It was never on my Bucket List. Oh heck, I don’t even have an official written list, but if I had prepared one, spelunking, or caving would not have been on it . . . at all. Bats would have been the biggest reason, but then the darkness and the notion of going underground sooner than necessary did not appeal to me either.
But then came the following exclamation that happened when we passed a sign while on our recent road trip:
GN: Gram! The cave! You know how many times I heard my friends talk about it when I was in elementary school? They said it was so cool they went more than once.
Even though I have had Goodnight living with me since before she started Kindergarten, she never told me about the “cool cave” she had heard about.
The timing was right, I suppose. Summer break is winding down for her and she’ll be back to school before long, So we headed off to Crystal Cave in Spring Valley, Wisconsin.
Before we left the house, I asked GN to be the photojournalist for the day and she obliged, so the photos in this post are courtesy of my granddaughter. Thanks honey!
Crystal Cave is a limestone cave and it was discovered in 1881. It is Wisconsin’s longest cave. The tour takes visitors down seven stories below ground level with stops on two levels before reaching 70 feet below the surface. A series of wooden steps and ramps make the descent comfortable. There is an underground lighting system and an intercom system for safety. The lights are turned on and off as a tour group passes through an area.
There are crystals in Crystal Cave, but until they are lit, one would not know where to spot them.
There are stalactites and stalagmites to be seen. For the most part, they are the Soda Straw type. They are very thin and generally very small. The growth rate is about one inch per one hundred years. Rainfall on the surface of the earth takes three weeks to percolate through to the lowest level of the cave.
The cave hosts bats, of course, but this time of year, there don’t tend to be too many in there. They sleep outside. We did spot a few, though, and they did fly around.
There are fluorescent minerals and phosphorescent minerals in the cave. There was an area set up to demonstrate the difference between the two. The photo below shows the rocks used in the demonstration.
Following the tour, we stopped in the gift shop to see what was there. I think Goodnight may have found the most expensive item on display. It did not come home with us, but she did hold it in her hand for the photo shoot.
I didn’t think I would enjoy the tour, but I really did. It was interesting, the guide was very good, the bats were not an issue, and my concern about managing the descent and ascent were alleviated with the ramps and lighting. We stopped along the way for the guide to describe where we were and what we were looking at.
Such an interesting place and so close to home! Goodnight liked it, too.