Monday, August 03, 2009

Natural Bridge Caverns

Took the kids to see some caverns a few weeks back. Southern Texas used to be under a shallow sea. Limestone deposits built up over millions of years, and after the seas retreated a final time, rain water slowly started eroding the underground limestone creating many caves. In fact San Antonio's water comes from a huge underground aquifer of interconnected caves and porous rock called the Edward's aquifer.

As a consequence of all the limestone, there are many caves dotting south-central Texas. I figured the kids might enjoy learning about the some of the interesting geological features in our area, so Matthew and I read a bit about caves and watched some you-tube videos before heading out to see one.

Naturally I forgot to bring my camera, so Jonathan did the best he could with his phone. The formations stood still and were fairly easy to capture. Our children were less obliging, and out of the dozen or so pictures Jonathan took of them, this is the only one that (sort of) turned out. Alas.

Not bad for a phone, still I'm kicking myself for forgetting the good camera. The phone wasn't the only thing I forgot to bring. I thought I'd left the Isaac backpack in the car, but didn't check for sure until we arrived. No backpack. Jonathan and I had to take turns carrying the little butterball in our arms. The cave was only about 70 degrees, but with 100% humidity it felt very warm. Remembering how cool Carlsbad Caverns were when I was a kid, I had everyone bring jackets, but they were definitely NOT needed and remained stashed in the backpack.

The Natural Bridge Cavern is a "living" cave with formations still being created. It is very, very wet with water seeping from the roof and sides of the walls. Occasionally after heavy rains the water table raises and portions of the caverns are flooded necessitating detours in the tour. After 22 months into the worst drought in 100 years that wasn't a problem. Still, despite the drought, quite a bit of water dripped through the ceiling and crevices in the wall.

Melissa really seemed to enjoy herself and was cheerful the entire 3/4 of a mile through the caves. She also raised her hand high in the air when the guides asked for questions. Unfortunately her "questions" were usually nonsense statements or an excuse to chatter. "I have parents!" "I am four!" "You have a red shirt!" Matthew asked more thoughtful questions, but his interest petered out towards the very end. "My legs are tired! This cave is too long!" He was tired? Hah! Mom and Dad were hauling Isaac and the backpack and we were still going strong.

I'd really like to take them to some other caves in the area, guess we'll see...

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