Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The Sequoia Underground: An Exploration of Crystal Cave
Entry into the cave is controlled by the famous spider-web gateway. I remember vividly seeing that gate when I visited the park for the first time as a child in the 1960s, and I remember the gate (and the underground bathrooms) the best.
There are nearly 300 known caverns in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (Boyden Cave, another developed cave, is just outside the park boundary). The caverns include Lilburn Cave, which at 28 miles of passageways is in the top twenty of the largest caves in the nation. Most of the wild caves are remote, and their locations are kept secret for obvious reasons. Clough Cave was known a century ago as a beautiful cave festooned with thousands of stalactites. When the cave was publicized, the speleothems started to disappear, and today Clough Cave is pretty much a featureless hole in the ground. Several vandals were caught by park rangers in 1997 stealing some of the last artifacts in the cave. What a crying shame.
In the meantime, if you ever visit Sequoia or Kings Canyon, be sure to give the cavern a look. You won't regret it!