Crystal Lake Cave of Dubuque, Iowa

The Crystal Lake Cave of Dubuque, Iowa: obviously I didn’t know what to expect. I arrived imagining a lonely venture deep into the cave. I came to find one ticket would purchase a 45-minute guided group tour. Thinking I was prepared for spelunking in my polyester running shorts and tank top, I realized quickly the entirety of the tour would take place in the depths of a balmy, 52-degree cave. That’s the first fact-o-cave: despite a possible tundra-like scene above ground in late January or a humid settled air roasting under a high sun in mid-July, Crystal Lake Cave is constantly 52 degrees.

The cave was discovered in 1868 by lead miners. In the 1930’s a business-savvy Bernard Markus dug tunnels through the cave and paved walkways in order to charge for guided tours.

The cave is a spectacle of many different cave-hallmarks. First we were introduced to perhaps the most commonly known cave features: stalagmites and stalactites. Here’s a mnemonic device to help you remember: stalagmite has a “g” for ground up, while stalactite has a “c” for ceiling down. Eventually, many stalagmites and stalactites will touch and form a column – and by eventually, I mean millions and millions of years.

A stalagmite reaches up to a stalactite.

A stalagmite reaches up to a stalactite.

The tour includes a peek at different cave formations named for items they vaguely resemble, like the chandelier, the pipe organ, and the Titanic. My personal favorite formation was “Lot’s Wife Turned Into A Pillar Of Salt,” otherwise known as a very great exercise of creative freedom in naming a large stalagmite.

Standing under the chandelier.

Standing under the chandelier.

IMG_0867

The Titanic.

The Titanic.

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

One formation, “Coral Avenue,” featured a formation only found in three caves in the U.S., yet another impressive Iowa feat.
IMG_0176 IMG_0177

If you do make your way to Crystal Lake Cave I highly suggest some full-coverage shoes. As the cave is still 80% active, running water causes very damp floors (It also makes it the longest living cavern in Iowa). Also, I’d advise against tank tops, unless you’re blessed with that thick Minnesota skin.

IMG_0190 IMG_0181

Until next time, my Iowa miners of adventure!

Until next time, my Iowa miners of adventure!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Iowa Sports Network

Your #1 source for local athletic events

DSMVibe

we dig music

Tacopocalypse

Devastatingly Good Food!

INDIE MOINES

Requiescat in pace (2011 to 2014)

WITH LOVE FROM IOWA

I can make no apologies for following my heart

laserresources

Exceeding Expectations...Every Day

good+goodforyou... and sometimes... justplaingood...

cook what you love, and you'll love to cook

Des Moines Foodster

A food hipster? Essentially. What I'm cooking, food tips, Des Moines restaurant reviews, and local shout outs.

Life as a Curious Katie

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." - Albert Einstein

Meals with Margaret

From My Home to Yours

iowacouponing

Join my Facebook group- Iowa Couponing!

The Beginners Guide To Exploring Iowa

The Bus Blog -- Des Moines, Iowa

News and views for DART riders who can't get enough

%d bloggers like this: