Saturday, May 01, 2010

Black Chasm Caverns

Oh, my goodness, was this place fun. Dominic has been studying soil, rocks and minerals in school and has been super fascinated by rocks and gems. He breaks rocks open any chance he gets (to the point that we've had to enforce some rules about it). When we told him about this place he didn't want to wait a week to go but I let him know that if we waited a week, we might be able to invite some of his friends to come along. Sure enough, we filled every seat in our car. The drive was just barely over an hour down a beautiful road (this time of year its so green and lush).

Penny didn't know that we had 2 more seats in our car that pop up in the back and was worried about where the other boys were going to sit. She thought she was going to have to share her seat.

One of the boys was prone to getting car sick so we watched Jimmy Neutron in the car the whole way there and back (not something we normally do on such a pretty drive, but the road was SO windy and I didn't want to clean up puke). I've never heard a group of boys laugh so hard about something they are watching. Thanks Nickelodeon.

Here are the boys at the original and only entrance to the cave. This cave was originally found by some explorers looking for diamonds and gold in the 1800's. None were found so they started charging a small sum of gold for people to come in and look at it. That lasted a while and then they abandoned the cave.
Here we are going to the second level down. The stairs got pretty steep and were wet from the rain coming through the cave, but it was the perfect amount of scary for the boys. Enough to keep them cautious but not enough to keep them from moving down.

This is looking waaaaaaaaaaay down and you can see a pool. The guide said the water down there is the most beautiful water ever, absolutely pristine and clear as glass. It was absolutely beautiful to see that green/blue colors in a cave of brown. The water itself was a good 80-90 feet deep. Those parts of the cave are not open to the public but the lines going down provide access to special groups and workers.

beautiful formations.
The boys. This was at the end of the boardwalk.
Our whole crew. The lady I bought the tickets from said that the 189 stairs has been known to induce labor several times. Me? Nada.... guess I'll have to try climbing Mt. Everest.

Penny was quite amazed at all the stuff in the cave and wasn't scared AT ALL. When we stepped inside the entrance she said "Oh, we're in the cave!" She would squeal with silliness everytime a drop of water fell on her head and was CHATTY CHATTY CHATTY. She kept making "raaaaaaaaawr" noises to scare the boys. Once we put her down and she lost her balance on the platform. Poor little girl thought she was going to fall off the platform and scared herself to death. She was in NO DANGER AT ALL but the thought that she thought she was, was enough to give her the biggest squeezes ever. Poor, sweet, Penny.

Looking at the ceiling with Daddy.

These helictites grow an inch every thousand years or so. They were amazing and grow in all directions, not just down. They only appear in 5% of caves in the world.
Do you see the dragon?

The end of the cave. Its seriously amazing what creations and beauty are here for us to enjoy here on Earth. I couldn't help but thank my Heavenly Father tonight in my prayers for this beautiful bit of creation that we got to see today.

Sean said if there would have been many more stairs he's not sure he could have made it carrying Penny. Don't know what all the hubbub was about. I was carrying an extra 35 pounds

Once we got out of the cave Penny said, "Thanks for carrying me Daddy."

The boys on their way back up. I had to tell them to slow down several times. Apparently its not as scary going up as it is going down.
The gift shop was AMAZING and they had rocks, gems, geodes, kits etc for very reasonable prices. They had some stones for thousands of dollars all the way down to $.98. The kids could have spend HOURS AND HOURS in there just looking at all the rocks. There was plenty to buy and each boy got a few things. Penny got her own little bag of polished stones and I was tempted to buy this pink helmet....but really what for? We put it back.

I bought a large bag of dirt filled with gems and the kids went outside and put it through the sluice box outside. THAT was a lot of fun for them and they each found a few gems in their dirt.

Both Dominic's searching for treasure:

I think my D found something.
Yogurt and a discussion of each others loots before we hit the road again.

We stopped for some *blegh* dinner after the caves. Penny likes us to pause and let her shirts sit on her head for a few minutes each time we take them off. She is the epitome of "Make Every Day Happy"

Black Chasm Caverns, thank you for a wonderful afternoon! We'll definitely be back to more caves around the area soon!

Fun Fact: did you know that one of the safest places to be during an earthquake is inside a cave? You wouldn't even feel a thing. Its like newtons bounce one ball towards the other four and the 3 in the middle stay still while the 4th one takes all the energy and bounces away....the cave is the 3 in the middle. Now, you just have to hope that the entrance doesn't get blocked in the process.


momhirt said...

whata great trip!

Ali said...

Super fun trip! We have got to take our kids there soon - thanks for sharing!

Eva Jane said...

I knew it! When I went spelunking in New Zealand our tour guide told us the same thing about being in a cave during an earthquake. I told that to Dad just a few weeks ago and he didn't believe me... good to know I wasn't making it up. Head for the caves Dad, you'll be safe there!! :)

Looks like a super fun trip. I wanna follow!!

annie said...

That is the coolest road trip! My kids would have been ALL over that... me, not so much due to my fear of confined spaces and caves, but that is just sooooo cool. Great photos.

Homemade Addictions said...

My family went there when I was like nine months pregnant with Myla. So much fun and great for the whole family.

cambridgeclan said...

Bryson had a great time and loves to play with his "diamonds". He and Andrew have incorperated them into lego play. Thank you for taking him!