The trip began with a 45 minute bus
drive from the UW - Eau Claire campus to Crystal Cave.
When we got to Crystal Cave, we were introduced to Blaze
Cunningham, the tour guide and owner. The tour started
with a look at a sinkhole in the back yard of visitor's
center. The sink hole was formed in 1982 because the
limestone beneath had dissolved over time and could no
longer support the sediment above.
Once the group had
gotten in the visitor's center, we went to the basement
where the entrance to the cave was enclosed by a glass
entrance way. The reason for the glass entrance way is
to keep the humidity from the cave from warping the wood in
the basement. From the basement, we went about 15 feet
down to the first cavern and then another 15 feet to the
second cavern. This cavern was fairly large. The
cavern was about 12 high and about 25 feet across. The
collapsed sinkhole could be seen from this cavern.
From the second
cavern, we went into a number of different cavern's.
In one cavern we could see three different species of bats
hibernating for the winter months. In another cavern,
there were great examples of stalactites and stalagmites.
These features are formed from the dripping of water from
the ceiling, stalactites, and falling to the ground,
stalagmites. We saw a cavern called the Ballroom.
The Ballroom is a huge cavern that has held a seventy person
wedding in the past. In these lower caverns, the
temperature stays at about 48 degrees Fahrenheit year
The tour lasted the
entire afternoon and took us to 70 feet below the surface of
the earth. The formation of Crystal Cave is very
interesting and ongoing event. There are volunteers in
the cave during the spring and summer month's digging out
new passage ways and finding new caverns.