Sunday, July 9, 2017

Day 65, Lewis and Clark Caverns SP, MT

We opted to spend a second day at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park and go on the cavern tour. We needed to switch to the neighboring campsite as the one we were in was reserved for tonight. Not a real problem as I needed to fill up the fresh water tank as well. Either I didn't fill it up all the way or we have a leak somewhere.

The tour was pretty good. I hadn't been on a cave tour since the Oregon Caves in the late '60s sometime. I've been to Carlsbad Caverns a couple of times but that was just wandering through and not a "tour". The ranger did a great job though his regular job as a middle school influenced some of his jokes.

Not a lot to comment about and many of my pictures didn't come out very well as flash wasn't allowed for the first part of the tour as it would disturb the bats plus it would alter the mood that the park service was going for. There was very little positive said about the man who discovered and first led tours of the cave due to his lack of conservation and care. For example, breaking of pieces for his guests to take home.

The tour began with a 3/4 mile hike up to the entrance of the cave. The guide said that it was sort of a "test". The If you had trouble with the hike up then maybe you may want to reconsider your ability to navigate the 600 steps and low clearances once you get inside. Part of the tour is a slide down and they consider that one way. No trying to climb back up the slide.

I would recommend the tour if you are ever in this part of south-western Montana. Plus, it's 50°F inside of the cave. Very refreshing compared to the 86°F on the outside.

It was partly cloudy for much of the day and late afternoon thunder (heavy cloud cover) meant that this was the first time that the solar wasn't able to recharge the batteries back to 100%. You can see this by looks my at the voltage curves and the array voltage never exceeded the battery voltage. I.e. The system was always in "BulkCharge" mode. This was verified on the Trimetric monitor which showed that the battery bank was at 88% capacity. 


  1. A slide as part of the cavern tour, yeah I guess there's no retreat at that point. I wonder if they've some kind of emergency ladder/gear nearby just in case.

    1. It was short enough to climb back up but it could be challenging for some people. At that spot, the passageway headroom was about 1 m so sliding through was the easiest way.