Following a 40 mile bike ride, I joined a friend for a tour of Colossal Cave, being guided through the "Ladders" route. The pavement leading into the park is in dire need of repair with multiple large and deep holes but things improve once you park your car.
Colossal Caves is southwest of Tucson, close to Vail, AZ. Nice views abound.
The stone structures that support a gift shop and café date back to the 1930's. The area is a pleasant place to relax prior to be called for the....
….helmet fitting and explanation of what to expect. The woman shown was also our guide and gave an admirable performance. Her knowledge of the history of the cave and the environment was impressive.
With our helmet lights on, we descend and are quickly off the main tour route and onto the ladders tour. The passages are narrow and the helmets are frequently tested on the low and jagged ceiling.
In the 1930.s a large group of men were paid $1 a day to improve the passages, install walkways, lighting, etc... to turn the cave into a tourist destination. The history of the cave is long with evidence of use all the way back to 900AD.
At one point, we are 6 stories below the surface.
Few of the stalactites are whole as over time, the tips were broken for souvenirs. Since this is a "dry" cave, meaning the water that once fed the cave ceased hundreds of years ago, no growth is occurring.
Probably the highlight of the 90 minute tour was being led into a dead end tunnel and instructed to turn off our lights. Then we were given the opportunity to feel our way out to the main passage while wisely scooting on our rear ends. In the blackness, it gave us an appreciation for what a few experienced, long ago, when they lost their light source and died, trying to find a way out.
Our guide continues her performance, including stopping at the "Alter" where for $250, you too can use the site for a small party marriage ceremony.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex rock.
An enjoyable time in a cave where the temperature is a constant 71 degrees. For this reason, early developers of the cave would....
…..spend several days at a time inside while the outside temperature soared. I give this tour a thumb's up.