Day 3 . Wisconsin Caves and Climbing

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Road trip across America… daily reflections by Ema and Elle.

By Ema ~ We woke to a hot day and got our showers, and a quick snack, deciding to find a place to make a proper breakfast after we found a ranger and managed the campsite ordeal. As we drove out to find the office, the route lead us a different way to exit and we were soon on the road again. We decided rather than turning around we would write a letter of our experience and send in our payment due. We carried on to the Cave of the Mounds and went spelunking. It was Elle’s first time in a cave, and the first time since I was six years old that I have experienced something quite like this, while living in Montana. I don’t actually remember much of the Lewis and Clark caverns, so this place left me in awe. The textures and colors… beyond words. So powerful to really imagine you are standing among the ancients, still growing, created from what is left of an ancient underwater ocean, in the middle of Minnesota! We spent at least a couple hours underground exploring and reflecting with our cameras. Elle even did some mining for crystals and fossils. I found one fossil I thought looked like a unicorn horn. Outside there were amethyst crystals that looked like imprints of a giants feet.

We still needed to get some nourishment so we stopped at a state park near by called Natural Bridge State Park in Sauk County, Wisconsin. We made another hand cranked smoothie, as well had some rice crackers and goats cheese. After our meal we decided to hike up the hill to see the arch, which of course Elowyn had to get to the top of. She climbed first a little peak, then the tallest, and made her way to the inside of the arch on the way down. I stayed at the bottom to film her. She look like one of the trees from so far below.

From there we began seeking our camping on a mission to set up before dark. The first place we found was called Devils Lake and looked beautiful, a rock climbers paradise, but it was full. We we went to Mirror Lake near by upon their suggestion, and were lucky enough to get their last private spot. We set up camp, made a fire, cooked dinner, an experiment of mixed potatoes, yellow bell pepper, broccoli, and a soft goats cheese. I wrapped it in tin foil and onto the fire it went. A while later we were pleased to find it was delicious. Elle made s’mores from gluten free Smorables graham crackers, Dandies natural marshmallows, and organic chocolate. She was exhausted from the journey thus far and was ready for bed. I had to feed her the last few bites of her dinner just to know she had enough nourishment. I am now sitting by the fire writing this, appreciating the moment to slow down and not wake up to an alarm. I was going to actually write in my journal as I normally do, but when I went around the van to get a pencil something in the woods snorted, so I opted for my iPad and thus begins a digital written reflection of this adventure.

By Elle ~ Today we woke up and left and headed to the cave of mounds. When first there we started by looking around and then got our tickets for the 1:00 tour so we had about 15 minutes. We went to the restrooms and waited for 1:00. It was my first time in a cave so I was excited and of course thought every part of the cave was beautiful. The tour started with a short video about the caves and then into the cave we went. Sissy and I spent so long exploring, because there was so much. As different groups passed us we were still on the first part of the caves. I was mesmerized. It was like a fairy wonderland. We slowly moved on. We got some facts there was one spot where there was a giant fossil it was very big. It was bigger then sissy and she’s tall. After enjoying the cave for hours and hours we went because I was cold and hungry. We left but not before taking a moment to realize it was pouring so the crystal sand bag I was planning to do we had to do in the rain. I liked the crystals I got. That’s when we decided to get a bag of fossils, but we accidentally grabbed someone’s umbrella and went back to get another one and then did the the bag and saw we still had the umbrella so sissy went back while I stayed in the car. She took a long time but came back with yummy rock crystal candy for us along with a card of the fossils and rocks I got. We were off again when we found a cliff place and it was $3 for people 61 and up $13 for residents of Wisconsin and $16 for anyone else. I climbed to the to the top and enjoyed the view. We took some pictures and then I wanted to get to the top and did after some convincing. Sissy told me to hurry and I ran but somehow made it to the top I was really confused when sissy said how did you get to the top I didn’t even know I was up there. After some photos we looked for camping and camped and I went to sleep.

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