Monday, July 27, 2009

Kartchner Caverns II

I had so much trouble formatting the first post on Kartchner Caverns that I gave up on including all of the photos. That is the reason for this second post. (Why does formatting have to be so hard? I need a guru to walk me through the steps. I know how I want it to look, but Blog Spot has different ideas.)

The top photo shows soda straws. That line down the middle is not a flaw, but a formation. The bottom photo shows the immense size of the Big Room. (See the tiny man in red in the lower half of the photo). It is the the maternity home to a common colony of cave bats.

The following information on the Caverns is from Wikipedia.


The caverns were apparently unknown to man until 1974, when Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, two amateur spelunkers found a narrow crack in the bottom of a sinkhole, and followed the source of warm, moist air toward what ended up being more than 2½ miles of pristine cave passages. Hoping to protect the cave from vandalism, they kept the location a secret for fourteen years, deciding that the best way to preserve the cavern — which was near a freeway — was to develop it as a tour cave. After gaining the cooperation of the Kartchner Family and working with them for ten years, together they decided that the best way to achieve the goal of protection through development as a tour cave was to approach Arizona State Parks. Tufts and Tenen even blindfolded state parks officials before bringing them to the site.

In 1985, then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt secretly left the state capitol with two bodyguards and spent three hours crawling through the cave's tight passages to reach the cave's showcase chambers, including the Big Room, Echo Passage and Cul-de-sac Passage.

The discovery of the cave was finally made public in 1988 when the landowners sold the area to the state for development as a park and show cavern.

The state spent $28 million on a high-tech system of air-lock doors, misting machines and other gadgetry designed to preserve the cave. Kartchner Caverns opened to the public in 1999.


If you missed 'Kartchner Caverns I' please scroll down for the previous post.

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Friko said...

These places are fascinating; I have been inside similar caves in Europe. In spite of being spellbound I am also always a bit scared, I don't like going underground!

Darlene said...

*Friko - I know what you mean. I really don't like going under the water in a tunnel (as in the BART in S. F.). It can be claustrophobic.

Nancy said...


Did you go to the movies on Saturday afternoon when you were a kid?

I did and for 10 cents we saw a movie, 2 cartoons, a cowboy serial, a Movietone News and either a March of Time or a John Nesbitt's Passing Parade.

The, in 1938 calamity struck! The State of pennsylvania put a 10% tax on the movie so now it cost 11 cents and was almost beyond financial reach. But all was not lost;we just had to find one more Ginger Ale or Pepsi bottle to return and we had the whole 11 cents.....

I bring this up because you wondered about John Nesbitt's Passing Parade...

Again,I LOVED the cave pictures. They were beautiful and something I have never seen.

Looking to the Stars said...

Wow, this is so cool! Thanks for sharing. Sorry about the trouble posting the pics. they always look great when you post them :)

Darlene said...

*Nancy - Glad you enjoyed the pics. I sent an e-mail on the rest of your comment.

*Looking ----. The trouble was, when I tried to add one the first one would disappear, or I was unable to get them where I wanted them. Arrrgh!

Vagabonde said...

What a story, Darlene, and how interesting. It’s hard to believe that they could keep the cavern location hidden to anyone for 14 years. I am sure the people of Arizona are very appreciative.

Sylvia K said...

Your photos are terrific! I've only been to Carlsbad Caverns and that is pretty awesome or at least it was when I was a little girl. But I never forgot our trip there and the feeling I had being underground. I wasn't spooky then, I tend to be a little more claustrophobic these days! Thanks for the tour, what a beautiful place!

Lydia said...

I would love to see those caverns. Can't imagine the awe and jubilation upon first discovering them. I hope Arizona always takes the same good care of them as it seems it is now.

Tabor said...

It has taken me a while to catch up on the past posts. What lovely young ladies. They seem so happy to be with you. My grandson was touring a cave recently and his parents forgot to take him to the bathroom before and so mom had to run the last 1/4 mile to get him to the restroom!

Darlene said...

*Vagabonde - Yes, we are. A developer planned to build a huge resort above the caverns. It would have ruined the caverns and the city of Benson, needing revenue, was about to grant the license but was, fortunately, stopped.

*Sylvia - I visited Carlsbad many years ago. Kartchner, at this point, is much smaller.

*Lydia - Arizona realizes the value to the tourist industry and will, I'm sure, continue to develop them and care for them.

*Tabor - Nice to have you back. That must have been terrible as I am sure she had to run uphill.