Today we began the morning by going to an early show of Ice Age 3- Continental Drift. It was funny, but not as good as the first one. It was really cool how Rachael still holds my hand while we watch movies... It brought back so many memories of when she was younger. After the movie we had lunch and packed up some magazines and snacks and headed to Timpanogos Cave Park. We spent a few hours sitting by the river reading, wading in the river, collecting rocks ( I have a large collection now), and just relaxing. There was a beautiful waterfall there and for about an hour I just sat on a rock and watched it. It's amazing how the water just flows and flows and doesn't "run out". It was a great time to catch up on all the Discovery Mag. issues that I hadn't had time to read. In the late afternoon we met with Russ's father who is a ranger at the park and began the hike up to the cave entrance. The hike wasn't too hard as it is paved, but it was very steep. We went up to 6,730 ft above sea level !
It was more difficult to breathe, but not as hard as in Peru. As we walked up the trail "Mac" told us how there had been 2 deaths last year from people falling off the edge of the trail. One was a 3 year old child who "wandered" over the edge. I was shocked... why even bring a 3 year old on this hike ? After about 1.5 hours we got to the cave entrance and got a personal tour of the caves. Inside the caves are rock formations that develop over hundreds and thousands of years from a chemical reaction between the minerals in the rock and water.
As you look at the pictures, remeber this is rock... It may appear soft and slimey, but it's not. The colors are created by the different minerals. Rock formations that form from drips on the ceiling like icles, are called Stalagtites... If the water just drips to the ground and accumulates up, it's called a Stalagmite... over years and years, if a stalagtite and stalagmite fuse together, that is called a column. There were so many beautiful structures in the cave. It was difficult to believe that they were formed by water, rock, and TIME... The other significant thing to say about the cave is that it is a constant, year-round 45 degrees ! As we went in wearing shorts, I was freezing by the time the 2 hour tour was over ! In the evening we packed the car to get ready to get back on the road. Tomorrow we head EAST !
Photos at: https://picasaweb.google.com/104423898538711271791/RaderRoadtrip2012July18TimpangosCave?authkey=Gv1sRgCPvT7cathfLp-QE