Cave of the Winds

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LAG Recreational Trip
Location Cave of the Winds
Author Derek Smith
Date December 22, 2010

While on Christmas break, I decided to take Jaclyn to the site of my first caving experience; the magnificent and terrifying Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My parents took me to this cave when I was a child and I wanted to share the experience with Jaclyn and re-live it myself. Little did I know, I was in for a full forty-five minutes of terror and adventure, matched by few other experiences found on earth.

Our descent into the earth began in the gift shop, where we paid our $18 each. The price seemed steep but hindsight proved this adventure to be worth much more than a few measly dollars. We browsed the gift shop, where we found magnets, shirts and hats bearing the logo for Cave of the Winds. The friendly cartoon bat proved to be misleading once we started our trek underground. After waiting thirty minutes for more tickets to sell and our guide to be ready, we were instructed on the rules of the cave; the number one being don’t touch anything. The others in our party must have been very experienced cavers, with confidence enough in their own abilities to bring a one year old child along with them into the cave.

We proceeded past the turnstile and through the concrete tunnel and began our descent into the unknown. Our guide pointed out different formations and explained to us the difference between stalactites and stalagmites: tight to the ceiling and might trip you from the floor. We marveled at his vast array of caving knowledge and his concern for customer safety as we navigated the maze-like interior of the cave. He pointed out the three or four significant collections of speleothems the cave had to offer, the most famous of which is named E.T.’s hand.

Time seemed to fly as we plunged deeper into the cave, ever mindful of the dangerous footing provided by the cement walkway, only dimly lit by the fluorescent lights attached to the cave walls. Constant vigilance was required and we were lucky to have the hand rail stretching through the cave.

After a grueling forty-five minutes, we finally reached safety and breathed the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains. We made our way back down the treacherous mile of hair pin asphalt roads and calmed our nerves with chocolate and coffee.

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