I guess this will qualify as a “travel” edition even though we only travelled 45 minutes, but I wanted to tell you about a local (for us) landmark that is worth checking out. C & I live about 45 minutes from Mammoth Cave National Park and, even though we both had been to the park, neither of us could remember being in the cave itself.
Every year for the last 16 years, C’s dad has a group of Mexicans that work (legally) on the farm for him during tobacco season. One gentleman has been coming to Kentucky for all of those 16 years and others for many years as well. They had asked to go see Mammoth Cave so when R took them, he asked if we wanted to go, too. I am so glad we went. I took photos for the workers so their families could see them and the cave.
I was surprised at the beauty of the cave itself. Of course, the grounds are scenic. The park is covered in forests with the Green River running through it, but I wasn’t expecting the scope and magnitude of the cavern.
We took the 2 hour Historical Tour and had a wonderful time. Here we enter into the only natural opening used by the National Park employees:
The guide tells all sorts of interesting stories along the way. After walking down these stairs, you come into a large open area about 150 feet tall. There are hollow tulip poplar logs running on one side and these were used during the War of 1812 to mine saltpeter for gunpowder.
The guide also told us about the “historical graffiti” that is on the walls of the cave in several areas. All of this writing dates back before 1941 when the area became a national park. After that, writing was considered a federal offense. Here are two examples of the graffiti:
The second photo shows an example of “smoke writing”. It was so cool! Next we crossed “The Bottomless Pit” which is about 150 feet deep. It was discovered by a slave names Stephen Bishop that worked at the cave. He laid a log across the pit to cross over. Mr. Bishop is credited for exploring and discovering much of Mammoth Cave.
Next we went through “Fat Man’s Misery” which is a series of twists and turns that are very narrow and low. Thankfully, none of our group had any trouble navigating the misery! Here’s proof C is no fat man! Ha, ha, ha!
As we all left the cave, there was one little bat hanging upside down…spooky! I am not sure why this seems so spooky since we see bats all of the time flying around the house at dusk catching bugs, but it was a little spooky!
It is required that each visitor walk across a soapy mat after leaving the cave to prevent what is known as White Nose Syndrome that can damage the bat populations.
We had a wonderful time at Mammoth Cave and want to go back to see more of it. If you have the chance to go, don’t hesitate! You will learn a lot and see some beautiful sights, but remember to take a light jacket with you. The cave is always around a cool 54 degrees.