Underground in Mammoth Cave National Park
Today I spent two hours wandering through a cave. I have wanted to visit Mammoth Cave for- well forever I think. I remember learning about it in school and it’s been on my list ever since.
The reason it’s called Mammoth is because it is the longest cave system in the world. 412 miles! Now, this doesn’t mean a looooooong tunnel. No, it’s got several layers of corridors that wind around like a river. Caves are formed by rivers, after all. My tour ( which is one of several different kinds) was two hours long, covering 2 miles. I chose the Historic Tour. Because…history, duh!
The entrance we went in at is the original one, used by tourists for almost 200 years.
You can’t use flash photos inside the cave so I didn’t get a lot of shots.
People wrote their names on the walls and ceilings back in the day. Of course, you can’t touch the walls now.
This was a tube that went up 3 stories. We also crossed a “bottomless” pit but I was concentrating on getting over the bridge so no picture!
Several parts were actually kind of fun. The section called Fat Man’s Misery was so narrow I had to walk sideways to get through. And even short little me had to stoop to get through a few areas.
Ranger Jenna was our guide and she was great. She is trained as a geologist, and told us lot about rock formations and such. But she also knew the history of the cave very well.
The cave was owned by several different private citizens until it became a national park in 1941. One used it for mining saltpeter for gunpowder during the War of 1812. Another was a doctor who built huts in the cave to see if the constant temperature and air quality would cure tuberculosis. (It didn’t)
Finally the light at the end of the tunnel haha
The museum in the welcome center was fantastic. Lots of facts, history, and nature.
It took me over an hour just to go through it. Of course that may be because I’m that person who actually READS the information signs. LOL
Now if you’re thinking of seeing the caves, I would suggest you pick a tour that fits your capabilities. Some are very strenuous and go through hard to navigate areas. One is 4 hours long. They have one for kids wanting to know about spelunking, too. So, something for everybody.