• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Cave Exploration - Early Exploration

Wind Cave Boxwork

Wind Cave Boxwork

NPS Photo

Candles and String

The first written record of a trip into Wind Cave was by Frank Herbert, a Black Hills pioneer who visited the cave in 1881. He was given the cave’s location by Charlie Crary, believed to be the first person to actually descend into the cave. In this early party were Hebert, Jesse Girelle, his wife, the two Cole girls, and Mayme Sprague.

 
Exploring the Cave

Exploring the Cave

NPS Photo

“I started down…”

I was supposed to lead, Herbert said. We had to jump down a hole that I could just about squeeze through, six or seven feet. I started down with my lantern. Had to crawl on hands and knees facing a terrible wind for about fifty feet, and then the main hole seemed to be going down at right angles and very steep, but it gave a good foothold.

 
Cabin on right located over Natural Entrance. Building on left constructed in 1890 at site of present entrance.

Cabin on right located over Natural Entrance. Building on left constructed in 1890 at site of present entrance.

NPS Photo Archive

“…got scared and went back.”

After exploring for a time, Herbert and Sprague began the long climb back toward the entrance: We started on back, found the string and followed it. Those on top helped to pull us up. They went down as far as where the main part turned down, but got scared and went back.

 
 
Devil's Lookout
Devil's Lookout
NPS Photo Archive

Did You Know?

Blue Flax

Blue Flax is often considered a subspecies of the Eurasian L. perenne which is very similar. The plant is named after Meriwether Lewis. More...