Friday, August 6, 2010

Mammoth Caves National Park

We have lived in 3 different states and traveled quite a bit with the kids, but Kentucky is someplace that we have never visited before this summer! We love to camp and have visited many of our country's National Parks. For a long while, Mark has wanted to see Mammoth Caves - just because it sounded COOL! Well, we finally took a trip up to Mammoth Caves National Park in KY last week , and it WAS cool - both literally and figuratively! 

The park is located in a pretty rural area of south central KY, about 30 miles northeast of Bowling Green. We camped at Nolin Lake State Park, just north of the national parkSince it was July and VERY hot and muggy, electric hook up for our tent trailer was a high priority, and something the national park campgrounds do not have. Even though we don't have AC in our camper, we do have clip on fans which make sleeping a bit more comfortable. This state park campground is fairly new, with huge sites that are nicely separated. Many of them are in full sun, but we scored one of the few sites in full shade.  Again, a big plus when it is hot! The campground was nice and quiet, with many families and not many of the big rig RVs. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a campground in that area.

The drive to campground wound through country roads and was very picturesque. We were confused when we came upon this road sign. 

Fortunately, waiting ahead was this little ferry across the Green River.   It took us a few minutes of indecision before driving aboard, wondering if our conversion van pulling a camper was going to fit --- but it did.  No worries.

We went on three different cave tours, each 2 1/2 - 3 hours long,  and they were all different and all very interesting!   The first was the New Entrance Tour.  This tour was probably the most strenuous of the three, but was listed in the brochure as Moderate and was very doable.  We entered the cave through the "New Entrance", which is a manmade entrance opened up in the 1800's by one of the early cave owners and guides. You start off by going down a narrow stairway through a natural  shaft where at times you have to duck or turn sideways to fit.... !!!!  Our guide told us that the steel stairway took 3 years to design and 3 years to install, and were designed by a submarine engineer!   You could see through the grid flooring and if you don't like heights.. DO NOT LOOK DOWN!

Here we go!  
I don't know about this!!!!


some low ceilings - watch out, tall man!

Can you imagine walking through here before the pathway was built?

After a while, we came to an area of amazingly beautiful rock formations, an area called Frozen Niagara.

flow stone

amazing "drapery folds"

looks like icing on a cake!

There is a lot of family bonding that takes place when we go on camping trips together.

to be continued...

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