Thursday, July 7, 2016

Talus Room Orientation Tour

 I had the opportunity to lead some of the new employees through the Talus Room, an off-trail area of Lehman Cave. I had just gotten some new flashes, so I took those along to play with them and start practicing.

First we went through the West Room, a long passage with some nice cave decorations along the way.

As we entered the Talus Room, we saw a nice group of soda straws and lots of helictites nearby. Most of the speleothems in the Talus Room are on the ends of the room, not in the middle.

The Rainbow Wall is a 60-foot tall wall of draperies stained various hues. It's even prettier than the photo shows.

The Talus Room was open to the public from 1961 to 1981, when some rock fall caused the National Park Service to close it off. It hasn't ever reopened, and in 2008 and 2009 the trail and electrical system was removed to restore it to wild cave status.

This area of the cave was known from the earliest days, with several historic signatures from 1885.

The room is longer than a football field, but definitely not as level.

Once we reached the other end, we started seeing more speleothems again, including some stalagmites with some holes in the top from secondary dissolution.

Then it was time to make our way over some more talus and down a climb to exit the room.

We followed the Royal Gorge back to the main cave trail in the Sunken Garden. Now the interpreters will be able to tell their tours what more of the cave looks like.

There will be some special trips to the Talus Room during the NSS Convention. It's also possible that in the future the park will offer wild cave trips to this section of the cave.

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