Thursday April 18th 2019
Day started with a nice deep clean up of the RV before heading to our next National Park!!
Just a very convenient 35 mins away awaited Mammoth Cave National Park. Last night I booked us for the Domes & Dripstones cave tour! Unlike most National Parks this one does not charge an entrance fee. So one could enjoy all above ground activities for just the cost of driving there. You must purchase tickets to enjoy the cave though.
Arriving a few hours before our tour we walked through all the exhibits in the visitor center and got info for some short hikes. We started on the Heritage trail right outside of the VC, veered down to the Historic entrance that was closed off and continued down River Styx Spring Trail. We happened upon one deer, lots of purple foliage and NO BUGS! Where River Styx and Echo River Spring trail meet you will find a cool pool of water that flows into the unknown and uniquely placed flood markers.
Taking Sunset Point to the top on the hill we hurried back to the RV for some lunch and a quick refresher.
First call for tour was 12:10pm and if you know us we are notorious for being late to EVERYTHING. We got to the pick up pavilion at 12:09 only for me to look at my feet and realize I did not change to my sturdy hiking shoes as recommended. Are you kidding me and we were early for once. I’m only guessing I left people thinking what the hell as I took of running like a bat out of hell. I had just minutes to get to rv, unlock, change shoes and run back. Made it back by 12:15 winded as could be but made it! Booya!
There was a quick tour group briefing of what to expect then hopped on the bus for a 4 mile ride to the cave entrance. There were not many kids on this tour and of the ones who were Phoenix seemed to be the youngest so we assumed our usual end of the group position so Phoenix would not be rushed.
People ahead of us live near and had been on several tours before and was talking about all the bugs. My head was focused on breathing honestly, I’m not one for caves or small spaces but once I got my first glance at the size of Kentucky spiders and all my fears shifted. Holy SHIT! Now I have to walk through barely shoulder width stairways with those damn things lingering. Despite all that the cave tour was pretty amazing. Phoenix’s first and our first since being kids. Phoenix did absolutely amazing!
Our tour consisted of 500 stairs all together with an a prompt 280 right in the beginning. Stairs are narrow and slippery, rocks jutting our everywhere so watch your head and of course step with caution. We worked our way down and into a large cathedral room where we all sat down for a Q & A session with the ranger.
Any items left by previous cave explorers were left in there place for example an old glass coke bottle and a metal lantern. The very friendly ranger behind us was an older gentleman who use to be a college professor before his years in the national park system and was more than happy to share about the history with us as we strolled along with Phoenix.
Towards the end of tour came the coolest sights of stalagmites and stalactites. For the more willing there is an optional 98 extra stairs to explore deeper into the world of them. No flash made for tricky picture taking. Minutes after this point you will be back to fresh air and boarding the bus.
Back at park it is mandatory to walk thru a shoe suds bath to wash away any spores that could continue the devastating spread of White Nose Syndrome. A syndrome that is demolishing bat populations. Bats eat mosquitos so there for bats are good!
Was a beautiful day and we were not quite done exploring this wonderful park, a bike ride it was. Jason had to fix his tire once again so Phoenix and I went to the gift shop for some goodies, coming out with a patch for our blanket and a junior ranger vest for Phoenix!! He was so excited to wear it despite the warm day.
We managed to get 1.5 miles down the road past the campground before Phoenix fell asleep leaving us to turn around.
Made it to Glasgow, Kentucky Wal-Mart for the night. Parked earlier than normal due to a storm coming in. This lot had a group of kids gathered around their jacked up trucks listening to music, and a lot of truckers. We made our way thru Walmart and determined we had hit redneckville.
Salmon and peas for supper while we watched the storm roll thru.
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