Sunday, December 29, 2019

Boondocking at the Colossal Cave Mountain Park, AZ

Friday, December 27

Another weather front moving through southern Arizona.

Woke to rain and a multitude of puddles in the WMA parking lot I'd overnighted in.  Got setup to move pretty quickly as I'd not unloaded either motorcycle last night.

Drove up to I-10 and experienced snowy driving conditions (luckily it wasn't sticking on the roads) until I got west of Benson.  Then it was just rain, on and off, throughout the rest of the day.

Found Martha's co-worker's parent's home in Vail, AZ and spent a few minutes chatting with them after picking up the box Martha had sent to me.

They mentioned that the Colossal Cave tour, which was nearby, was worth the entry fee of $18 so after saying my goodbyes, I headed over there to see how their campground was set up.

After a couple of bad turns (signage is minimal, turn left towards La Selvilla for the RV spots), I finally found the RV campsite with it's five spots.  All the spots were empty so I picked #2 since it seemed the most level.

During a brief period, I got geared up and rode Yagi, my Yamaha TW200 around the "rough roads" in the area.  There's signs stating "rough roads", basically formerly paved roads which have been allowed to decay into potholed pavement.  Not too bad.

Rain returned and it became cold and miserable while riding so I returned to camp and settled in for the evening.  Even with the cellular booster, I can't really do much surfing and definitely not able to upload pictures so far.  Maybe it'll be better when the weather clears sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, December 28

I arrived at the museum shortly after 8:25 AM after breakfast in the URRV.  I was placed into the 9AM
cave tour.  When time came, the guide (Jordan) came out and I was the only one in the tour group!  Nice.

 The original cave opening was a hole above the bar above 
the Colossal Cave sign.

View of distant peaks from the tour staging area next to gift shop

Lighting conditions were pretty dim except where lights had been strategically placed to showcase a particular section or rock formation.
 Note the broken off pieces of stalacite, caused
by uncaring cave explorers back in the day

 The Fang, the cavern's largest stalactite

 Looking at underside of "drape" stalactites
the spiny objects formed, in some cases defying
gravity, scientist still unsure how

 Do you see the head of a bird?

 The Sinkhole, aka Frank's shortcut....apparently Frank,
the cave's original discoverer after the native american tribe
which were the original finders of the cave; would rappel
down from here down to his working area.

 You can, as many other couples have before, get married in 
what is called "The Altar Room"

 Old mining hat which used chemicals to produce light

 Frank's Living Room, where he'd sleep during his
multi-day stays in the cave

 The Silent Waterfall

Some scenes outside the cave area:

 The cave entrance building and gift shop

 From an overlook point near the gift shop, can you see Uma?

 Memorial statue for the CCC workers who put in the infrastructure
to accomodate tourists easier, before you had to crawl on top of 
rocks covered in Bat Guano.

After the cave tour, I pootled over to the Posta Quemada (Burnt Post) Ranch where one can rent a horse to explore the trails I think.  There's also a museum but I didn't check it out.

There was an interesting item near the old railroad caboose though, a railroad telephone booth!  I'd not heard of them before, but apparently:

 I've my doubts the railroad put the phone booths inside concrete shells
like the one above; more likely its to preserve its contents

You can rent trail horses at the Posta Quemada Ranch


About four miles from the campsite where I rode with the laptop to
upload the above pics

Adding three pics from when I took Yagi over to the Saguaro National Park (Rincon Mountain District) in the afternoon.  Rain/overcast skies resulted in just one pic within the park's scenic loop:

Better pic, due to temporary sunlight shining through the clouds, outside the park entrance:


Oz said...

I love caverns. That one looks interesting. The 1-1 tour had to be great.

SonjaM said...

We have many caves like this in Germany, they are always impressive. When you think about how long it takes for a stalagmite or stalagtite to grow...

redlegsrides said...

Oz, I’m not much into caves per se, but this one was pretty neat....the fact it keeps an average temperature of 70 degrees year round is pretty cool.....

redlegsrides said...

Thanks SonjaM, and then someone comes along and breaks off a piece for a souvenir....

RichardM said...

Cool photos of the cave. If you want to see a pristine, un-touched cave go to Kartchner Caverns south of Benson.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks RichardM, we’ll see what route I take back to Colorado when the time comes.....

redlegsrides said...

added three pics of Yagi