Friday, March 11, 2016

Going Undergound

     Some of the most fascinating features of the Red Hills, and Kansas, are underground. While Kansas is not famous for its caves, it does harbor over 700 with most of these occurring in the Red Hills. They are here because of a gypsum layer which dissolves over time to create the underground caverns and crevices. A number of interesting creatures live in these caves including several species of bats, porcupines, skunks, armadillos, insects, salamanders, frogs and an occasional snake. These caves are all on private land and that is one big reason that they remain relatively pristine. They are very fragile and simply could not withstand a lot of human use. However, an occasional visit by students interested in conservation is a very worthwhile intrusion. A recent visit to two special caves was enjoyed by some very sharp high schoolers and a couple of younger students as well. These amateur spelunkers learned about Triple Arches and Dancer's caves and their special features and wildlife.

The journey begins at Triple Arches Cave. 

A special feature of Triple Arches is  the "Kitchen Table."
    No one knows more about caves and bats in Kansas than Stan Roth. Stan has taught students of all ages for a half century. Here Stan crawls through the "Dinosaur Backbone" throat of Dancer's Cave a few year's ago.
The students made the long crawl through 
the "Dinosaur's Backbone" to get to the
 "Ledge of No Return" in Dancer's Cave.