On my Inks Lake several signs for Longhorn Caverns piqued my interest. By happy serendipity I arrived just in time for the last tour of the day.
All the work to make Longhorn Caverns into this fantastic state park was done by the CCC crews in the 1930s. They worked for 8 years cleaning 6-8 feet of debris, rock, and dirt from this mile long cave that was created by an underground river. Even today in heavy rains (think 2003) sections of the cave will fill up with water.
The CCC also built this gorgeous visitors center and a fabulous archway with stairs down to an easy entrance to the cave.
A circular room in the Center is created by this unusual 'dry wall' techique.
Several natural entrances to the cave were used traditionally by Indians and according to legend....outlaws! (umm, sounds like Joaquin Murrietta in the Mother Lode). One story is told of a young woman held hostage by local Indians who was rescued by a Texas Ranger. They married and were among the first settlers in the neighboring community of Burnet.
The arch leading down to the main entrance is quite impressive!
And the beautiful stairs.
The cave has a great system of spot lights to highlight different features. My photography skills were not up the challenges here. Except in the 'Crystal Room'. (Again, the CCC crews cleans layers of dirt and mud off the walls to expose the crystals!).
It's hard to tell from the pics, but these are anywhere from 1 to 8 or more inches long. They were brilliant!
The darkness just absorbed all light from the flash. There were a few sections with white rock like this one.
Finally, here is our tour guide, Owen. He has been working here at the cavern for 10+ years and clearing loved his job!