Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was: UP.

I spent all week looking up and took a variety of photos, but none of them compared to what I saw in Lehman Caves at Great Basin National Park. Happy National Park Week!

Ab Lehman discovered these caves in the 1800s and is responsible for introducing them to the public. They became protected as a National Monument in 1922.

Here is my submission:

cave10

As soon as I entered these caves, my heart started racing with excitement. I have never seen anything like this. I spend so much of my time seeking higher ground on the mountains, that I was blown away by the exquisite beauty that exists underground.

At the end of the tour, our guide had us place our palms on the walls of the cave while she simulated what an earthquake would feel like down here. It was like experiencing the pulse of the earth surge through your body and shake your very core. You feel completely helpless and at the mercy of the elements.

Back when Lehman still controlled these caves, adventurers would pay $1 (depending on the conversion calculator you use, this equates to anywhere from $30 to $100 today) for the privilege of entering. They were given one candle, and the assurance that if they didn’t emerge in 24 hours, a search party would be sent in to look for them.

There was no tunnel back then—people would rappel down and spend a lot of time dragging themselves through tight spaces and crawling on their hands and knees. If their candle went out, they were left in complete and inexplicable darkness. Today, the cave tour is easy to navigate and there is a wheelchair accessible option.

Here are the rest of photos we took in Lehman Caves:

 

Great Basin National Park in Nevada is the fourth least visited park in the country (the other least visited parks are in Alaska), but well worth the visit. The mountains are spectacular, and you are so secluded that it feels like you own the entire park.

Here are the rest of the photos we took at Great Basin:

Now go play in a National Park!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life

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