Daddy's Christmas Angel

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"W" is for Wind Cave National Park

Skyway Lake, stalactites, Wind Cave 
"Skyway Lake with Stalactites in Wind Cave" National Park Service Photo
Wind Cave National Park in western South Dakota is yet another National Park established by President Theodore Roosevelt. The park, designated in 1903, is the eighth in the system and the first cave park in the world. Located 10 miles north of Hot Springs, it has 140.47 miles of explored passageways with more discovered each year. The photographs on the National Park Service site are spectacular. It must be a cave explorer's dream place.

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. 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think it would be very cool to explore!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

It would be cool, Alex, but very unsettling for a claustrophobic person!

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

How creepily beautiful. I'd love to do a writing challenge in a place like that! No telling what kinda story would come out of me! Writer’s Mark

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Nancy, I think that photo is quite dramatic. Still, I wouldn't like to go down into the cave to find the location. Thanks for visiting.