Feeling a sense of adventure once again, we went to check out Cave of the Winds this past Sunday. We did not know what to expect, except that one of the tours we bought was the Lantern Tour. The Lantern Tour is a tour through the cave holding only a metal bucket with a candle inside it for less than two hours in complete darkness. We were told it would be rugged terrain and to wear comfortable shoes. Little did I know that it was also a complete workout by walking up steep steps, bending down in 4 feet tall tunnels, squeezing through smaller tunnel walls and having our hearts literally pop out of our chests from being scared by the tour guide.
The ride up was a little hairy and I had a few white knuckle moments when driving to the cave. There are no barriers from the drop off cliffs, so my heart was pumping a little extra hard. After parking our car and proceeding to walk down to the main area to buy tickets in the gift store, we saw this sign. Bears? Rattlesnakes? Up here? Bears?? Where would I run too? I began to see myself being chased down the hill by a big brown bear. Until I saw this…
Once the tour began with a group of 10 or so, we were brought into a big area where there were lights lighting up the cave and ceiling. Our tour guide provided some information about the room and what to expect from the near 2 hour tour. Before we knew it, we were all walking in a fast pace up very steep stairs, gingerly walking down dirt trails and bending down for a few yards in a 4 foot tunnel. The first few minutes of walking were lit by lights and there were strategic lights lighting our way. However, soon we were all given a metal bucket and a candle to proceed into the dark cave. From here on, we were told, there was only one way out from where we were going and to stay close because the cave is enormous and it’s easy to get lost. We even were trained in “code words” to say to each other such as “bend down”, “steps” “duck”. This way of code talking came in handy as we were all walking in a single row since the pathways were incredibly small. It was all so Lord of the Ring! Anyways, our little lanterns were the only lights we would be seeing for the rest of the tour and it would be lighting our pathway (except of the occasional flashlight from the tour guide to point out things).
The said ladder above was pointed out to us as where a man was “pushed” to his death. He was one of the owner’s friends. He later died in the hospital, but the man claimed there was something in the cave that allegedly pushed him off the ladder and said the cave was haunted by something. Something or some things that did not want people exploring or working in the cave.
Wait, are those business cards inside this cave? Why? Legend has it that if you leave your business card in there, it will bring you good luck. I think. Don’t quote me on that. Yes, I did leave my business card in there. It is now forever inside that cave and if you know my first and last name, good luck finding it. It’s pretty easy to find if I go in there with you, but you’ll be there quite some time looking for it. I then realized, oops. I don’t work at my old job anymore from my business card. Back in the day, during the early tours, people would leave their business cards under the State initials written on the walls of the cave. This would help people to find potential business or employers under that particular State. That area of the cave was just immersed in complete darkness. At one point, were told to blow our candles out to experience complete darkness. I imagined what it would have been like to be a miner in this cave and not finding my way out. That is a very scary thought!
Here I am trying to squeeze through a small tunnel and taking it for the team to lead the group to our next trail. Just kidding. It’s not me. Just a demonstration of how tiny the tunnels actually were when the cave was discovered.
These tools were found in the cave to show us what the miners used back then.
It was around this time that my camera died, but not before I took this picture. We were told we would be able to see the ghost of the owner of the cave up in that hole.
If you go to Cave of the Winds, I highly recommend this particular tour “The Lantern Tour” because it is more rugged and adventurous than the other two tours. I won’t spoil what you will see or hear during the tour, but I guarantee you’ll have a fun and informative time. If you happen to come visit us in Colorado Springs, I’ll be more than happy to take this tour with you!