Great Basin National Park - Part 2

Ely KOA, Ely, Nevada
September 1-3, 3,730 miles and 47 days into the trip.

Back to the Summer/Fall 2006 Travel Directory

Lehman Caves
The cave extends 1/4 mile into the limestone and marble that flanks the base of the Snake Range. We already toured Mammoth and Wind Caves, both of which are also National Parks.
So we decide to see what the difference would be, and were glad that we did take the tour. This is a smaller but interesting cave. One of the biggest differences is that in other caves you had to stand back behind barriers, but in this cave you could walk between and next to all of the formations. You were instructed to “do not touch” before the tour. Lehman Caves entrance is right behind the Great Basin National Park visitors center.
Great Basin was named a National Monument in 1922 and made a National Park in 1985.

In many places the hand rails are at knee height.
That helps you bend over to keep from scraping your head on the low ceiling.
The trail is dimly lit and its hard to see the ceiling.

The Parachute
This is a "shield." The Parachute has come to symbolize Lehman Caves.
Shields consist of two roughly circular plates fastened together like flattened clam shells, often with graceful stalactites and draperies hanging from their lower plate. Lehman Caves is most famous for its abundance of shields. It has more shields than any other cave in the US.

Two of the many interesting stalagmites "growing" from the floor.

The Signature Room.
While the cave was still privately owned, 1885-1922, it was explored by candle light. This room was very hard to get to, you had to crawl a long way on your stomach through a very narrow passage. So when someone did reach it they used the black smoke from a candle to write their name and date on the ceiling.

More interesting formations.

The "Seahorse"
Stalactites start as hollow straws or tubes and are caused by water seepage through the ceiling. As the water flow changes due to rain or snow melt, the shape of the stalactite changes. The seahorse shape was caused by the stalactite springing a leak in its side and new growth sideways and then in different ways.

The Seahorse close-up.

Back to the Summer/Fall 2006 Travel Directory