Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mammoth Cave

So, I tried to come up with a more clever title, but they all sounded dirty. I mean, it's the biggest, deepest, darkest hole in the world. And umm, it's wet, too. See? Dirty.

Anyway, we live about two hours away from Mammoth Cave National Park. It's the longest, largest cave (at least that's been discovered so far) in the world. About 400 miles of the cave have been explored, and they estimate that there's at least that much that has yet to be explored. So, it's big. And deep. And wet. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself).

We did two tours. The first was just a short, self guided tour in the original (historic) entrance. There's evidence that man has been using that part of the cave for over 4000 years. Then we did a two hour, 3/4 mile tour that starts in the new entrance (new, as in discovered in 1921 rather than 2000 BC). That one was pretty awesome. You start out by dropping 250 feet down a vertical shaft on a very narrow, twisty, turny, staircase. Some areas you have to turn sideways or lean way to one side just to get through. Honestly, I don't think I could have done the tour when I was 300 pounds.

(Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, I need you to settle something for me. Do you pronounce tour "tore" or "too-er?" Because I pronounce it "tore." I mean, you don't pronounce pour "poo-er" and you don't pronounce four "foo-er," but Will insists that you should pronounce tour "too-er." But then again he was raised in a place where they say AY-pricot and thee-AY-ter and crick and words like real and deal are pronounced rill and dill, so...)

Anyway, the tour (TORE!) was great. It's really hard to describe just how huge (And long. And wet.) this cave is. I mean, we only saw about a mile total and there are at least 400 miles of it. It's kind of hard to fathom.

At the end of the tour you pass through a section of the cave called Frozen Niagra. It's an area where the stalactites and stalagmites are abundant, and it looks like a frozen waterfall. It was beautiful. But I must say that Luray Caverns in Virginia has much better formations.

So, this is where I'd bombard you with awesome pictures of the cave, except very few came out at all. They're all really blurry. But here are a few.

Tiny stalactites.

Tiny stalactits.

The prettiest formation we saw. Except that it's hanging directly over your head like a thousand daggers about to fall on you and turn you into coleslaw.

Inappropriate stalagmite.

The best picture by far, though, will have to wait until tomorrow. Trust me, you do not want to miss it.

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