathing in. Tami says that means clear skies are ahead. I hope so.

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Posted in: Photography, South Dakota

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