Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 4; Wind Cave National Park

The morning after arriving in the Black Hills I headed about 18 miles south of Custer on US Route 385 to Wind Cave National Park.






This blog entry is the fourth in the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series.  The previous entry can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 3; the long road to the Black Hills

Given that all the Jewel Cave tours were full the previous day I made sure to show up early to the Wind Cave given they were also on a first-come/first-serve system.  Luckily it was a nice day out in the prairies south of the Black Hills with pleasant morning weather just off the side of US 385.





The Wind Cave was the first cavern based National Park anywhere in the world when it became the 7th U.S. National Park in 1903.  The Wind Cave system was first discovered by white settlers in 1881 and is currently the 6th longest known cave system at approximately 140 miles of explored passageways.  The Wind Cave is mostly known for having about 95% of the known calcite formations called boxwork.

The first two photos I'm to understand were the initial entrance used by settlers to enter the Wind Cave.  The third photo if I recall correctly was the first man-made entrance to the Wind Cave.










The modern Wind Cave entrance is a wide doorway that descends a large stairwell.





Out of all the cavern based National Parks (excluding National Monuments I haven't been to) the only one that doesn't require a tour is Carlsbad Caverns.  I suspect the boxwork formations are a likely target for theft and vandalism.







After leaving the Wind Cave I headed north on US 385 to South Dakota State Route 87 on the Needles Highway.  My path back north through the Black Hills was through Custer State Park.  The next entry on SD 87 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 5; South Dakota State Route 87 and the Needles Highway

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Charlotte Court House

This sleepy little rural town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked.  Located miles from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court House in many ways is easily forgotten.  However, this tiny town of slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.

In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.  The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and the first in public for Randolph.  Randolph would go on to serve in the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia.  Henry, who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte County at the time of the debate, died three months later.

Charlotte Court House is not the original name of the town.  Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph debate), Smithfield, and finally…

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor traditionally traversed by the Ridge Route.  This article is dedicated to one of the most legendary American Roadways that was ever built.


The Ridge Route is a 44 mile section of highway which was completed in 1915.  The Ridge Route originally stretched from Castaic Junction north over Liebre Summit and Tejon Pass to the tiny community of Grapevine.  In spite of a roadway that once utilized nearly 700 curves the Ridge Route is generally considered far ahead of it's time and one of the first modern highways constructed for automotive use.  The following is a history of transportation along the Ridge Route corridor dating back …

Adventure US Route 299; California State Route 299 from US 101 east to Interstate 5

Back in 2016 I was seeking a way back from the Northern California/Southern Oregon Coast back to the Central Valley that I had not taken previously.  That being the case I decided on California State Route 299 from US 101 in Arcata eastward approximately 135 miles to Interstate 5 in Redding.


CA 299 is best known for once being signed as US Route 299 from US 101 east to US 395.  US 299 was first signed in 1934 according USends.com

USends.com on US 299

Interestingly all of US 299 was originally to be signed as part of CA 44 in 1934 according to CAhighways.org.  The current routing of CA 44 was originally signed as CA 440 which swapped signage once US 299 was approved in 1935.

CAhighways.org on US 299/CA 299

CAhighways.org on CA 440

US 299 first appears on the 1936-37 edition of the California State Highway Map.

1936-37 State Highway Map

US 299 was just slightly under 300 miles and thus was assigned CA 299 during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  The newly created CA 299 was extended e…