Wild Cat/Community Caves

IMG_9885IMG_9919IMG_9905I decided to join the Black Hills Photography Club. An endeavor that is already paying off. Last Sunday a group of six of us (Dan, Deb, Richard, Rachel, Frankie, and I)  headed North to Spearfish Canyon where we proceeded to climb the treacherously icy trail to “Wild Cat Caves” (also know as Community Caves). The hike was short but certainly not a walk in the park. Freshly fallen snow and a layer of ice made the already rocky, super steep, hike rather hairy. I think its safe to say that no one escaped with out at least one slip or slide both on the way up and certainly not on the way down. The temps were in the single digest but the climb up got our blood pumping and or body heat up so the lack of degrees didn’t really effect us. Once we reached the caves we were rewarded with breath taking ice spires which cascaded over a cavern which had been carved out by time and water that had made its way through as the porous limestone rock. If you listened closely you could hear the coo of some cave pigeons along with the gentle sounds of the drops of waters that managed to fall with out freezing. The entire scene was breathtaking but I was also fascinated by the intricate and diverse ice patterns.  Full disclosure, I had forgotten to charge up my camera battery after my Custer State Park excursion the day before and I was only able to squeak out a couple sots on the big camera before I had to switch to shooting with my phone. A mistake I don’t regret as sometimes I think we photographers get a little too caught up in “capturing” that we may sometimes forget to just “absorb”. Not having my camera available forced me to bare witness to the event differently, and I am grateful that I was able to just experience it and get to know everyone a little bit better.

We were able to explore for about an hour before tempting the fates once more and returning to the safety of level ground. I would say the decent was graceful, but that would be a lie.  It was a wonderful “First Official” Photography Club adventure for me and I look forward to many more with the group.

… So here’s to 2016, to trying new things, to new adventures, new sights to see and new friends. We’ve made it halfway through the first month and already have a pretty epic feat under our belts!


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