So as I told yesterday I had one more stop to make before heading to Grand Canyon. I was going deep in to the ground – more exactly 210 feet deep.
Grand Canyon Caverns are the largest dry caverns in the States and there is a a constant temperature of 56 degrees fahrenheit and a relative humidity close to nothing all year round.
The Caverns were first found in 1927 and the finder, Walter Peck, thought he’d stumbled upon a goldmine so he bought the property above the Caverns. Unfortunately there was no gold so he had to come up with a new plan since he’d just spent all his money buying the land. So he started the business “Dope on a rope” where he charged 25 cents for people to be tied to a rope and lowered down in to cavern.
This method was however changed in 1935 when the caverns got a new entrance and again in 1962 when the elevator was built.
The air in the caverns is very pure and contains more oxygen than normal air. This is due to the fact that the air actually comes from Grand Canyon through 60 miles of limestone caves. This was discovered in the 1950s when they ignited smoke flares in the caverns and waited on the surface for the airholes to show – no smoke came up. But two weeks later an employee at Grand Canyon National Park called and asked about the smoke seeping from the canyon walls.
It is actually possible to rent the caverns for the night and there is pretty much everything you could want downthere. Plus you get it all to yourself and are free to explore on your own.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis the caverns were appointed to be shelter in case of an emergency. Water and food rations enough for 2000 people to last for 14 days were put down there along with only three porta potties and one (1!) can opener. I think it was a good thing that it never had to be used! All the things can still be seen down there.
Next up was Grand Canyon which I will post about as soon as I have looked through the 250 photos I took..