Cerro Rico

The whole reason I came to Potosi was to visit Cerro Rico. Up until this point, I had never visited a mine. I have visited plenty of caves and I was interested to see how an artificial underground system stacked up to a natural one. Also I was curious as to the conditions inside the mines and how the miners worked. I booked a tour in town after reading different reviews and walking into a few places. Our group was a small group of 3. A guy from California, and man from Moscow.  Cerro Rico Mining Tour The tour started by getting us dressed into this fashionable miner attire. It’s remarkable that I was not solicited looking this sexy. After we were dressed, we are taken to the miners market. It’s basically a street in Potosi that has different shops that sell things that miners use. It’s not a market…

Continue reading

Day 124 – Craters of the Moon National Monument Day 2

I woke up today and headed into the park for my backcountry permit. I requested a 3 day 2 night trip starting tomorrow. The reason I requested tomorrow instead of today is that I have zero clean clothing left. While there are times I don’t have access to a shower, I don’t want to be one of those flip your underwear inside out sort of guys. I filled up on water at the visitor center and then made some cous cous and hot coco in the parking lot. After having my fill, I headed into the park. I started off by checking out the north crater flow trial followed by the north crater trail. There were some more interesting lava ripples along this trial that I took note of. There was also this dead tree that had set root in this fissure. I hiked in about 2/3rds of the way…

Continue reading

Day 123 – Craters of the Moon National Monument

I woke up close to Craters of the Moon and took a 15 minute drive to the visitor center. There I spoke to one of the rangers on duty regarding backcountry travel. While that was not explicitly something I was planning to do, I figured I might as well experience hiking through the lava fields and camp inside the inactive volcano cones. At the visitor center I picked up a topographic map so that I could later decide the exact trajectory I wanted to take. This map by far is the oldest I have ever purchased and used. It was last revised in 1983 and was not laminated. Since it was raining heavily I decided to see a video at the visitor center before exploring the park. Afterwards I got back in my car and took loop road further into the park. I had planned to go into the caves…

Continue reading

Day 65 – Chapel in the Hills, Jewel Cave, Mammoth Archiological Site, & Bison at night

Today was a very busy day. In the morning I woke in my hosts home excited about going caving. Before leaving Johnny fed me breakfast and gave me the suggestion to visit Chapel in the hills, a replica of the Borgund stavkirke found in Laerdal, Norway. As if Johnny’s hospitality wasn’t enough he also gave me a signed copy of his book. Johnny is a photographer and has a studio in Rapid City. His book is a beautiful collection of images in the surrounding black hills. If you are interested in seeing pictures much better than mine you can see some here: http://www.johnnysundby.com/ Since I had a few hours to kill before going caving I headed towards the chapel. Johnny’s suggestion was spot on. The architecture was unlike anything I had seen before. Very different, very beautiful. It’s an example of a stave church, a type of architecture found in northwestern…

Continue reading

Day 61- Caving in Wind Cave National Park

Yesterday I had booked my caving tour for Wind Cave. It is a tour that takes you through the cave, not the sidewalk that has been created for most tourists but through the narrow passages of the cave. You are crawling, climbing, and worming your way through the chambers. This takes somewhere between 3-4 hrs depending on the groups speediness. Our group was closer to the 3. For those interested a full description of the tour can be found on the national park website: http://www.nps.gov/wica/planyourvisit/tour-caving.htm. The tour guide Scott did a great job of explaining things to us and point things out. This included remnants of the early explorers such as string, signatures with candle soot, and newspapers that were used to wrap up broken off cave features to take to the surface. It turns out Scott is a native new yorker working in the park for the summer and…

Continue reading