A Labor Day. The end of summer. When you do that one last barbeque before covering the grill. When you take that one last road trip (gas prices not withstanding) before settling in for, um…well, actually Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This Labor Day I got to participate in that wonderful tradition, the road trip. You know, the one where you start driving at 5pm and keep going. Shift places every few hours. Lie like a pretzel in the back seat and try to get some sleep as the miles drift by. Race across the desert roads with cruise and control and the dawn from the wrong side.
They have magnificent clouds in Arizona. And apparently, September is the time of their monsoon. I didn’t know they had a monsoon, but they do. I’m mostly used to the Mojave desert, which isn’t nearly so green and fragrant with flowering in September.
Of the furniture we moved and the boxes we broke, I’ll not bore you with tales. The real find on this trip were the Kartchner Caves, about an hour out of Tuscon.
These are a set of Limestone Caves that are alive and well and growing. It’s some strange thing to go through two air locks and into 98% humidity and know that there is desert above. To feel the cave’s kiss as water drips from the ceiling to make formations with the slow progress of time.
These caves are huge and complex. Filled with ribbons of stone like caramel or bacon. Glittering crystalline rocks reaching toward one another. Pipe straws of stone and formations that grow up and around like fingers reaching from the stone.
Since there are baby bats in the Big Cavern (hey, I like bats, they eat bugs), we went on the Rotunda/Throne Room tour.
The Park has made a special effort to make sure that humans don’t interfere with the cave. You only walk on very specific paths. They ask you not to touch anything. And as I said airlocks.
And then you look and these stone visita’s where no one has ever walked. My particular favorite formation was Kubla Khan this giant formation that to me looked like some strange painted hill of stone trees one on top of the other in some strange glittering vertical forest.
Very enjoyable and well worth a visit. Word to the wise though, reservations are strongly encouraged and if you do try to walk in, go early. The walk in tickets go fast.