|"Skyway Lake with Stalactites in Wind Cave" National Park Service Photo|
The cave was considered sacred by the Lakota who lived in the Black Hills. They believed it was the place where they had first emerged from the underworld. In 1881, Jesse and Tom Bingham were attracted to the cave by the whistling wind sound. Reportedly, the wind was so forceful, it blew off Tom's hat; then days later, when Jesse returned, his hat was sucked into the cave. According to the National Park site, "the movement of the wind is related to the difference in atmospheric pressure between the cave and the surface."
Today, above the cave, bison, prairie dogs, and elk roam among the prairie grasses. While the cave system sounds intriguing, I am too claustrophobic to add Wind Cave National Park to my bucket list. However, Theodore Roosevelt is fast becoming my favorite American President.