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Posts Tagged ‘Caves’

  “I don’t know anyone who actually likes the dark .. I don’t care how much they say it doesn’t bother them. That’s why we used to huddle in caves and light fires when the sun went down.” — Paul Kane

The entrance to Longhorn Caverns and a journey down dimly lit tunnels. -- Photo by Larry Moore

Travels With Maggie

Just 70 miles away from Harker Heights, where my RV has been parked at my son’s house for almost a month, is Longhorn Caverns State Park. It’s perfect for a getaway day trip. I visited it during an earlier visit with my son, and was glad to have the company.

While I’m quite comfortable doing most things alone, I’m never comfortable in a cave. I have claustrophobia. I can’t even stand to be in a bird blind for more than a few moments before I make a dash for a sky ceiling. I need windows to the outdoor world, preferably with sunlight shinning through them.

And yet caves intrigue me. I seldom pass up an opportunity to go deep into the bowels of the earth where the air smells musky and feels primal. I attribute my ability to overcome my claustrophobia to my stubborn unwillingness to give into fear, a trait that serves me well in my solo travels.

But I’ve also discovered that as long as I keep moving through the dimly lit tunnels with my eyes seeking out the alien underworld formations created by water and time, I can put my claustrophobia temporarily on hold.

Comanches, Confederates and Texas legendary outlaw Sam Bass are said to have used Longhorn Caverns as their hideouts. I guess they weren’t afraid of the dark. As for me, I realized early on that I had to be law-abiding because I would go crazy if someone locked me up.

When my son and I exited the cavern, I drank in the hot Texas air with a feeling of relief.

“Come on,” I told my son. “Let’s go hike the nature trail.” And we did.

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Not all beauty lies in the open air. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie   

 
 
 

The walls of Jewel Cave flow with images created by dripping water. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

“Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”  James Allen

While Maggie and I spend the next couple of months visiting with loved ones in Texas, I thought I’d share with readers and fellow travelers a few places that have enchanted, delighted, amused or awed me during my past six years of being on the road.

Jewel Cave National Monument

Located in South Dakota’s Black Hills near Custer, Jewel Cave is the second known largest in the world. Only Kentucky’s  Mammoth Cave is larger.  Calcite deposits in the wet part of the cave and gypsun deposits in the drier areas over a 60 million period are responsible for the cave’s fanciful formations.

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