• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Caving Narrative 1987 - March 19

Caver traversing the Calkwalk

Caver traversing the Calkwalk

NPS Photo

Participants:
Kevin Frasier, Greg Nepstad, Jim Nepstad, Darren Ressler

Duration of Trip:
6-1/2 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
200 feet

After getting back from last evening's trip, both Jim and I had eerily similar dreams that night. We both dreamed of climbing up, up, and up and finding a new entrance to Wind Cave from within the cave. While we knew that it was extremely unlikely that we would find an entrance we were both struck by the similarity of dreams and hoped it was a good omen for the trip ahead.

We entered the cave at 6:00 pm and quickly made our way from the Pearly Gates back to Gypsum Palace. We began by surveying through the 3-D Crawls which we had found on the previous trip. The crawls leading through this spot were as nasty tonight as they were last night. Squeezing through flat on our bellies-sharp knobs of rock ripping at our clothes-we surveyed through this area as quickly as possible. Having two extra people on this trip greatly improved our ability to survey. As Greg and Kevin went ahead to site the survey stations and take the tape measurements, I took the compass and clinometer sightings while Jim took all the notes and made the field sketches of the passageway we were moving through.

We continued to survey through the low room with false floors (which we named the Needle Nook) into the first fissure we had found last night. As Jim, Kevin and I surveyed, Greg went ahead to check some of the high leads in another fissure we had located directly behind one of the first ones we had found.

Greg had been gone for a short while when we began to hear him yelling and screaming from somewhere high above us. When he returned he told us of a ledge which he had crossed over and could see that the fissure passageway kept going on the far side. Since by now it was close to 10:00 PM we decided to stop surveying and check out some of the new area Greg had found.

We climbed 50 feet up the fissure to the ledge high above. Crossing over the ledge we continued down the fissure and then hung a sharp left through another fissure which intersected the main passage at a right angle. Coming to the end of this second fissure, we popped out into a smooth-walled passageway which took off both to the right and to the left. This passage we named the Cakewalk because it is easy walking passage with no breakdown. The Cakewalk appeared to be at least 200 feet long!

Jim suggested we name the whole new area Dreamland because of the way the trip had mirrored our dreams last night. This was agreed to and the new name was entered into the book. We were all very excited by our new discoveries but it was now close to 11:00 PM and we decided to head for home.

The small crawl we had found last night had broken through into a large area of new cave. We could still feel a strong breeze blowing through the Cakewalk so all indications are that there is a substantial amount of cave yet to be discovered in this area. Before tonight no one had ever walked in Dreamland but we knew we would be back soon to continue exploring in this new and exciting part of the cave.

Report by: Darren Ressler

Did You Know?

American bison on the Wind Cave National Park prairie

The American bison is the largest terrestrial mammal in North America. Male bison can weigh a ton and can run 35 miles per hour. Do not approach bison. They weigh more and can outrun you. More...