Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kartchner Caverns

Because I could not take pics inside the cavern, I shot pics from within the museum....
Today's focus is on a wet and humid cave that is incredibly breathtaking to see and about an 1 and half south of Tucson. Unfortuneatly, you can't take pictures inside the large cavern so I had to be "creative" with my photo shoots. Thankfully there were lockers for a dollar to protect my things.  There's a lot to know before going, and that's one of them I should have researched before purchasing a new memory card!  I was a little upset at first but I got over it:)  It's important to note that this is an active cave with a colony of bats that come to raise their young every year.  Anywhere from 500-1500 bats have been recorded inside the cave and it's important to preserve this unique Sonoran treasure.  While Southern Arizona has many caves, this is one for everyone to go see.  So if you'd like to learn about caves and it's your first time, this would be the place to visit.  If you're an active adventure seeker, this is not the place to go as you will be bored. With ticket prices at over 20 bucks per adult, it's a good thing to know. I'll feature another cave for the adventurers next month.   Kartchner Cavern is wheelchair accessible and I even saw one of those helper dogs go inside the cave on our tour. I'm not sure how that works, but it happened.  Here are some tips for you if you decide to visit.  This was my 2nd time visiting.....
An artist created this piece after Kubla incredible 5 story column created by Mother Nature's hand over thousands of years
Reservations are important!  You can do this online or over the phone.  During the busy spring tourism season, it's important to plan ahead or you won't be able to see everything as tours get booked up quickly.  So plan ahead for this one.  It's also better to go when both rooms are open in the cavern which is around the beginning of the year. In spring, the bats return and the Big Room Tour is closed to give these mammals some privacy(closed from April 16th until October 14th).  Everything is regulated tightly for the preservation of this cave.  Here is the link for all things Kartchner Caverns including directions.....  They recommend you get there about 45-60 minutes early to watch a film and read up on caves in their museum.
Here are some random things that happened on our trip.  There was a flatulent man on our tour.  At first, I thought it was my imagination, but alas, happened several times.  It was kinda cool because it echoed in the cave.  I just decided to move ahead of the line:)  Our guide was informative and friendly.  I've discovered over the course of my blog studies that most guides were former teachers who left the profession.  I listened to other people talk about how wonderful it was to have a former teacher as a guide because she was very good at what she did.  "It's too bad because that's the kind of teacher you want your kids and grandkids to have.", someone said on the ride up to the cave's entrance.  It is too bad, but the state of education is getting worse and that's all I'm going to say on that matter.  I'll just let you, the reader, think about that issue and how it will affect your children down the road.  If something doesn't happen soon, you are going to find "sloppy seconds" taking over your child's education. Most of the excellent teachers are looking for work elsewhere these days. Um....oh yes...the cave:)   The cave is humid and warm so don't wear a jacket:)

The people who found Karchner Caverns back in 1974,Tenen and Tufts, said that they had stepped into the magical world of Xanadu and named the massive and central column Kubla Khan.  The structure measures 58 feet tall in the Throne Room. When I hear the word Xanadu, I think of Olivia Newton John and her roller skating escapades in that movie to her song, "Magic". Either way, it is something to see and won't disappoint...the cave that is.  The movie "Xanadu" is another story:)  See pic below....

Kubla Khan
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In Xanadu did Kublai Khan
A stately Pleasure-Dome decree,
Where Alph, the sacred river ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers was girdled ’round,
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But, oh! That deep, romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill, athwart a cedarn cover:
A savage place! As holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath the waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her Demon Lover!
And from this chasm with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this Earth in fast, thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced,
Amid whose swift, half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail;
And ‘midst these dancing rocks at once and ever,
It flung up momently the sacred river!
Five miles meandering with ever a mazy motion,
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean.
And ‘mid this tumult, Kublai heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the Dome of Pleasure
Floated midway on the waves,
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device:
A sunny Pleasure-Dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such deep delight ‘twould win me
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome within the air!
That sunny dome, those caves of ice,
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry: “Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle ’round him thrice,
And close your eyes in holy dread:
For he on honeydew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise!”


  1. Went to Kartchner Caverns in 2002...amazing. Your story of the flatulent guy...priceless, though glad I was not there! But it probably added humor for all.

    Did you get pics of the nicely-designed landscape and hummingbird gardens out front? I would return just to get more pics of those spaces. We went in the monsoon season, and it was like being in the foothills near me....humid, not too warm, and fragrant Chihuahuan Desert plants all over, like Mariola.

    The imagery you used without being able to take photos was perfect, and it is rather sci-fi in there!

    Teaching's mass exodus out...those on top have lost track of what this is all about. If I had kids, I would home school, knowing there are slim chances of getting teachers like you, or ex-teachers like a friend here.

  2. They must have changed the rules as I'm sure I took photos on the cave tour years ago. Love the movie Xanadu because I've loved Gene Kelly since I was a little girl. So right about teachers making good guides.

    Re-posting old ones? Thanks, cause I haven't read them all.


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