Saturday, May 25, 2019

Mammoth Cave

New sticker for the jeep.  Perfect.

On Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend we took one of the tours of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. With over 400 miles of passages discovered, there are many tours to choose from. We opted to start out with the "Domes and Dripstones" tour which was touted as "moderate" in difficulty.

This tour begins at the "new entrance" which is now the oldest of the secondary entrances. It is a man-made entrance found by digging down from a sinkhole.  You begin with a winding staircase of 280 steps down.  I didn't count them so I'll take their word for it. 

Night vision not being what it once was, the footing was tricky at times.

Most caves we have visited in the past have been full of stalactites and stalagmites. Most of Mammoth is different: it is a dry cave. River ran through the limestone, dissolving the calcium carbonate and carrying it away. It requires water dripping from above to form the other features.

In places the ceiling dropped fairly low.

This picture gives a good view of one of the open rooms.

 Above you can see one of the staircases in the distance.

 Early travelers left their marks.

 Another view of railing,

Toward the end of the tour we entered one of the places where there is "dripstone" or stalactites and stalagmites.

 Looking down the Frozen Niagara staircase from above.

 Don''t touch!

The red pictures are due to the red lighting in the cave. The more natural color comes from Tom's camera phone which has a "night vision" mode. I am jealous.

We had signed up for the Historic tour on Friday, also "moderate". When we got up on Friday morning both of us had such sore leg muscles and read the description of the two-miles and the 540 steps we decided that wasn't such a wise idea.