We’re back from a week in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky. Becky’s folks rented a cabin on Nolan Lake, near Bowling Green and many of Kentucky’s famous cave sites. We had a great time and saw some really interesting geological wonders.
The main cave site in the area is Mammoth Cave National Park, which boasts over 350 miles of caves. Becky and I actually were there ten years ago or so with some friends back in our golden years of graduate school. The operative word is “Mammoth”…we were in the Rotunda, the sixth largest room in the cave system, and it felt enormous. The searing temperatures outside didn’t bother us at all in the constant 58-degree caverns. Becky and I would like to have done the full-on, crawling on your knees cave exploration tour, but apparently my awesomely massive chest was too broad to fit through some of the passages, which means only stick figures are allowed to partake. Still, I was able to heave my astonishing bulk onto other tours, so we were still able to get an adequate cave experience. Outside, while having lunch at the picnic tables, a deer came out of the woods and approached us (until some brat kid chased it away.)
Mammoth Cave is a “dry” cave; its roof is made of sandstone instead of limestone, and this prevents water from getting into it from above, which is what allows it to stay so big. However, dripping and leaking water through limestone is what makes pretty cave formations, and Mammoth Cave has few of those. So we also went to Diamond Caverns and Lost River Cave. These “wet” caves gave us plenty of amazing formations to look at and interesting history about Jesse James, Underground Nite Clubs, and Cave Wars (which I’d really like to read more about!) Though all the caves we saw were impressive, I found Mammoth Cave to be more interesting to me because of my interest in the cave as an environment and habitat rather than just an art gallery. I have to credit all of the tour guides we had; if you’ve never had the slightest interest in geology, that will change after one of these tours.
But it wasn’t all caves. We also did a lot of relaxing at the cabin. We did some swimming in the lake, played some games, read, and played pirates. Mostly 6-year-old Adam did this last thing, usually shanghaiing someone into being the first mate. He never grew tired of playing pirates…the kid is like a tireless pirate-playing automation. Here’s a quote from Becky to Adam during one session of pirates: “We need to get off this island. We’ve had nothing but trouble since we got here. Except for that octopus, that was pretty good.” Mr. Powell, Jure, Adam, and Julie went to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, we did some “antiques” shopping in Cave City (Mrs. Powell got herself a nice antique potty chair, and I got a travel Cribbage set.) I liked seeing bats flying around in the evenings by the lake.
We had a really nice time in Kentucky. The people we saw were all friendly and helpful. We got lots of nice photos. Unfortunately there were two shots I didn’t get. When we were in Kentucky ten years ago, we saw many places describing homemade jelly for sale, apparently a delicacy of Kentucky. This time, however, there were no signs on the highway for “HOMEMADE KY JELLY”. I also missed my chance to snap a picture of the sign for Golgotha Fun Park. Yes, Golgotha Fun Park.
I highly recommend Mammoth Cave and environs as a place to visit. One of our guides told us that attendance to National Parks is down across the board, and has been for several years (it’s not just high gas prices). There are a lot of amazing things to see and do there for very little money. Caves is cool.