番外(一): Mammoth Cave National Park

Sunday morning we departed from Nashville and headed for Mammoth Cave National Park, where the longest known cave system in the world is located. 1 hour and 30 minutes drive was smooth and pleasant; we had no problem finding out the site. The word mammoth has two meanings. If used as an adjective, it means gigantic while used as a noun refers to an elephantlike mammal. Not until this visit I had realized the cave had nothing to do with the elephant but it was named for its enormous size. We arrived at the visitor center about 40 minutes prior to the tour, so we got a little bit of time walking around the gift shop and do whatever to get ready for the tour. We were glad we made advanced reservation. All the tickets for the tour were sold out even though it was a Sunday.

We signed up for Grand Avenue Tour. Although Grand Avenue Tour is described as difficult in physical demand, it wasn’t that bad at all. We basically walked underground for 4 miles over 4 and 1/2 hours time span. There were uphills, downhills, zigs and zags throughout the way, but we got to stop and gather as a group every 20 minutes to listen to ranger’s presentation and to catch our breath. The surrounding got quite different along the way. For example, after we descended down numerous steps from the entrance into the cave system, we entered a huge passage with gypsum lined walls (Cleveland Avenue), but as we went on, the surrounding turned into narrow, twisting passages (Boone Avenue). In the 2nd half of the tour we had to go up and down over 3 hills before we got to see those pretty dripstone formations near the end of the tour. Also we got to have lunch in an underground cafeteria called Snowball room; we regretted we did not bring our own lunch. The lunch boxes they sold there were $7.5 each with limited choices.

4 hours tour elapsed quickly, but it was a great fun. Not only we’ve seen a beautiful, natural underworld, and also received a high quality presentation from the ranger about natural and cultural history of the cave.

The tour we took was the 2nd longest in both time and distance, and thus the 2nd most expensive tour among those they offer. The reason we did not sign up for the longest tour, Wild Cave Tour, was because capacity was extremely limited in each tour and we were not able to find enough available tickets on the date we went. This is something I definitely want to try if I ever go back to the cave. From what I’ve heard, that is a real challenge for which lots of climbing and crawling involved.

Advertisements
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: