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Charles Darrow homesteaded the area surrounding the Fairy Caves and turned it into a tourist attraction by the mid-1890's. Darrow built a road to the top of Iron Mountain where the entrance to the Fairy Cave can be found and brought electric lights to the Fairy Caves before the 1900's.
|Railing around the ledge at the end of the tunnel. This area is named Exclamation Point.|
|Crevasses left by the roots of a tree|
Quite breathtaking views but being near the edge was not for the faint of heart!
The Fairy Caves were operated by the Darrow Family until 1917, at which time the attraction was closed. Unfortunately the entrance to the Fairy Caves wasn't secured with a door or bars and many of the larger and more unique formations were broken or stolen. Trash and rubble filled many places. But the beauty of the Fairy Caves was apparent to many and Cavers continued to explore the many cracks and crevices discovering many new caves and passageways.
|What do you see?|
In 1998, Steve and Jeanne Beckley took over development of the property. Being life-long Cavers, the Beckleys used scientific cave preservation methods in all their improvements. The most important was installing airtight doors in all the cave entrances. These doors form an airlock which helps maintain the ideal temperature and humidity level. Today the newer caverns are still living and growing. And there are rumors that the once dead sections of the Fairy Caves have begun to grow again.
Today's visitors have a set of strict rules which they must follow when touring these caves. The most important is
|Tree Root which has grown down through the rock in search of water|
Mineral laden water droplets leached through rock are what form the many unique forms which can be found in the Fairy Caves. Water dripping from the roof of the cave deposits those minerals on its way to the floor, forming Stalactites.
The minerals that are left in that droplet once it hits the floor collect and form Stalagmites. The multitude of other rock formations are only variations of these processes.
Some visitors to the Fairy Caves and its labyrinth system are lucky enough to have one of these tiny water droplets fall on them. This is called a Cave Kiss or Fairy Kiss. A Kiss like this is considered a sign of Good Luck.
And yes, I received a Kiss. Or two.
The caverns in the Fairy Caves system are quite spacious. And the passageways aren't too narrow. I never once had a problem with being underground.
In fact, it was rather hard to imagine that I was deep down in the recesses of the Earth. But the total darkness which our tour guide had us experience was a bit disconcerting!
Next we'll explore King's Row Cave and the journey that was taken to discover this one!