Holy Cow were the Parks busy this summer! Great for the Park system, but a bit hard on the tourists. As part of our trip to South Dakota, Jane, Kristin and I took a couple of day trips to some of the Parks. One was Wind Cave National Park, just south of our base camp in the Black Hills.
We were able to secure a ticket for one of the guided tours of the cave, and after a 2 1/2 hour wait, our tour began outside, at the “vent” where Wind Cave was discovered. We had this sweet, young ranger, who leaded our tour. he was quite enjoyable, and very good at his job. After the the vent, we proceeded to “head down” into the cave. There were really cool formations and the ranger was great, but pretty immediately I realized I had a problem.
You may remember that I recently went to Carlsbad Caverns, where I was able to enjoy a tour of the cave on my own with lots of space around me due to social distancing.
At Wind Cave, you cannot go into the cave on your own, so you are part of a group of 40-50 people. Little did I know that my slight claustrophobia would kick in.
There were narrow passages, with people tight behind you and ahead of you (I’m starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it). Now don’t get me wrong, the cave was really cool, but most of the tour, I was focusing on NOT having a panic attack. I was really very glad when the cave tour was over. We were pretty bummed that it was too hot to be out in the wild lands of the park, which is a big part of this park too. Even though I had a bad experience in the cave, I would go back to check out all the other great aspects of this park.
Another day trip we took was to Devil’s Tower National Monument. It was only a 2 hour drive from our base camp, and we were able to enjoy the drive through Spearfish Canyon on the way. I was reminded how beautiful Wyoming is, and how much I love it. It was well worth the drive to see the Tower again.
What I learned about myself:
I guess I really am claustrophobic. Seriously, it was not fun, the feeling of barely being able to keep it together. What I proved, once again, is how powerful your mind is, both to freak you out and to talk you out of freaking out. I am pleased to say, that I was able to get through the tour without causing a scene, but it was not very enjoyable for me. I learned that I never need to do another cave tour.
Some thoughts for you:
Your mind is a terrible thing to waste. It is more powerful than you think (for both good and bad), use it wisely.