So, I splurged on a xD memory card reader, and so I have access to my photos again! Yay! So, this is a little delayed, but still happening. Last Friday-Sunday, Bobby and I went camping at Mammoth Cave National Park, and it was my first time officially going on a camping trip. For someone who considers herself to be an outdoors person, it is quite a travesty. I’ve slept in a tent a couple of times, but I’ve never “been camping.” Bobby’s family are all campers, so he had all of the equipment and things, and we took off early Friday morning.
We stopped a few times on the way down there, Historic Bardstown, KY and Lincoln’s Boyhood home. Both Bobby and I are the type of people that, unless we are in a hurry, we’ll stop anywhere and at anything that looks interesting. If we ever travel out west, we would be the type of people that HAVE to stop to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, etc. After stretching the 3 and a half our drive out to something around five hours, we finally arrived at Mammoth Cave.
Let me explain the goofiness of this picture. Bob and I had to figure out how to use the self timer on my camera, which we found out was 10 seconds long. Sadly, the distance between the car and the sign was huge, and that meant one thing – – Bobby in a dead sprint, in flip-flops after hitting the button. So he got there, but only just barely. . . so we have this wacky, Bobby only partially turned around, picture. And I love it. After we took this one, some hikers came out nearby and the mom offered and took our picture for us, and it’s a nicer photo, but it’s just not the same and not as funny.
So, we got to our campsite and put up our tent, and got settled in a bit.
We gathered wood and got working on building a fire. Well, the leaf litter was a little too damp to use as kindling, and I remembered that I had a notebook in the car, so my poor notebook got sacrificed for the cause. But, we still couldn’t quite get it to catch. Bobby and I were kneeling by the fire, blowing on it until we turned blue. I truly felt like I was going to pass out… and then *LIGHTBULB* I left Bobby there, blowing on the fire, and ran over to the tent. I got out the little, battery operated fan I bought for the trip (P.S. it was 95ish on both days. yuck.), turned it on low, and aimed it at the fire. And it took off. And so I won the most resourceful camper of the day award.
Our first cave tour wast the star chamber tour, a lantern tour. I was so excited about getting to go on some of the different tours, because my family has never made reservations in advance for the tours, we never got to go on the exciting ones. We made our reservations a month in advance. Bobby grabbed the lantern for us, and the lanterns really made everything seem really different. You couldn’t see far at all, and since flash photography wasn’t allowed, we didn’t really get many neat pictures.
Except for this one and just a few others. It combines my love of taking pictures of feet/shoes and of taking really different pictures :)
Our next stop, the next day, was the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. It was going to be kind of a surprise for Bobby, but I’m AWFUL at keeping surprises a secret. I kinda feel like it’s a surprise as soon as I tell you, so why wait? :) But anyway, the museum was really cool and made me want to drive a sports car. Go figure.
After we got back from the Corvette museum we had another tour scheduled – the River Styx tour. Another 2.5 hour, 30 people tour. I think I’m spoiled. I’ll never want to take any of the 100+ people tours again!
The tour started out on the same route as our lantern tour, but of course it look significantly different with the lights turned on, rather than by candlelight. After walking for a while, we finally got into an area that we hadn’t seen on the other tour. If I had had a nicer camera, I’m sure the pictures would’ve come out better, but this is one of the better ones.
When we got all the way down to the bottom level of the cave we got to see the River Styx. Bobby is a mythology buff, and so we were joking that it would’ve been funny if they left a boat tied up down there and a place to collect coins to “pay the ferryman.” After climbing up a million stairs back to the entrance, and then up a bunch more to get out, Bobby and I decided it would be a good idea to hike to the mouth of the River Styx, where it comes out above ground. We thought that since it was only a half a mile hike, that it wouldn’t be a big deal, and we might be able to cool off afterwards in the water. Nope. This is how close we could get to it.
That’s a good, long distance. So we hiked a half mile down a very nearly 45 degree angle to get to an overlook of the cave mouth, and then up that distance. A half of a mile straight up in 95 degree weather stinks, just so you know. But the overlook was really neat, Bobby particularly enjoyed the tree at about 3 o’clock in the picture, a gigantic sycamore that had roots going all over the place in the valley bottom.
We rounded out the evening with getting cleaned up and going out to dinner, and that was nice. We went to a steakhouse called Sahara in Cave City, and thought the ambiance left a lot to be desired, it was probably the best steak I’ve ever tasted in my life. Including any that Bob had cooked himself.
The next morning we got up early and packed up. After taking off the cover of the tent, we found this fellow nestled between the tent and the cover. He’s a very large Catydid. In another picture, I have Bob’s hand beside him, giving a proxy for his size, which was the size of Bob’s thumb.
After leaving Mammoth Cave, we headed south to Lost River Cave in Bowling Green. Lost River has a boat tour of a cave that I went on when I was younger. It was much cooler than I had remember it being. Literally and Figuratively, as caves stay in the low to mid 50’s all year round.
One of the most interesting things about Lost River Cave is that in the 1930’s until the 1960’s it was used as a Night Club playing Swing Music. How neat, right? The tour guide said that the sobriety test for getting into and out of the club was simply the hike in/out…. a windy, narrow trail up the side of a cliff. I would’ve loved to have gotten to go there, to hear the cave echoing with music.
Overall, the trip was really a blast, and I certainly enjoyed my first real camping experience!