‘A Grand, Gloomy, and Peculiar Place’ -Stephen Bishop
⇔ Mammoth, KY • Sept 14-18, 2018 ⇔
I love and hate National Parks! They always have the best and most interesting things to see and do, but do not have any kind of hook-ups.
Mammoth Cave system is the longest known cave system in the world. It has over 400 miles of surveyed caves! There have been tours given of this cave system for over 200 years. There were more than 10 different tours offered by the Park System. We chose the Historical Tour and walked through two of the 400 miles. Our tour guide was a native Kentuckian retired school teacher. His strong accent and humor was very entertaining.
Many, many years ago, the tour guides let the rich burn their names into the ceiling of the cave with a candle on a stick for a nickel. This is just one of many places we saw on our tour.
We weren’t allowed to use flash in the cave so the pictures came out grainy. This is the dome.
At the beginning of the tour was this mining operation. When the US went to war with the British in 1812 they no longer had a source of gun powder. They discovered that they could mine the saltpeter, which came from bat guano, and process it into gun powder. This picture was not a re-creation, it was how it was left with original boards and pipe systems. Water was supplied by poplar trees that had been hollowed out with two spoon augurs and connected to create a pipe system.
The campsite at Mammoth was nice and roomy. A pet peeve of ours is when you pull in going the right direction and the door faces the street side, rather than the campsite. We pulled in backwards here and left going the wrong direction on the loop.
I dropped Dave off eight miles up Green River and picked him up at the ferry close to the campground a few hours later. On the way to pick him up I had to stop at a bicycle cross walk on a two way road because a single deer was standing there waiting to cross! He just stood there looking at me in the truck. In retrospect, I can’t believe I did this but, I waved him on. He just kept looking at me so I crept though hoping he wouldn’t bolt in front. Looking in my rearview mirror he slowly walked immediately though. I busted out laughing. I know both Sophie and Skipper thought I was nuts! There were many dear in the area and we would bike ride within just a few feet of them. The ranger, before our tour, said that is illegal to feed them because they come to depend on it and then there is no one there in the winter to feed them.
There was a great bike path going from the campground to Park City. Round trip it was 18 miles with a lot of ups and downs and mostly through the woods! A little detour on the bike path was a board walk going around what looked a little Mississippi swamp. Surface water here is uncommon because most of it soaks into the sink holes and porous ground. The sinks provide water flow in many of the caves.
We’d love to come back here, when it’s cooler, and do other cave tours.
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Love your pics & the write up. You are getting to be pros at this! 😊
Thanks John! And, thanks for being the first one to make a comment on our new format! JK