Saturday, April 03, 2010
Scenes From Kartchner Caverns
John and I have arrived at Kartchner Caverns in southern Arizona to volunteer for a few months at one of the premier show caves in the country.
Kartchner Caverns is a new cave in the sense that it was discovered in 1974 and first opened to the public in 1999. Mother Nature, however, has been working on it for millions of years!
Kartchner Caverns is special in that it has never been raided, graffitified, littered, or tromped through as most other show caves have been. Until it was discovered, humans had never set foot in the cave, and the only entrance being the size of a grapefruit.
It is also special because it is a "living" cave -- water, the creator and decorator of the cave, is still at work making soda straws, stalactites, stalagmites, bacon drapes, and all sorts of frills and doo-dads. You can hear it dripping. You can see it fall.
Photography is not permitted in the caves, but some nice photos and videos are available on Kartchner's website (linked above). The caves are located in the Chihuahuan Desert, and we have an RV site where we can monitor mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus, and a few Black-tailed Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) as they hop by. A windmill sits behind us, still pumping -- although we suspect the water is not flowing anymore as the tank seems empty.
We have a clothesline right behind us, and I dried the latest wash on it -- a task I have not done for at least 40 years. It dried quickly in the low humidity, but my biggest problem was trying to remember if pants should be hung from clothespins at the waist or legs! Anybody?