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We round one last corner, before entering the Frozen Niagara area. This is the most spectacular part of the cave, and comes the closest to being the stereotypical view of the world underground.

This portion of Mammoth,  is a wet cave, which is why it contains so many spectacular formations. It is out from under the rock shield overhang.

Droplets of water can be seen coming down from the ceiling. They have cut a huge depression in the middle of this chamber.

Most visitors chose to journey down the staircase, leading to the bottom of the Frozen Niagara. This marvelous example of flowstone is one of the most spectacular formations of this, or any other, cave.

Visitors wait, at the top of the steps. The view below is otherworldly.

Looking down the stairs, towards the landing, where the steps turn sharply to the left.

A look down, from the landing. Note that all eyes are looking up. Most of the view, from down here, is above.

A look up, towards the landing, from the bottom. Flowstone, draperies, and columns dominate the view from the bottom.

A look up the main stairs, at visitors making up their minds to come down. They don't know what they are missing, as not all formations may be seen from the top.

The group stops, on a path winding around the large shaft in the center  of the chamber. The guide here advises that there will be 98 steps, for those who wish to visit the bottom.

Looking a bit like an usher at a movie theater, our ranger guide stand at the top of the stairs, waiting for the group to catch up. Some of us will go down the stairs, while other will stay at the top, not wanting to venture down.

The stairs to the bottom, flanking the Frozen Niagara formation. This is the centerpiece, and the most impressive single formation in the park.

Yet another shot, of the Frozen Niagara, this time from nearly straight above. Parts of the formation seem to glow under the light, and may very well either be wet, or crystallized, to act as small reflectors.

A look through a "window" in the Frozen Niagara, to the visitors gathered below. The photo was taken about half way down the stairs.

A photograph of the ceiling, which appears to be entirely constructed of flowstone, and stalactites.

Visitors gawk, crane their necks upwards, and photograph. I am not making fun here, as I was doing the exact same thing.

A look down, in to the lower chambers, from above. The flowstone has nearly created a solid wall here; but there are still some open spaces.

This is the start of the underground river. Note the stairs carved into the landing. Boat trips had formerly originated here; but are no longer offered.

On the way out, we pass through a series of highly decorated chambers, and tunnels. The parts of the cave, which are not under the protective rock shield, have a completely different character than the rest of the system.

Extensive fields of stalactites hang down from the cave ceilings, and pass the textured cave walls. the path here winds through some very impressive formations.

The paths curve through and around the formations, almost giving the feel of being in a  stone forest. Visitors appear to be attempting to photograph every inch of the place.

The green color, in certain areas of this cave, is not natural. This is from algae growth, which is only made possible by the artificial light snow installed in the caves. This is a very big concern, of the Park Service, and they are testing different kinds of lights, and possible cleaning methods, to reverse the growth. This is only an issue in the wet areas of the cave. The majority of the system, which is dry, does not have this problem.

Cracks, and fissures, indicate the possibility of other caves, branching out into the system. These will probably never be explored, due to the impossibility of getting through the fissures, without damaging the cave.

As abruptly as they began, the formations start to end, towards the end of the section of wet cave, we begin to see flat ceilings, and one last bit of flowstone.

The cave narrows, and the ceiling comes down, towards the top of the cave. A ranger, and a park visitor look at the cave crickets which populate the ceiling.

The door, to the outside, is up this path, and through a short tunnel blasted into the rock. This was not a natural entrance.

Outside of the cave, we wait in a sheltered overhang for our buses to come, to take us back to the Visitor Center. The steel door, leading to the cave, is to the left of the photo.

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