Day 59 - Mammoth Cave NP

Today I'm tired.  I blame Perseid.  Meteor showers, at least for me, often end up being more build up than payoff.  When you are in a National Park, in the middle of nowhere, with a new Moon, no clouds, 70 degree temps and a meteor shower on deck, however, you forget about past disappointments and set the alarm clock for Midnight so you can lay out in the grass.  I did it by myself.  It was wonderful.  I was clocking one about every 50 seconds for close to an hour.  Good stuff, not soon to be forgotten.

I came back to sleep but we still got up early to be ready for an 8:30 cave tour.  We had two lined up total - the first one was the most classic at Mammoth Cave, the Historic Tour. We had done a couple of caves as a family and our discussions quickly lead to how all of them have been different.  Mammoth immediately lived up to its name.  It's huge.  Many stairs, many caverns, all ginormous.  Our guide was particularly fascinating - he was a 5th generation guide in the cave going all the way back to his great-great Grandfather who was a slave guide for the then-owner of the property.  His family had lived on property close to the caves for generations until the Feds took it for park land via eminent domain.  He had passion and smarts and seemed to love his job.  Cave trip #2 in the afternoon took us through more dramatic areas including the well known Frozen Niagara.

From an ooh and aah standpoint, we had been to caves with more dramatic formations.  This thing is just a beast, however - 400+ miles of caverns and more being discovered each year.  Impressive for it's pure size and ever-evolving nature.

We are staying on the grounds in a very quaint (read - old, small, sort of run down but cheap and convenient) cabin right by the park action, so we ate close by, did some more hiking and are going to head to bed early for another early rise tomorrow.  Just a couple more spots left to hit and all are 'All American'.  The finish line is just around the corner.  Tonight is our 60th night in a hotel. We are happy and still sincerely having a ton of fun, but we will be ready to be home.

And oh yeah - my pictures stink today.  I had planned on taking the photo cave tour where I could take my decent equipment down but that tour sold out on me.  No flash in near-dark conditions, so just a couple fairly not great shots below. 

- Jim

Looking up into the 'Curtain Room' section of the Frozen Niagara section of Mammoth Cave.  Some of our other cave experiences have been more intricate, ornate, colorful, etc., but non have been so huge.  Nothing in this picture to give scale, but the formations totaled 70 feet high.

'Frozen Niagara'.

'Frozen Niagara'