Tourist Spot

Explore caves with Outdoor Ed

Somewhere in the mountains, between the colorful town of Manitou Springs and the deep chasm that is Williams Canyon, a cohort of Colorado College students have taken a winding road in search of adventure. They headed to Cave of the Winds, where students took a lantern ride through black limestone caverns and heard tales of strange happenings in the haunted caves.

They were led by two of CC’s best: outdoor education leaders Jack Tolzin ’24 and Gracie Roe ’25. Along the way, the two learned about Outdoor Ed, the CC program that organizes more than 200 trips similar to this one to encourage students to enjoy the great outdoors. Tolzin and Roe, who have taken many trips on the program and now lead them, confirm that Outdoor Ed lives up to its reputation at CC – it’s inclusive and accessible. Program leaders don’t want expensive equipment or the intimidation of a new sport to retain students.

The awkward vibe developed during the climb turned serious (ok, still a little awkward) once everyone was inside the caves. Tour guide Jeremy tells the harrowing story of a Colorado Springs native who discovered the cave, turned it into a tourist spot, and then fell to ruin, tragedy after tragedy. The stories were grim. The caves were pitch black with only a dim lantern to navigate, and Jeremy generated more than a scream with his lively narration. Jeremy was convinced that it was a haunted spirit that kept extinguishing the flames of the lanterns of two of CC’s friends.

When the cohort emerged from the caves into the sunlight, the reality of physics homework and extracurricular obligations hit. Posts on BeReal – a social media platform that spontaneously asks users to share a photo of their current situation – were posted on the way back to the mountains. Photos of the aesthetically lit tunnels with lanterns have been exchanged. It was another successful trip to add to the CC Outdoor Education history book.