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Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds long tunnel

Driving to Cave of the Mounds:

Living in Wisconsin anytime from December thru March I am ready for it to snow. However, I did not prepare for this. I have never driven to Cave of the Mounds before today.

My friend Denise, and her 10-year-old daughter Lily arrive ready to explore some caves. The three of us pile into my car, and we set off for an adventure.

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Missing a Turn:

Let me start by saying I missed a turn I was supposed to take. Then I make the conscious decision to keep going and let my navigator reroute me.

Little did I know that missing that one turn was going to make such a significant impact on the rest of the drive. It began snowing. I thought continuing in the direction I was heading was the best choice.

Have you ever been on the road and began to wonder if it was a road? I start to imagine I have somehow gotten on a path that no one maintains. The snow is building up. There are no tracks from other vehicles.

If we go into the ditch now, no one is around to help. My phone has no reception, and we are in the hilly middle of nowhere.

Cave of the Mounds 3

Can’t Turn Back Now:

Before I can give it much thought, we are trudging up a winding hill (the second of three such hills on this road) through slush and snow trying to keep moving forward. Pressing the peddle all the way to the floor we are SLOWLY climbing our way to the top. A part of me keeps wondering what I am going to do if the car can’t make it up the hill.

Although I know I shouldn’t express it out loud with Lily sitting in the backseat; I can’t contain it anymore. “I’m a little nervous,” I say, what I feel is something closer to a panic attack.

I keep glancing at my navigator to see how far until we arrive at the Cave of the Mounds. Telling myself, I can make it ten more miles, I can make it six more miles and so on. Until at last, we were down to the last two miles.

Triumphantly I announce how much better I feel “now if go into the ditch, we can walk the rest of the way.” Again I know this is something better kept to myself.

Cave of the Mounds water long

Cave of the Mounds:

We arrive at Cave of the Mounds; my blood pressure is beginning to come down. I’m feeling a little better as we make our way to the main building to pay for our cave tour tickets.

Having to drive back home after it has been snowing for another hour has my mind preoccupied. On the outside, I look calm. But on the inside, I am a bundle of nerves.

Tours start every hour, and we were lucky enough to arrive five minutes before the hour. Almost immediately after purchasing tickets we are ushered into a theater where we watch a 10-minute video explaining how the caves were formed and discovered.

Cave of the Mounds Stalactite cave

As we step into the cave, I begin to get excited. It is starting to sink in; we are below ground, we are in a cave. It is foreign and unique, something I have never seen before. I need to be in this moment and not let what might happen in the future ruin right now.

Awesome Cave at the Mounds

Oh, and by the way, I should mention that I have an issue with small places. Perhaps you are wondering why I would visit a cave if I am claustrophobic. Honest answer – I hadn’t considered it before I got here.

Cave of the Mounds long tunnel

Detour Ahead:

Nevertheless, I made it through most of the tour.

For total transparency purposes, as embarrassing as it is to admit, there was a small section of the cave I decided to skip. While Denise and Lily bravely marched on with the rest of the group, I had to detour around the lowest part of the cave.

I didn’t have anymore calm in me.

Even though my logical mind knows thousands of people tour the cave every year unscathed, I know my limit. Perhaps if the drive here didn’t already have me rattled, I might have been okay with the tight space.

Then the tour wraps up, and we leave the cave. I am relieved the snowing has stopped. I diligently follow the navigator’s directions and have no issues on the drive home.

All in all the trip was a success. I look forward to returning when the weather is warmer. At that time I hope to check out some of the hiking trails available at Cave of the Mounds.

For Top Hiking Locations Visit:
Hiking in Wisconsin

External Links:

Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark


When spending time outdoors always be respectful of nature, use common sense and please follow any posted rules.

Always give more than you take and leave no trace. 


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