Friday, March 8, 2013

Old Man's Cave

 We had a fun caving adventure this week. Clint had heard about Old Man's Cave and wanted to go, so we got a permit and the key from the Forest Service. The cave is only open October-April due to a maternity colony of Townsend's big-eared bats that use it in the summer. Fortunately the snow had melted so we had no problem driving to it. The kids were really anxious, and as soon as we stopped they were off hiking running.

 The entrance isn't huge, but it is big enough to walk in. Except there's a gate in the way.

 And the gate has a rather small entrance. That was okay. Three of our cavers were small.

Jenny was ready to photograph our adventure.

It wasn't easy to photograph, as it was so dusty inside. We went first into the lower level and explored there. Then we headed into the upper level and got to a less dusty section.

 It had been many years since I've been in Old Man's Cave, and I had forgotten how colorful it is. It also has a lot of walking passages, making it very pleasant and a change from many of the little holes in the Great Basin.

 We did have a little crawling, just to remind us how good we had it for the rest of the cave!

 The two ladders made the kids feel like they were on an especially adventurous mission.

 The cave has some beautiful formations.

 Here's Jenny going down a smaller passage.

 We made it to the back of the cave and signed the cave register.

 Clint checked all the holes to make sure we weren't missing anything good. We skipped the passage to what I know as the clay room (I think it's actually called something like the grand palace). It's a narrow little chute that goes into a room where you get totally dirty and it's hard to get out of. Maybe when the kids get older!

 For now, they were happy goofing off and telling cheesy jokes.

 It was hard to get them to stay still for a photo! Do you like Ava's and Desert Boy's footwear? Oh my, we didn't notice till it was too late. And I didn't notice Desert Boy had his boots on the wrong feet till more than half way through the trip. They didn't seem to slow him down at all.

 We tried to get the kids to take a photo of us, but this is the best Desert Boy could do. Maybe Jenny got a better photo with her camera!

 On the way out I admired other cave formations. There is really a lot to see in the cave, and I wouldn't mind a slower trip to check it out more thoroughly. The kids were really ready for a snack by this time and moving fast to get out of the cave.

 I did stop to take a few more photos. This area must have been spectacular before the formations were broken. Many of the formations were sold at Lehman Cave so people would stop breaking the formations in that cave. Ugh. Fortunately people came to their senses and stopped selling the formations, some of which may have taken over a million years to form.

 Not far from the entrance Clint noticed this huge two-foot long spider web. I had seen several recently in another cave, so I was totally excited to see this one in this cave. I'm hoping I'll hear back from a cave biologist soon to find out what kind of spider makes this web.

 Seeing the natural light at the entrance of the cave is always a welcome sight. As much as I love caves, I also love getting out of them safely!

 We were treated to beautiful light as the sun descended behind the nearby mountains.

 The kids ran down the mountain, but I stopped to take a look at the sign outside the cave giving a little more information about the bats.

 It was a gorgeous afternoon, with mountain shadows stretching into the valley. I'm going to make it a goal to enjoy this magical hour more often this year. It usually falls right about dinner time, so I think we may have to have some picnic dinners in scenic locations.

The kids still had plenty of energy after the cave trip, although they scarfed down every snack they could find. We'll have to see how much they remember of the cave trip in a few months. It was a good outing--thanks for the idea, Clint!

1 comment:

jhami said...

Your photos turned out great! Very cool ;)

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