Examine the photo and clues below to pinpoint this location. Choose right and you could win a $100 BSA Supply Group gift card.
Close your eyes. See that black darkness? This is what my view looks like as I stand deep beneath the Dakota landscape. Flip the switch on your flashlight, or follow a dimly lit dirt path, and you’ll see much more than dark emptiness in this remote cave.
When news of a crystal-encrusted chasm reached the ears of 1800s-era prospectors, people bid their hometowns farewell for a chance to strike it rich. And while they didn’t find gold within the cavernous walls of this formation, they discovered a phenomenon bearing a similar shimmer.
Unlike most, this cave wasn’t formed by an underground river. Instead, acid-rich groundwater carved out more than 150 miles of subterranean hollows, leaving behind calcium deposits on the cave’s inner surfaces. These frosty, crystal-like adornments still draw curious spelunkers today.
Explorers aren’t the only visitors. With year-round temps at 50 degrees, the caverns convert into a winter shelter—called a hibernaculum—for more than 1,000 hibernating bats, including the rare Townsend’s Big-Eared variety, escaping the frigid temperatures above.
A little creepy, yes. But it’s an otherworldly sight to see. Where Am I?
NEED AN EXTRA CLUE?
Our online readers have one advantage: An extra clue to help you zero-in on the answer!
Hint: This cave is the Dakotas' own Emerald City.
HOW TO WIN
Do you know the answer? Click here to enter
our "Where Am I?" reader contest. Submissions are limited to one answer (or entry) per person.
We’ll take all of the correct answers and select one entrant at random to receive a $100 gift card to the BSA’s Supply Group.
The deadline is Monday, April 23, 2012.
The winner and correct answer will be announced at blog.scoutingmagazine.org
shortly after the deadline.
Photograph by Thorsten Scheuermann