Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 4; Wind Cave National Park

The morning after arriving in the Black Hills I headed about 18 miles south of Custer on US Route 385 to Wind Cave National Park.






This blog entry is the fourth in the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series.  The previous entry can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 3; the long road to the Black Hills

Given that all the Jewel Cave tours were full the previous day I made sure to show up early to the Wind Cave given they were also on a first-come/first-serve system.  Luckily it was a nice day out in the prairies south of the Black Hills with pleasant morning weather just off the side of US 385.





The Wind Cave was the first cavern based National Park anywhere in the world when it became the 7th U.S. National Park in 1903.  The Wind Cave system was first discovered by white settlers in 1881 and is currently the 6th longest known cave system at approximately 140 miles of explored passageways.  The Wind Cave is mostly known for having about 95% of the known calcite formations called boxwork.

The first two photos I'm to understand were the initial entrance used by settlers to enter the Wind Cave.  The third photo if I recall correctly was the first man-made entrance to the Wind Cave.










The modern Wind Cave entrance is a wide doorway that descends a large stairwell.





Out of all the cavern based National Parks (excluding National Monuments I haven't been to) the only one that doesn't require a tour is Carlsbad Caverns.  I suspect the boxwork formations are a likely target for theft and vandalism.







After leaving the Wind Cave I headed north on US 385 to South Dakota State Route 87 on the Needles Highway.  My path back north through the Black Hills was through Custer State Park.  The next entry on SD 87 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 5; South Dakota State Route 87 and the Needles Highway

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Old Stage Road; the "real" El Camino Real and predecessor route to US Route 101 on the San Juan Grade

This past month I stopped in San Juan Bautista to hike the Juan Bautista De Anza Trail on the closed Old Stage Road.  Old Stage Road as part of the Spanish El Camino Real to cross the Gabilan Range between San Juan Bautista and Salinas Valley.



Part 1; the history of El Camino Real and Old Stage Road

The Gabilan Range between what is now San Juan Bautista and Salinas Valley was first explored during the second Juan Bautista De Anza Expedition of Las Californias.  While the De Anza expedition likely crossed very close to the present alignment of Old Stage Route their exact path isn't clear.  Juan Bautista De Anza noted the following in his journal while passing near present day San Juan Bautista on March 24, 1776:

"In the valley we saw many antelopes and white grey geese.  In the same valley we found an arroyo...and then came to a village in which I counted about twenty tule huts.  But the only two people we saw were two Indians who came out to the road and presented us with thr…

Railroad Square Historic District, US Route 101, California State Route 12; Santa Rosa, California

This past November I visited the Railroad Square Historic District in Santa Rosa of Sonoma County, California.  Railroad Square is a historic corridor in downtown Santa Rosa which was created due to it being isolated due to the realignment of US Route 101.



Part 1; the history of Railroad Square and the highways of Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa is the County Seat and largest City in Sonoma County.  Santa Rosa was settled in 1833 in Alta California and was named after Saint Rose of Lima.  When California became an American State, Sonoma County was one of the original counties.  The original County Seat of Sonoma County was in Sonoma but it was soon moved to Santa Rosa by 1854.  In 1867 Santa Rosa became an incorporated City as it was one of the few major communities north of San Francisco Bay.

Railroad service arrived to Santa Rosa in 1870 by way of the San Francisco & Northern Pacific Railroad ("SF&NP").  The SF&NP began construction from Petaluma northward in 1869.  By 1…

Old US Route 101 in Salinas

This past June I visited much of what was the original alignment of US Route 101 within the City of Salinas.



Part 1; the history of US Route 101 in Salinas

Salinas is presently the largest City in Monterey County and is the County Seat.  Salinas lies within Salinas Valley and is located east of the namesake river.  Originally El Camino Real originally was routed through Salinas Valley on a course towards the Monterey Peninsula.  The route of El Camino Real was intended to solidify a path of travel between the Catholic Missions of Las Californias. In 1797 Mission San Juan Bautista was founded which led to a need for a spur of El Camino Real to be built from Salinas Valley over the Gabilan Range.  This spur of El Camino Real would become what is now Old Stage Road.  The split in the paths of El Camino Real roughly was located where the City of Salinas now sits. 

In 1804 Alta California was formed out of the larger Las Californias but the junction of El Camino Real in Salinas Valley …