Okay, so we weren’t really spelunking, but we did tour a live cave at Kartchner Caverns State Park this weekend. Those that are familiar with caving know that there are such things as live caves, and dead caves. And that has nothing to do with the wildlife that inhabits the caves. A live cave has water, and continues to grow and change over time. It’s preserved so that the cave will continue to grow and thrive. Live caves are very delicate things and even our grubbies touching anywhere can cause the cave to react poorly.
I’m very sad to report that we could not take any pictures inside the cave. Since I couldn’t take any pictures, I’m going to make an attempt to describe the majesty of seeing the inside of a living cave. The stalactites, and the stalagmites were wondrous to behold. The monolithic scale dwarfed us in it’s splendor. The formations inside the cave leave you feeling small and insignificant. It’s nice to be put in your place by the planet once in a while.
I really wish we could have taken pictures inside the cave. Others have, and since I haven’t gotten permission from any of them, I will simply say do a search for pics of Kartchner Caverns, and that all of them lack the splendor of the real experience. I was left in awe several times as I strained to take in every inch of the cave since I would not be able to look at photos later.
The state park is pretty easy to get to. It’s off the 303, south from I10. Even if you aren’t staying at the campground, you can still do the cave tours. They have three of them. The “Big Room” tour, which we did, the “Throne Room” tour, and the “Headlamp Tour.” Be forewarned, the headlamp tour fills up fast, and has been booked for weeks solid. We missed out on it. It is a tour that you are limited to just a headlamp for light. Basically you experience the cave as the discoverers did.
When we pulled in the night before, we were told by the camp host that we could have our propane camp fire, but no wood fires, as the embers would blow and the area was pretty dry. I can respect that. So Saturday evening we decided to fire up the propane fire pit. It’s not big, but it works quite well. That night, we were told by that same camp host that we couldn’t have a propane fire pit… Oh well, so much for that part of it. It just doesn’t seem right to be out at a site, and not be able to have a fire. But that’s okay. I’d rather have the state park not burned up than a camp fire.
The site we picked wasn’t level. It had a nice downhill that was good for a mismatched RV/Truck combo like ours where the front sits higher than the back of the RV. It meant I didn’t have to lower the legs all the way down, then lower the RV to sit level. I’m going to say it right now though. THANK GOD for electric legs. Seriously. I can’t believe I sat there hand cranking away to raise and lower the RV before.
Earlier in the week we picked up a screen room for the RV that was big enough to fit the picnic tables in and still have room for more(like a lot more). Often times you find that you want to eat at the table only to be swarmed literally by flies and other bugs. And while I do like getting all my protein, I really would rather not have that protein come in the form of a bug in my home made chili. Judging by the comments other campers made, many others would agree. While it is big, and takes a bit to get raised, it was stable, and even with the wind whipping at it, it stayed up. Score one for the craigslist screen room.
The caves aren’t the only thing to see out at Kartchner Caverns(though for obvious reasons they are the main thing). There is also the hummingbird garden. It sadly didn’t live up to it’s name, as there were no hummingbirds there. But the plants were quite pretty. Sadly my better half, Aida was feeling a bit out of sorts after the cave tour, so she needed a nap and woke up at dusk remembering that she wanted to take a few pictures for the blog. It may have been the cave, or the sun.
The desert does have some amazing colors if you know where to look for them. And my girl knows how to find them.