Two caves in as many days – one in Tennessee and one in Kentucky. After our great experience at Tuckaleechee Caverns, we had high hopes for Mammoth Cave. At first, we thought we had missed all of the tours. Then we realized that somewhere along the way we had crossed into a new time zone, so we had plenty of time for lunch and a tour. We purchased tickets for the Historic Tour, and went to find burgers at the local cafe.
The time came for our tour, and we were told it had sold out – nearly 80 people would be joining us. We followed our guide and the trail down to the historic entrance, the first discovered by white settlers. As we approached the entrance, cool, refreshing air rushed out. We descended into a large gallery that had once been used to mine saltpeter.
The first thing we noticed was that this cave was much dryer than yesterday’s caverns. We also noticed that there were none of the stalagtite and other formations. My first thought had been that the mining had disrupted the formations. However, according to our guide, those formations just aren’t seen in this cave, or at least this part of it. The tour consisted mainly of grand galleries, tight squeezes, high domes, and deep pits.
Our fellow tourists were nice enough, but walking with eighty people is always problematic. It’s hard to keep a group that large together, and there is no way to have frequent stops. When you do stop, it’s hard to keep everyone’s attention focused on the presentation.
Overall, I’m glad we came. Mammoth Cave is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. However, I actually liked the Tuckaleechee tour better. The focus there was more on geology, where as this one was on history.
After the cave, we decided to drive around the park. We took a couple of small roads around the edges of the park, where we saw several wild turkeys and deer.
We left the park briefly to find lodging, but drove back in to take some similar back roads on the other side of the park. We crossed the Green River twice on small ferries, and saw even more turkey and deer. It was quite a nice drive.