We had one more adventure to experience in Grand Basin National Park: A visit inside the Lehman Caves! We booked the Lodge Room tour, a 60 minute tour open to all ages ($10 Adults 16 and over, Kids (5-15) $5, Infants-Tots (0-4) Free). The Lodge Room Tour highlights the Gothic Palace, Music Room (this room was used as a Speakeasy during prohibition – a local favorite spot), and Lodge Room sections of Lehman Caves. There is also the 90-minute, Grand Palace tour available to adults and kids age 5 and over.
The tour takes you into the most “decorated” (for lack of a better term) cave I have ever been in. There are thousands of stalagmites and stalactites, with some pairs meeting in the middle. One of the most unique formation was the shield. Lehman Caves has more than 300 of this type of feature. Shields consist of two round plates with a thin crack between them and grow in all sorts of angles. They were my favorite!
During the tour, we learned about the geology and ecology of the cave. Additionally, the Ranger shared the history of the caves including the many theories of how the caves were originally found in 1885 and what those first visitors encountered. To further show the group what it was like for those first brave visitors, he lights a candle in a small lantern. The modern cave lights are turned off and the group is thrown into a darkness so profound it is indescribable. Those first visitors, with a candle for light, explored these caves. I don’t think I would have tried it!
Only one last thing to do before we got back on the road. Two kids had finished their Junior Ranger books and were ready to be sworn-in. The Ranger asks some additional questions of them about what they had learned, swore them in, then announced to the folks in the Visitor Center the two newest Junior Rangers of Great Basin National Park. The kids enjoyed the spattering of applause. A proud moment for all.
After all the excitement, we headed out, back to the valley floor to the little town of Baker. This was the quietest little town I have ever seen. There were no people around nor a store open. Luckily, the gas station is a 24-hour credit card only operation!
The rest of our day was spent making the journey from Eastern Nevada to Orem, Utah. This 4-hour drive was made up again with peaks and valleys in a high-desert like environment. I can say this is another of those not particularly interesting drives and all of us were excited to arrive in Orem, Utah. For the next few days, we would be using my mother-in-law’s as a home base. A welcome break from the 19′ trailer!