Saturday, September 24, 2022


 Hi everyone. Happy Saturday.

It has been windy since yesterday, and when I got home last evening at 5:30, it was only 49 degrees F/ 9.4 degrees C. Brrrr. I haven't even looked at the temperature this morning because I don't want to know. With the cost of fuel right now I am not turning on the heat until at least October, so right now I look pretty funny in 3 layers and a winter hat. And I'm under a blanket. Luckily it is supposed to warm up a bit more today, but still it is supposed to be windy, which is never good for making the house feel warm.

I thought today I would share a few photos from the National Parks I visited on my latest journey. Our first park was Great Basin National Park, just over the border from Utah in a remote part of Nevada. Being remote as it is, this park is one of the least visited National Parks in the continental US. 

One of the things you can do at this park is take a tour (with a ranger) of Lehman Caves. Originally this park was called Lehman Caves National Monument, but then the park service expanded to the area around the caves, including the 13,000+ feet/ 3900+ meters of Wheeler Peak.  Congress made this area a National Park.  It is called Great Basin National Park because it is part of a large area of a natural basin which goes through most of the state of Nevada and into a few other surrounding states. 

A basin is a flat area surrounded by mountains. All the water that goes into the basin from snow falls, snow melts from the surrounding mountains or rainfall never leaves the basin and does not make it to an ocean. It is either absorbed by the dry soil or it evaporates into the atmosphere.  Although there are many basins that make up the area of basins in the US, this park helps protects at least a small example of a basin.

The first thing we did in Great Basin was  take a Lehman Cave Tour. You need to sign up in advance (up to 30 days before) because the size of the tours and the number of tours per day are limited. We took the longer 90 minute tour, and I really enjoyed it. It was the first time I've ever taken a cave tour where I actually saw a bat in the cave. Smile.

Here's a few photos. I was  very impressed at the quality of the photos my camera was able to take seeing I had it set on automatic so I could quickly snap pictures.

The info given by the ranger was great, and the rock formations were amazing.

You can only tour the caves with rangers because otherwise some people might purposefully break off  stalactites and stalagmites or otherwise damage the cave formations or the cave's ecology. One of the goals of the National Park Service is to protect the natural environment and ecology as much as possible. And as the ranger said, the only way to totally protect that cave environment would be to not let anyone inside the cave.  Part of the protection goal is to find ways to allow people to see and learn about various environments so they will be better informed in other situations. It's like it was teaching. If you can engage your students with more hands on learning, then they become more invested in the information. That is another reason the park service runs cave tours. Much of the cave is not open to the public, but if you can give people a taste and some sound information, they will be more invested in cave protection overall.

One part of the cave was fairly narrow to get through.

And at one point the ranger flipped off the lighting (that the park service installed for tours). The only light you see is her flashlight as she returned to our small group. I don't think I'd want to go caving in the way they did on the past using candles (because at that point there were no flashlights or headlamps.)

And finally we entered a great cave room. 

On the ceiling in this room were lots of people's initials. Most were made back in the early days of this cave's exploration, when people used candles. The black on the ceiling is made from candle smoke.

The funny thing is (according to the ranger) is that since these were made around 100 years ago, they have now become historical pieces to protect, even if new additions are strictly not allowed.

And lastly, here's the other cave wildlife I saw. It's a a baby cave cricket.

I hope you enjoyed this long post. Thanks for sticking with me, and have a great beginning of your weekend.


CJ Kennedy said...

Cheer up. Oct. 1 is next Saturday. It was 40 oF when I got up this morning, but it's supposed to warm up and be warmer than Fri. The caves are so cool and the rock formations so beautiful. We visited the Luray Caverns in Virginia.

Valerie-Jael said...

Oh wow, wow, wow! I am delighted with these pictures, what a wonderful place to visit. I kept seeing figures in the stalactites and stalagmites, so beautiful. But scary in the dark! And you saw a bat cave, lucky you! It's got cold here, too, but not as cold as over there, so it's thick pullovers, scarves and bankets here, too. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never visited a cave...this looks really impressive. Thanks for sharing with us, Erika.

DVArtist said...

I have visited many caves including this one. Stunning photos. So glad you were able to make this adventure. Have a great day.

Jeanie said...

It's getting cold here, too and I'm bundling as well. Gorgeous photos -- what an amazing trip you had, Erika! I'll look forward to more!

kathyinozarks said...

This is a very awesome cave. we have allot of caves in Missouri, and one of them near me is Bridal cave, which looks very close to this one I had never heard of this national park before so am happy you shared with us.
we have a cool down and loving it Happy weekend Kathy

Pooja Mahimkar said...

The pictures are stunning, ill be claustrophobic for sure but would still love to experience this once

Divers and Sundry said...

I love caves! It is best to oversee tours, though, because people are not trustworthy :(

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, those caves are amazing! I bet is was a wonderful place to explore with your guide 😊. Looks and sounds like you had a lovely time on your travels. Sending you happy wishes! Hugs Jo x

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Enjoyed this case tour, Erika, especially since I did not have to be in the cave. We did take a tour of one on our cross country trip several years ago and being underground was not my favorite experience. That said, the formations you showed were beautiful and I can understand why a guide is needed as people would want to gather souvenirs and destroy the beauty for others. The initials were amazing to see especially considering how long ago they were added.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

These caves are fascinating places and a wonder to visit. My most memorable experience of such habitats was in the karst regions of Slovenia. We spent a few hours there but it made me wish that I had two or three days to spend doing nothing else but explore underground to experience of some of the life forms there. And this from a guy who is mildly claustrophobic. Hugs - David

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

It got down to 58 F overnight on Thursday, but the temps climbed quickly after the rain passed.

I LOVE spelunking. I have a friend who bought a piece of property in AR and learned there was an unmapped cave on her property. She invited a few of us to her new home one weekend and we could visit the caves if we chose to do so. There were two men and me. We each wore head lights to see. The bats would fly up close to us, but veer off before they hit us. The bats (and a few frogs we saw) were blind because there was no light in the cave. In one area I really enjoyed was we had to crawl on our hands and knees to pass through a very small opening which opened to a HUGE room. We explored about 1/4 mile, then turned back because it was getting late. Apparently, we hadn't gone very far in that cave at all. One of the universities in the area had a spelunking team and wanted permission to visit and map the cave. I had no desire to take either a stalactite or stalagmite, but brought some red clay out. It was EVERYWHERE in that cave, even on the "ground." I thought I would make a clay pot, but never did, and I am not sure what I did with the clay.

It would be fun to take a tour of a cave that was not commercialized. I've had friends tell me of visiting caves where the lights changed colors and it was like a party atmosphere. Thanks for sharing this cave for the privilege of remembering my own fun time in a cave.