Monday, May 29, 2017

My Weekend at Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave National Park is awesome!

Note to self: Do not scheduled two cave tours on the same day again.

Why is that, you ask? Well, it’s not because it’s a lot of walking, even though it can be for some people (not me, particularly). It’s mainly because of all the climbing. On Saturday my Fitbit recorded that I climbed the equivalent of 36 flights of stairs. I also walked over 19,000 steps (over 9 miles).

But let me tell you, those two cave tours were pretty awesome.

We took the early 8:00am Gothic Avenue tour. I highly recommend the early tour. It was nice and quiet. And small. Maybe 40 of us. And we were the only tour going on at the time. When we were departing, we ran into all the people coming into the cave. Noisy! Crowded! Ugh.

Our second tour that day was the Starlight Tour (another small tour), which started at 6:15. We walked through the same cave (again, nice and quiet as we were the only tour going on), but with lanterns (not the electric lights we got in the morning). Pretty cool. It would have been cooler if it wasn’t raining cats and dogs. Got a little soaked hiking to the cave opening (not to mention running from the car to the meeting point). After two hours in the cave, I was getting dry again, only to discover upon the end of the tour that it hadn’t stopped storming.

A hike back to the starting point (uphill!) and I was wet, hot, sticky, and my feet hurt. I was ready for a shower. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. The storm knocked out the power. Talk about dark! And hot (no air conditioning). Power wasn’t restored until late Sunday (at least we got a room discount for Saturday night).

Sunday wasn’t quite as strenuous. According to my Fitbit, I walked only (only!!) a little over 13,000 steps (over 6 miles), but still managed 33 flights of stairs. Walking down to the river and back helped some with the stairs (it was quite a hike back). And the cave tour we did included something like 280 stairs (don’t know the equivalent there).

Oh, and that cave tour? Awesome again (although with a larger group—something like 114 people). The Domes & Dripstones tour required us walking down those 280 steps through some twisty-turny openings (Would you believe a contractor charged them $3000 per step? Worth every penny if you ask me). We walked through another large cavern and then ended at the Frozen Niagara—huge stalactites and stalagmites. I really wish I could show some pictures, but you’re not allowed to use flash and the light level is too low for my camera(s) to really capture the wonder of it all.

But there’s a reason it’s called the Mammoth Cave. It’s over 490 miles long (the longest in the world) and they have yet to find the end. They really have no idea how long the cave actually is. And it’s not a bunch of small caves connected through tiny passageways (like some caves are). Imagine walking into a domed arena. Yeah, portions of it are that big. Maybe bigger. Yep, mammoth!

On Sunday evening, with the power now back on (and the air conditioning—yay!), the frogs got a little friendly. At least one was on our door making all sorts of noise (wanting in, maybe?). I’m thinking maybe I’m not all that cut out for staying in a National Park, even though it was certainly convenient.

But as we tend to say whenever we go on an outing: always an adventure! And it was certainly that.

Today we’re headed down to the Corvette Museum before driving back home. And I did take some pictures, I just haven’t downloaded my camera(s) yet. It’s been a great holiday weekend and I’m really glad we came.

So… Have you ever been to Mammoth Cave? If not, think you might want to go now?

Happy Monday!



JeffO said...

Never been there, but I've been to Howe Caverns and it's pretty spectacular. Sounds like you got a week's worth of exercise in a couple of days!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Jeff - Maybe not a week's worth, but certainly the best weekend I've ever had walking! :) Oh, and Yay! The Penguins won Game 1. Ugly, but I'll take it!!

Maria Zannini said...

2 cave tours in one day? You're made of sterner stuff than me. :)

Love caverns. They are truly awe inspiring.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Maria - Well, one was early morning, the other early evening, so we did get a nice rest in between. Still, it was a bit much. Thank goodness the only thing we actually climbed were stairs and not rocks! And it was a nice wide cave.

Jennette Marie Powell said...

My family went to Mammoth Cave when I was in high school (aka a really long time ago). I don't remember much of it, other than it was awesome (in the true sense of the word). Would love to go back sometime!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Jennette - My son went to Mammoth Cave during a Boy Scout camping trip and he didn't remember much of it either. But it was that trip that got the place on our radar. Glad we were finally able to visit the park.