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Today, Ranger Kim Wentland brought a group of high school students on a tour of Coronado Cave and she allowed myself and my co-intern Darren to tag along with the group. The hike up to the cave was pretty steep, although only half a mile, it felt much longer.
Getting down into the cave was pretty tricky because the entrance was very slippery. We had to hold on as we climbed our way down into the cave floor. The cave goes back about 600 feet and has a few truly massive rooms.
Ranger Wentland told us all about the formation of the cave, the stalactites hanging from the ceiling and the stalagmites climbing upwards from the floor, as well as the cave's historical significance. There are even some historical graffiti markings on the underside of some of the hanging rocks that were burned in by using a candle in the 1800's.
The cave floor and many of the surfaces within the cave are covered in a thick layer of dust. This is probably cause by the second opening in the back of the cave, which causes a cross breeze to come through and deposit sediment throughout the cave. Most caves are much damper than this one because they only have the one entrance. As dusty as this cave may be, there is still quite a bit of dripping happening within it. This tells us that the cave is alive and the rock formations will continue to grow.