The Biggest Hole in Arizona

We went to this place called Kartchner Caverns yesterday that was friggin amazing. It’s this cavern system that is one of the largest in the US.

It was controled pretty tightly conservation wise. We had to go through 3 airtight doors and a misting system before we entered to cavern proper. You couldn’t take anything with you except the clothes on your back.

The volunteer/ranger duo who were our guides were comical at points, but mostly at points where they didn’t intend. Claudia and I giggled when they were describing the landscape because Chuck (the silent Bob of the duo) waved his hands and arms half-heartedly and imprecisely to represent the lay of the land up to the cavern.

When we got to the chamber with “Kubla Khan”, which was this huge column that stretched 58′ in the air, they tooled us around to all of these little view points, but I figured they were saving something up (considering I spied the big feature rising behind us in the dim cave). I turned to Clauds and said they’re going to give us the sound and lights treatment for the finale. Sure as shit, they sat us down and these speakers crackled to life with some sort of Clannad or Enya tune while timed floodlights came on and off illuminating the column in a number of different ways. I chuckled imagining adding lasers, smoke machines, and flash pots to make the limestone column even more rock and roll. Too silly.

The reason the formation was called “Kubla Khan” was because this cavern was kept secret for 14 years while formal conservation plans could be made and put in place in order to safeguard the location. The codename for the cavern in those days was “Xanadu”, and in the Cooleridge poem “Kubla Khan” was the ruler of “Xanadu”. So there you go.

Published by bradfortier

Educator, Anthropologist, Entertainer who lives in Portland Oregon.

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