In Boulder , Colorado, there is a prominent building in the south flatirons on which your wandering eye will often focus whilst moving past it in the distance. This is a famous building due to it’s architecture. It’s also famous because of the sort of activity that takes place inside… It’s NCAR~ The national center for atmospheric research~where scientists are gathering evidence that proves global warming effects at an alarming rate.
There are some really amazing hikes here , in which the view of the flatirons, also known as dinosaur mountain (aka the front range of the Rocky mountains), will leave you speechless ~ and breathless (if you’re not used to the altitude, it’s above 6500 feet!) So take table mesa towards the mountains and you will end up at NCAR where there are a myriad of trails to choose from. The mesa trail is the main trail which goes along the front range, and the trail we are now interested in will branch off an intersection of the Mesa and NCAR trail uphill towards the destination of Mallory Caves.
Townsend’s big earred bats flutter through these spooky caves…tons of them. Caves such as these are their home, so Mallory Caves is closed for a chunk of the year when the bats are most active, ie. gettin’ it on and roosting their young. Bat pups are raised in maternity colonies in the rock ledges of caves. Mallory Caves is closed from April 1st through October 1st annually to insure that these baby bats are not disturbed by humans , as they have a high mortality rate and are currently endangered.
The trail climbs to a large rock outcropping, where you must crawl through a crack in the rock, then you must climb and scramble up a solid rock notch to get to the cave. This cave has a feeling of being back in the stone age , which probably all caves have in one way or another. There is a great decrease in temperature and the smell and feel truly makes you aware of the fact that you’re IN the earth. This one in particular has a medicine wheel carved into the rock as well as the imprint of hands…all of this decorated by dripped candle wax and roaches. Sound strange? Well, it is. But realistically, these were probably forged back in the 60’s by some hippies who took up residence there…does that make it more or less spooky? You decide.
The entire hike is only about a mile long…but it’s absolutely surreal. Don’t bypass this the next time you’re near Boulder.