Friday, April 11, 2014

Roadtrip ~ Cave of the Winds

With warmer temperatures and nicer weather on the horizon, Hubby and I have been planning out our Roadtrips for the year. Our first one of the Season was to Cave of the Winds. And since we both have a Season Pass, we'll be making several more trips here. But I'll only drag you along for one of them. Okay, maybe two if we find something interesting the next time we go.

The Cave of the Winds is located in the foothills of Pikes Peak. The road to the Cave of the Winds sits on top of a ridge and has an incredible view - in clear conditions. And even though the day was blustery with intermittent snow showers, the magnificence that is the Rockies could still be seen. (Okay, maybe I'm just a bit partial to the region!)

image source 
This is the Cave of the Winds Facility and Cave entrance as viewed across the canyon
The Cave of the Winds was formed 4-7 million years ago when the limestone rock of the area was below the water level of the inland sea which covered this region. Rainwater mixed with carbon dioxide and formed a weak carbonic acid that dissolved away portions of the limestone, leaving passageways and caverns. These open areas grew over time and when they filled with air, speleothems (cave decorations) began to form.

Cave of the Winds was first discovered in 1869 by Arthur C. Love, a settler to the area. Later in 1880, two brothers by the name of Pickett explored the original cave and discovered a larger cave system and the tourist attraction of Cave of the Winds was opened the following year.

Cave of the Winds map
The Native Ute tribes who traveled through this area called the Cave of the Winds an opening into the Underworld and used the chambers for burials. Many artifacts and bodies were found when the caves were more formally explored in 1880.

The broken column seen on right side of photo was once connected but due to shifting rock formations, the column has broken and moved apart over the eons.
Original tours were conducted by lantern light and most visitors had to crawl through passages to see the hidden beauty of the caverns. Today's tours are conducted in electrically lit passageways which have been excavated out to accommodate walking. Tour Guides in the beginning allowed visitors to break off stalagmites and stalactites as souvenirs - not knowing that it takes thousands of years for them to form. Evidence of these broken gems are seen throughout the Caves.

The shiny knob on the left has been rubbed so much over the years that the
oil from peoples' hands has been left behind. When this occurs, it 'kills' the
growth of the stalagmite. Touching rock formations inside caves like this is
strictly forbidden and punishable by severe fines. Scientists feel that if left
alone, the formation will once again begin to grow - after a few thousand years.
Now for the eerie side ~ There are reports of supernatural happenings occurring in the caverns. These reports date back to the opening of the Caves in 1881. People feel tugs on their clothes, taps on their shoulders. Lanterns will be blown out and strange mists will appear. The scent of perfumes will be detected by visitors and orbs can be seen. And the occasional strange phone call on the emergency call box has been received. I can't exactly say we encountered anything strange except for the fact that my camera's flash would only work half the time. (no problems with it before and after this trip) Hubby had no issues with his camera so the pictures you see here are courtesy of him.

polished flow stone
Perhaps this truly is a door to the Underworld....


Debra She Who Seeks said...

So cool! When I was a kid, I had a Viewmaster and one of the photo wheels for it was of natural wonders of the world -- the Cave of Winds was one of them. That's where I first heard of it. Haven't thought of it in years -- thanks for the trip down memory lane. I'd love to visit it someday in person.

the dogs' mother said...

I will enjoy your tour. Not a great one for caves. Don't even enjoy books with the protagonist is in a cave.

Justine’s Halloween said...

Your husband took some awesome photos inside the caverns! Who would think it could look so warm and pretty in there? So much texture. Glad your camera is back to normal now. It sounds like the ghosts were having a little fun with it inside the cave. :)