The early morning start in Badlands, landed us at Mount Rushmore before breakfast. While we were moderately interested in seeing the light show, there wasn't much else for us to do in the area until 9pm. Insttead we made the drive to Wind Caves National Park.
I didn't take any photos while we were driving, but we somehow ended up on a scenic route. It was definitely not a road for budget trucks, but thankfully we made it through the tunnel with a little space to spare. When we arrived at Wind Caves the next available tour was about 40 minutes later. We took our time gathering layers and then half slept on the bench outdoors. Both of us were feeling a bit rundown, while it was a short day of driving - there was a lot to take in between Badlands & Mount Rushmore.
I was a bit hesitant for Wind Caves, when I visited Carlsbad Caverns I discovered that I didn't particularly enjoy being under the earth. I was also walking along unguided alone, but I kept having thoughts of earthquakes blocking the entrances and being stuck. (my imagination can get a bit out of control)
I have no claustrophobic fears. I just don't think its my time to be under the earth yet. Being on a guided tour helped ease me a bit. Because of an approaching storm, we were unable to visit the opening that allowed for people to discover that there were caves but our guide led told us the history of the caves and led us down.
We weren't in there very long before the power went out.
Our guide stopped and said something along the lines of if you have a cell phone or flash light, feel free to take it out. I was thankful I was in the middle of the tour and with Joe. It isn't possible for it to be any darker than it is in a cave with no power.
The lights did come back on within a minute and we continued on our way. A few minutes later the lights flickered twice which led to our ranger leaving us to call upstairs to the desk. She returned to inform us that we were perfectly safe, but there was a tornado watching ( or warning I can't recall) We were to continue our walk with the possibility of having to stall at the end if the storm hadn't cleared.
I managed to keep myself together, knowing that logically the cave was the safest place we could be in a tornado but really? The ranger was great and it was neat to hear about the local history of the land. The caves were much different than Carlsbad (more narrow - different types of formations) By the time we reached the end, we had been given the all clear to leave. Luckily no tornado stopped by and our truck was safely parked. At one point we thought about camping there, but the threats of storms changed our minds and we headed to Hot Springs for an evening of all you can eat Chinese buffet and you tube videos.