Normally I seek out sunlight and green, growing things, but every once in a while circumstances take me in the opposite direction. Today was one of those days.
With a group of friends from Clearwater, Prairiewolf and I visited the Underground Salt Mine Museum in Hutchinson. It's only been open for about a year and, like so many locals with their own area tourist sites, we hadn't been to see it yet.
After a slightly daunting safety film, we gathered our courage, geared up and headed down in the hoist. The tour guide was knowledgeable and humorous, while the mine itself was spacious and amazingly pleasant - cool and even temperatures, moderate humidity, and fresh-smelling air. The walls even glittered as the lights reflected off the salt crystals in them!
After a trolley tour during which the guide pointed out geological features, remnants of mining activity from the '30's and '40's, and a variety of features of the mine, we went on a self-guided walking tour, examining the mining equipment, watching videos about the mining process, and learning about some of the interesting items now stored in the hollowed out mining galleries.
Coming back out of the mines, the thought we all seemed to experience at once was disbelief at the amount of activity occurring deep below the seemingly undisturbed surface we were driving over.
There was much more to see than I'd realized, and it was a fun and informative adventure. If you're ever nearby, I'd recommend taking a couple hours to check it out. You'll never look at road salt and table salt in quite the same way again!