Yes, hard to believe, Don and I met 9 years ago yesterday afternoon. After 2 years of each of us traveling back and forth from Michigan to Wisconsin, I retired in 2005 and moved to Madison. It is still hard for me to believe that it's been 7 years since I did that!
So......we got up at the usual time, 4:45 AM for Don and 5ish for me, and proceeded to do our normal weekday routine. Don to shower/shave and get ready to work, and me to the computer. Awhile later, he walks in.....I thought to say goodbye, but in his shorts! He taken the day off and never said anything about doing so! That was #1 surprise! #2 was we went out to breakfast to a little place in Mount Horeb, WI. #3 was when we finished breakfast. We were, according to Don, "going for a little drive in the country". That we did and ended up at "Cave of the Mounds" outside of Blue Mounds, WI. Don had mentioned for years I needed to see the Cave of the Mounds, but we never got around to it, nor was I especially thrilled about going down into a cave. I'm not really claustrophobic, but going down into a cave has never been on my "bucket list". My lack of opportunity to do that was taken care of yesterday. ;)
Cave of the Mounds was discovered in the 1900's after a set explosion in a limestone quarry. After the dust settled, and seeing the limestone hadn't blown outwards from the blast as expected, but had sunk instead, is when they found the huge cavern.
Cave of the Mounds is located on a farm outside of Blue Mounds, WI. The explosion that uncovered the cavern also brought about the end of the limestone quarry. It has been designated as a National Natural Landmark, although is still owned by the family of the farm.
The grounds and buildings outside the cave have been developed into picnic areas, hiking paths, and flower gardens.
There is no other entrance to the Cave other than going through the gift shop. LOL Yes, I suppose it is rather obvious that they want to make some sales, but it really is tastefully done and isn't what one would think of as a tourist trap.
The tour begins with a short movie on the history of the Cave's formation and discovery. Short, sweet, and interesting.
I will post a few of the photos we took while on the tour. Photos are encouraged, by the way......
A closer look at the formation with Don for size comparison. ;)
And a little closer...... Remember, everything you see is the result of water movement, although after the water, came gas, which formed some of the "dome" shapes in the upper areas of the cave. After many, many years (millions!) of large volumes of flowing water carving out the underground cavern, the area drained leaving the open space, but water didn't disappear entirely. It continued to flow, dripping here and there, year round, for many more thousands of years, creating organic forms throughout the Cave,
Not all the places the tour guide took us were as open as what you have seen so far. Even this one shown below is spacious compared to one which will we will come to a bit later in the tour. Those of us who have some height did a lot of "neck bending" and shoulder angling in many places.
More to follow tomorrow.......