While staying near Benson, Arizona, I went to tour the Kartchner Caverns in Kartchner Caverns State Park. I was lucky enough to get on one of the last tours before the closed them due to COVID-19. I was impressed with how protective of the cave system the tour was. Everything from getting misted on the way in to keep the lint attached to our clothes, to multiple locked doors, and gutter systems along the path. No items (bags, cameras, cell phones, backpack carriers, purses, packs, bottled water, strollers, etc) are allowed into the cave while on tour. The cave has an average temperature of 72 F and 99% humidity. While I already new about Stalagmites and Stalactites, I also learned about formations called Bacon (also called flowstone) and Fried eggs (stalagmites with a small pool of water gathering on it’s top)
In November 1974, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts were exploring the limestone hills at the eastern base of the Whetstone Mountains. They were looking “for a cave no one had ever found” and found it. The two kept the cave a secret until February 1978 when they told the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner, about their awesome discovery. Since unprotected caves can be seriously damaged by unregulated use, they knew the cave had to be protected. Tenen and Tufts spent several years looking into the possibility of developing the cave themselves. Some members of the Kartchner family lived in Tucson and were very impressed with the development and operation of Catalina State Park by Arizona State Parks. They decided to approach State Parks to see if the agency was interested in acquiring this outstanding resource. Learn More
Since no photos or videos were allowed in the cave, here are a few photos I found on the web.