Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2001 6:38 PM
Subject: Tom and Becky

Got up the next day and took two tours of Wind cave, so called because it was discovered by some guys over a hundred years ago who found a very small opening with a surprsingly strong wind blowing in and out of it.  As weather systems pass  through the area, the cave tries to equalize the air pressure inside with that outside, so air is usually rushing in or out of that opening depending on the weather.  The national park service runs a few tours, including one where you actually get to crawl through parts of the cave.  The one ranger I talked to assured me I would fit (you have to crawl through an opening 8"X24" before being allowed to go on the tour), but it sound like it would bring on a pretty good episode of claustrophobia, so  I took the regular tours.
The formation you see below is what makes the cave famous.  It is a rare formation, with wind cave having 95% of the worlds supply.  It is called Boxworks.
The caves were a very comfortable 53 degrees, so it was a nice break from the heat up above.  After the tours, I headed down through the town of Hot Springs to a campground with internet access, where I began two weeks of difficulty sending email.  It seems to be fixed now, but I don't know why.  From there I planned to head back up into Custer state park for some hiking and to see Mt. Rushmore over the next few days...