The temperature in the cave is about 40 degrees warmer than the air above, and as the Ranger explains that we should bring jackets down with us, he looks out the frosted window into the blowing snow. “Ah, nevermind,” he says, shrugging.
And so we go, through a door that looks more like a WWII bunker than the entrance to a cave, and we begin to descend…
slip sliding down slick rock, wet with drops of water and the smoothness of overuse
a quarter of a mile down, slipping through subterranean slot canyons and in between the tight squeezes of the center of the Earth
hundreds of thousands of years of architecture spreads out before us and crumbles below into the abyss, colored by limestone-clouded waters and the idle hands of exploration
and the drip drip drip of rivers of rock echo through the narrow alleys and the sinewy tendons of stone climb the walls of this urban underground of stalactite skyscrapers.
Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada near Route 50, is open all year round, with limited facilities in winter. Some tours of the Lehman Caves, actually one large limestone cavern first recorded by Absalom Lehman in 1885 and used as a playground ever since, are offered all year. Inquire at the visitor center for more information.
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