Tuesday, March 4, 2014

3/4 Kartchner Caverns Tour

This is a very special cave because other than the two cavers who discovered it in 1974, no humans had ever entered it.  In addition, it was kept completely secret for 14 years and then disclosed only to a very few individuals.  It became a state park and after a great deal of care in the design of how visitors would be allowed in, was opened to visitors in 1999.  It is a wet cave, meaning there is still water dripping inside and triple-entrance chambers and a misting system that sprays visitors as they enter are all intended to keep it wet and pristine.  No photos are allowed, so I "borrowed" these photos from the state park website and other public websites. 

There is also a very nice campground and visitor center, while I have really enjoyed.

The original cave entrance was in a sinkhole and was very tiny.  This opening was cut through for visitors.  Most unusually, this is the only cave I have ever seen that is completely wheelchair accessible, which was quite a feat in its construction because they wanted to move and damage as little as possible.
This photo shows the walkway which has built-up sidewalls.  You may not touch anything in the cave as well as the tops of these walls.  The whole walkway is washed down every night to remove any dirt, skin cells, or other contaminants brought in by humans that could harm the cave.

These are called soda straws because they are so thin. 

Hopefully, they have done things right when they opened this cave to the public and we will not destroy it as we enjoy it. 

For more information, check out the second video on this page:  http://azstateparks.com/Parks/KACA/index.html#video

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