Home Is Where We Park It: Texas 281 RV Park, Bulverde, Texas
July 25, 2021
Temperature 89 Degrees
Decision Time – Houston or Not
Cave With No Name
Last night I decided to take a couple of Tylenol PM and really get a good nights sleep. Well, they worked way too well! I slept to a little past 7 am this morning and when I did get up I felt like I had been drugged. I am here to say that it took quite a bit of caffeine to get myself going this morning. Never again.
I am also having a hard time adjusting to the high humidity in these parts. Yesterday it took me over twice as long to set up once we got here. I kept having to stop, rest, hydrate and then go again. I’ll take the high desert heat over these conditions any day.
Houston or not? We sat and talked about it and finally decided to avoid Houston all together. It is now the epicenter of the COVID 19 crisis in Texas so the decision was an easy one. We had planned to visit the Houston Space Center while we there but the thought of being shoulder to shoulder with people from all over was not an appealing one. This is the way it has been all this year. Attractions closed or in the middle of a state with COVID 19 out of control. Definitely, a world turned upside down.
Enough of that. Let’s go back to yesterday and my tour of Cave Without A Name.
This is the gift shop and the place to purchase tickets for the tour.
A picture of the grounds in front of the office. I found the heart most interesting.
This is the original entrance to the cave. The cave was discovered in 1927, when a goat fell through a hole into the cave. We were told that a small boy was lowered down, through the hole to rescue the goat. Once they were both pulled out a boulder was rolled over the hole and no further though was given to the cave below.
The cave went largely unnoticed again until the 1920s during the era of Prohibition when a small moonshine distillery was installed in the uppermost cavern. With the end of Prohibition the still was dismantled and again the cave was forgotten.
It again fell into obscurity until three local farm children rediscovered the sinkhole in 1935. These children are believed to be the first who actually entered the main chambers of the cave. The story we were told is that they tied a rope to the stalagmite in the first picture, entered into the narrow entrance in the second picture, and finally emerged out the hole in the third picture. Moreover, they did this with only a flashlight for illumination!
And let me tell you, with no light it gets really, really dark in the cave. At one point during the tour they had us all sit down and then they turned off all the lights. They informed us that if you stayed down in the cave completely in the dark for three months or more you would go completely blind.
In 1939, using dynamite – the holes above are evidence of where the dynamite was loaded – a public entrance was opened up into the cave and the cave was now open to the general public.
How did it get its name? In 1940 a state wide contest was held to name the cave. A young boy suggested that the cave was too beautiful to have a name, and so the cave became the cave with no name. The young boy, for his suggestion, received a prize of $250.
The beginning of your descent into the cave.
You can’t say there wasn’t a warning – Know your limit you will climb 8 stories to exit. The closer you got to the surface the tougher it became.
Going down. But remember, what goes down also must come back up!
Down you go into a underground world of natural beauty. Estimates of the cave’s age vary from 100 million up to 400 million years, when the land was covered by a shallow sea that carved out large underground cavities. The temperature in the cavern is a constant 66° F, and the cavern floor is approximately 100 feet below the surface. Our guide informed us that there are over seven thousand caves in Texas but only seven have been opened up to the general public.
This is the first of several chambers that you come to. This room is often used for birthday parties or wedding receptions. How neat it would be to do a vow renewal down here. Of course there is the problem of getting everyone down, and then back up.
As we moved deeper into the room several things were pointed out to us. Inasmuch as this is still an active and living cave you’ll often find small stalagmites in the process of growing. A stalagmite we were told grows from the floor up. As water drips from above and deposits new minerals on what is already there it continues to get taller and taller. This one will reach full height, oh in about another thousand or so years!
This is a stalagmite that has almost reached the ceiling. It has just an itty bitty little bit to go but it will take at least another 80 years for it to make it that far.
We were informed that this type of stalactite is called cave bacon. Our guide told us that a stalactite is an icicle-shaped formation that hangs from the ceiling of a cave and is produced by precipitation of minerals from water dripping through the cave ceiling. The minerals in the water are what give it a unique color.
At another location in the cave we discovered other bacon strips which are considered some of the largest in the United States.
Our guide asked us When you look at this what do you see? I answered an ice cream cone with vanilla ice cream!
Yet another time she asked What do you see sitting on the ledge? We all answered We see an owl.
Moving deeper into the cave we were shown other unique features of the cave including the 50-foot-long set of rimstone dams fed by a natural spring.
This is where the water begins, with this natural spring. Our guide asked us How deep does this spring look to you? Most of us answered Oh maybe two feet at most. Guess what? A couple of years ago people had filled the pool with pennies and so one of the guides volunteered to jump in and clean them out. That’s when they discovered that it really was over four feet deep! Surprise, surprise.
Moving deeper still into the cave.
We come now to what has been labeled the Queen’s Throne Room.
This is what is referred to as The Queen’s Throne with the Queen in the center surrounded by her subjects. Oh come on now, use your imagination.
Due to the great natural acoustics created by 3 large solution domes on the ceiling of the large Queen’s Throne room, the cave is host to 8-12 concerts – usually vocal or native American flute – each year, with attendances of up to 200 people.
More pictures as we made our way through the cave. What a fascinating and beautiful underground world. Everywhere you looked there were so many unique formations to behold.
End of the tour.
The tour ends at an underground river that spelunkers have explored and mapped up to 3 ½ miles upstream. However, they have yet to find the beginning and end of the river.
Currently cavers have mapped out over 2.7 miles of this cave, making it the 7th longest cave in Texas. The cave is currently being remapped by a team of researchers from Texas State University. There is still, however, more of the cave waiting to be explored. As an example, these are two entrances to nobody knows what. However, because of the delicate nature of the formations around the entrances they have yet to send anyone through them to whatever waits on the other side.
I hope you enjoyed our tour through The Cave With No Name. It is definitely off the beaten track but if you ever are passing through Boerne, Texas and have an hour or two to spare do yourself a favor and take the tour.
Another day on The Road of Retirement has drawn to a close. We’re still waiting for the rain that they stated would be here just after noon. Now, they’re saying it will start after midnight and continue all day tomorrow. I’ll believe it when it actually begins to rain. Once again we’ve made a change to our travel plans due to COVID 19. Even now, we’re here because we wanted to tour The Alamo but it is closed like so many other attractions. This year has definitely been turned on its head because of this deadly virus. We can’t complain, though, for it has only been an inconvenience to us but for others a real pain. We just have to remember that sometimes the situation is the boss and you just have to go with the flow.
Thanks for stopping by today. We always appreciate your company and your comments. Stay safe, wash your hands and wear your mask. Till tomorrow.
These are the voyages of Elvira and her two intrepid travelers. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have never been before.
See you on down the road!