March 5, 2010

Let's take a walk in a cave today...

I quit my job on Tuesday.

Don't worry, this is good news.
I found a better job (i.e. it pays), but won't start until Monday.
So I took this week to just kick back, relax, and have some fun.

Fortunately, my best friend, Kortney, works at nights,
so I had a daytime partner-in-crime.

Yesterday, we went down south to Colorado Springs
(home of Focus on the Family, which we pointedly did not visit).

First stop: Garden of the Gods

We spent about an hour here, wandering around the massive rocks.
It is a great walking/running trail with lots of pretty scenery.

These funky trees were growing out of the rocks.
They were very durable and easily climb-able too... which I can attest.

Kort found herself between a rock and...well...another rock.

Next up: Cave of the Winds

To get there, we drove straight up the side of a mountain, with my old-man car yelling, "Whoooooooooa!"

The stalagtite at the front of the photo is the cave's longest, at eight feet.

If you look just to the left of the center, you'll see a formation that looks like a dragon. Neato!

The walls here remind me of the scene in "Labyrinth"
with all the huge, stone heads that warn Sarah.
"Go back from whence you came!" "Take heed, and go no farther!'

(On a side note, typically I hate all forms of fan-fiction and consider it to be just shy of plagiarism. But I once read some Labyrinth fanfic...for several hours. I wish I could claim I was drunk at the time or something, but I cannot. I was aware of what I was doing. This is just something I will have to live with and will, one day, come to accept.)

Oh, so the cave.
There were many passages that were somewhat difficult to navigate.
I nearly got Hitchcock-esque vertigo on these leaning, skinny stairs.
However, that could have been because I was photographing them and
not really watching where I was going.

I once came across a phenomenon known as "cave bacon" on Wikipedia.
I don't really know how I got there. But it was fascinating.
So when the tour guide pointed it out, I was very excited to see it for myself.

(If you look just above and slightly to the left of the photo's center,
you'll see the cave bacon hanging from the ceiling.)

With all the dust-orbs in this photo, I wonder how many ghosts live in this cave. If I become a ghost someday, I would like to haunt a cave. Think of all the passages you could explore posthumously, since you wouldn't have to worry about squeezing into tight tunnels (eek!) or running out of oxygen.

This hole was originally used by excavators (the people, not the machines).

The soot marks on the left are from when they snubbed their candles before climbing back up.

I like this man- (or woman-) shaped tunnel.

A mini waterfall and pond just inside the entrance.

...And that's when my camera's batteries died, so I switched to my phone. Boo!

There was a ledge covered in moss and sprinkled with all kinds of metal objects: saftey pins, coins, hair pins. It was behind a large piece of Plexiglass.

The superstition of this ledge says if you toss a piece of metal over the glass
and it lands in the moss without knocking anything else off,
you will have a year of good luck
(or "you will get married," said our tour guide).

If you toss it over and it falls off or knocks something else off,
you will have a year of bad luck (or "you will get divorced.")

Miss Kortney reached into her purse as I hissed,
"You. Better. Not. Get. Married!"
She threw a coin over, which landed on the floor.
She said, "My bad luck will be that I will get married!"

Moving on, this is a super-steep staircase leading right through a tunnel.

It was a great experience, with my only complaint being that it didn't last longer. I plan to go again, next time bringing the Dude with me.

As we walked out of the building, we spotted a large crate with a sign above a small hole which directed me to "Enter". So I did. Without reading the warning sign next to it which specified that this was actually for children (or very small people). This crate, it turned out, was made to simulate the conditions cavers faced when exploring new caves. The area in which I slid and belly-crawled was about 2'x2', with no room to turn over or get on my knees. But I made it through the many levels, with only a few bruises and splinters.

Finally, we explored the town of Manitou Springs, famous for its many springs which you can taste at various stations. If you are up for the challenge.

Which Kortney was.

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