Back to Travel Back to Black Hills Home Back to Home
Bizzare is the only word that can describe some of the landscape (rockscape) down here.
Not for the first time, you almost get a feel of being consumed and ending up inside of a living thing.
Visitors look like ants crawling around an ant hill.

The rocks almost have a soft and fuzzy look, due to the crystals on their surfaces.
The rail keeps us from going straight down a vertical passage.
Having just crossed over a little chasm, we wait for our ranger guide.
Going down deeper, into the heart of the mountain. This vertical passage is provided with a stairwell.
We are about to enter an area of jumbled and broken rocks. many of these broken areas reveal cavities filled with multicolored crystals.
Left and Below:
Geodes within geodes, running like a great gash across the ceiling of the chamber. I couldn't even guess at all of the minerals which produce the variety of colors here.
Left and Below:
Incredibly delicate and intricate crystal structures sublimate directly onto the rock surface.
This is all rock; but the forms which the rock takes can make it seem liquid or plastic.
Twisting through fissures which sparkle as we go past. Sadly, the sparkle effect does not show up in photos. The surface portions of many of the cave walls down here are encrusted with tiny crystals, which catch the light like cats eyes, as we pass.
A close up of part of the rock wall. Notice the crystal encrusted surface of the rocks.
We begin our climb back to the main area of the cave.
A look back, from whence we came. This is a developed cave; but much of it remains in a fairly wild state. These are not the poured concrete floors of Carlsbad Cavern.
Except for portions of the floor, which was poured here by engineers, there is not a flat area or straight line in the whole place.
Here is another section of the cave that reminds me of a living thing - a sick living thing. No healthy tissue looks like this. From time to time, you getting the feeling of having been swallowed by a giant living creature.
A close up, of a part of the section pictured above. You can see where the rock flowed down, over the centuries.
At the top of the stairs, one of my fellow travelers notices something interesting. the cave is huge,. and without the guide, as well as the various paths, it would be easy to become hopelessly lost.
Heading across a bit of an abyss. In addition to be lost, it would be quite easy to become injured from falls here, were there no guide.
A variety of sources, and times, have created this explosion of color. Manganese, iron, quartz, and who knows what other materials, all add their own distinctive hue.
A fissure disappears down into even deeper portions of the cave. Perhaps one day it will be explored.
Back to Jewel Cave Forward to even more of Jewel Cave