One Last South Dakota Adventure – Exploring the Jewel Cave

Will and I have tried our very best to make the most of this assignment. And I feel like we have done a pretty good job of checking things off of our South Dakota bucket list. There is a lot to do here. Granted a lot of it is what many would mark off as tourist attractions, but really those types of things are often what draws people to a specific area or city in the first place. Actually now that we have done all the things we’ve done here I’m kind of kicking myself for not having made a better effort getting out and seeing all the sights back home. That bucket list will have to be completed another time.

So anyway, we are down to the last few days in South Dakota. We head out of town on May 22 on our drive back to the South, where we’ll stay for two months before flying to Turkey. But before we left we had one last thing on our SD bucket list, and I decided to use my birthday to make it happen.

Last Saturday we and some of our friends loaded up and drove out to the Jewel Cave. 

The cave system in this area is the 3rd longest system in the world, which is pretty impressive, and worth experiencing! 

It’s 49 degrees in the caves year round so we all bundled up in jackets and sweatshirts. Unfortunately we arrive mere seconds before the tour started so we ended up missing the chance to change into the shoes we had brought for the 723 stairs we would be walking up and down. 

The caves were nothing short of spectacular. It’s kind of amazing how many different formations and colors there are hidden beneath us. 

The total tour was only a half mile long, but the ranger tour guide makes sure to stop at the various points of interest and point out interesting formations and give some history so the tour takes about an hour and twenty minutes.

This part of the tour was probably my favorite. The guide let us kind of look around for a minute, then he turned off all of the lights leaving us in absolute pitch black (not kidding, the darkest place I’ve ever been in in my life). 

Then he would illuminate different areas of the cave room highlighting different formations and things to see. 

Some of them were just breathtaking. 

And some looks positively alien. 

This one was called the bacon strip. Aptly named I would say 🙂

I’m so glad we went. I had never been in a cave before so to me it was an all new experience, and as my friend Laura said, other caves will probably seem small and pale in comparison to what I’ve seen now. It was the perfect last outing in the hills, and I’m so thankful we got to share it with the good friends we’ve made here. 

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