After leaving Cedar City, we headed north again. We were facing the end of our trip and our excitement level was down a few notches. Husbeast found petroglyphs outside of Parawan, so we pulled in to take a look at what was left of those. The rocks had fallen in a lot of places so many of them were buried. A school bus full of kids showed up and that shortened our viewing time a little.
The land marks were fewer and farther between after that.
We drove through the small town that claims to be the hometown of world champion bronc riders and then found the ghost town site of Frisco. We stopped to stretch our legs and walk around there wondering at the remaining buildings and pits and took a look at the charcoal ovens.
We crossed a valley full of cows and laughed a little at the one who chose to cross the road as we were headed her way.
We reached Baker Nevada at about noon and pointed the truck toward the Lehman Caves. Naturally a tour reservation was required. I asked about the possibility of one of the three tours being available.
"We only have three spots left on the 1 o'clock tour. The only one available is the Palace Room."
I looked at the tour menu to see if it was worth it. That happened to be the longest tour, meaning we would get to see the most. I bought our tickets, thanked our luck one more time and we spent the next 40 minutes watching a film about Great Basin National Park.
There were 19 people in our group and we waited with the guide for those who were coming in with an appointment. Some of them gave us a look if surprise when we told them we had walked in and made our reservation. That had been the theme of our trip and we kept marveling at how well it continued to work out.
Our guide gave us the rundown of the rules of the tour, the condition of the trail and appointed someone to be at the back of the pack to make sure everyone came through. The goal of the trip was to not touch the walls, the stalactites and stalagmites or anything other that the hand rails that we would see. Before the 70s, guides would allow guests to break off a piece of the cave to take home with them, but they changed the rules after that for the sake of the cave.
We walked down a tunnel entrance to the first room of the cave. They have installed a lighting system that is 40 or so years old, that lights the rooms on the tour and makes it a lot less creepy in my opinion. But in that first room he asked if we would be okay if he turned the lights off so we could see how dark it would be. I liked that less than coming over the mountain in a blizzard. I couldn't hear Husbeast or Weebeast and I didn't dare move toward where I thought they might be. My eyes never could get comfortable and I was grateful when the lights came on again.
Weebeast was a sponge on that tour. He asked question after question, observed the rooms for each of the features our guide said would be there and led the group through most of the tour as we continued through each of the rooms for 90 minutes. He loved it! It was yet another feature of this planet that had us in complete awe. Trying to wrap our minds around the age of the features in the cave made me dizzy. The guide was asked what would happen if an earthquake were to hit. He told us that we wouldn't know it until we came up out of the cave. He said during his training he learned that the behaviors of the Earth underground during an earthquake are entirely different from what occurs above ground. It made sense when he finished his thought, as I looked around and the "mightytites" that had grown together and were said to be 1 million years old. Yeah. Think on that....
We had descended into the ground about 200 feet. The climb out was through a long tunnel and it was sloped to make the trip easier, but we could feel the climb as we headed for the door. The guide wrapped up our tour and we perused the gift shop one last time before we headed north. Weebeast was given a Cave Cadet badge for being a good student and leader of our group.
Out last stop that night was in Ely. We drove up to Ruth to look at the largest copper mine in the world, the town of Ruth that had been moved at one point for the expansion of the mine, and then back to Ely to stay at the Nevada Hotel. It was built in 1929 and the rooms still held the same mining town feel of the original building.
We were up early the next morning and on the road before the sun, to make the final leg of our journey home.
We were all a little hesitant to end our vacation because we had enjoyed the way it worked out, the things we had seen and our luck, above all else.
We made it home in time to tour the place and feed and arrived to new calves all over the place.
Could we pull that off again? Probably not with as much luck as we had faced on this trip.
But, I can tell you I am a new fan of the "let's just wing it" system. Now then, for our next trip...