As I mentioned in my previous post, I hiked today. I promised pictures.
Believe it or not, this is the door to the cave. There are numerous doors like this throughout the three-cave system, there to prevent looters from making off with bits of geological history during off-hours. The original entrance to Hansen Cave (the first of the three) is above this door, and opens into the alcove behind this door where there is (you guessed it) another door.
If I ever need picture reference for a cool D&D door into some cave hideout, I have it.
This formation looks like some sort of hellish maw. If I were doing the lighting, I’d have used colored lights to emphasize the effect. Oh, and I’d add a tummy-rumbling sound generator down at the bottom of the pit.
This folded-ribbon-ish stalactite is five feet, six inches long and they estimate its weight (based on the assumption that it’s made of calcium carbonate) at 4,000 pounds. This makes it only about 1.3 Howards heavier than 5000 copies of Schlock Mercenary: Under New Management. I find that having a personal experience with moving two tons of stuff around makes for a handy reference when people start throwing numbers around.
The greenish color here is nickel, which means that somewhere along the way into this cave, the water seeped through a nickel deposit. You and I both know that if the color had been representative of gold deposits, this entire cave would long since be a great, big, open mine.
The reddish-brown color here is iron, again showing that the water seeping into the cave seeped over something other than just limestone.
I’m happy with the composition of this picture — the silhouetted stalactite does nice things to the backdrop of helicites and “soda straws.” It’s a pity I don’t have a good low-light setting for my camera, though. It’s too grainy to really be a “good” picture. For reference, the silhouetted stalactite is about two feet long.
And just so you know, on the hike down the hill I did, in fact, take time to stop and smell the flowers. These are called “Indian Paintbrush,” and I love to hike when they’re in bloom. Sometimes you find entire patches of hillside covered in ’em. This pair of stalks was at the top of one such patch.
TurboSchlock looks so content here. After leaving the cave we headed up and around the Alpine Loop, stopping here and there for pictures. If you ever get the chance to drive the Alpine Loop (SR 92, which runs between Provo Canyon and Sundance to American Fork Canyon and the caves), be sure to do it. It’s about a 45 minute drive, plus whatever time you take to stop and soak up the scenery. The loop begins and ends no more than 30 minutes from the freeway, so if you’re in Orem or Provo you can make the round trip in three hours, easy. But it’s only open from May through October. In the winter it’s under several feet of snow.
I’d like to thank my cousin wls_xenolith for suggesting a hike today. The exercise did me good, and the pictures I got, both with my camera and with my big head will serve me in good stead in my work for years to come.
And yeah, they’re pretty, too. I didn’t miss that.