Thursday, September 22, 2016

2016-08-19, Jewel Cave National Monument

2016 - The Big Trip West

-To visit all the places we have lived through the western USA and all the friends that have scattered. For under US $50. per day? (Average?)

2016-08-19, DAY 16
Jewel Cave National Hole-in-the-Ground (Ok, ok, it’s a National Monument)

Devils Tower National Monument

Distance Walked: 4.2 miles / 6.8 Km - Only 32 steps different from yesterday.
Elevation gain: 444 feet / 135 meters
Distance this trip on new Subaru Outback 2278 miles / 3666 KilometersUS $. --  Food 15.     Petrol 0.     Lodging 0.     Fees 0.     Misc. 0. 

Jewel cave is the fourth longest cave in the world in surveyed passages.  It is a little different formations from the common cave you envision. 

Unlike Mammoth cave, the longest cave in the world, Jewel Cave does not have much in the way of stalagmites and stalactites.  Instead it contains layers of crystals and some flowstone.  The crystals give the cave its name due to their appearance.

The tourist routes on this cave was cleverly designed with hidden lighting, no visible wiring, and metal scaffolding for walkways with filters to capture clothing lint and debris off of shoes.  This reduces the contamination within the cave by over 100 pounds (45 kilograms) a year!

The worse part of visiting Devils Tower is listening to the lame jokes about Close Encounters of the Third Demonsion... Oops, see what I mean!  It is impressive that you first see this behemoth from 20 miles away.  You spend the next 45 minutes watching it slowly get bigger and bigger.

There is a nice trail that circumnavigates the entire mountain.  There are lots of visitors at the bottom watching rock climbers above, almost like Roman Citizens at the Coliseum waiting to give a thumbs down to those they do not favor.

Foreshortening from the camera being so close makes the Tower look shorter in the photos.  In person this thing is incredibly large.

Constructed of subterranean basalt that has been columnized by the environment and exposed through the erosion of the overlaying rock.  The site has religious significance for American Indians.  Unfortunately, is is also a prized rock climbing site which compromises the site in the eyes of the aforementioned Indians.

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