Thursday, July 22, 2010

Semi-Staycation, Part One

Mammoth Cave

You may have noticed there were no new blog posts for the past two weeks. The reason is that I was out getting new material!

This summer, instead of going off to some exotic clime, my friends Lois and Eric came to visit me, and we explored West Kentucky near where I live. The first place we went to see was Mammoth Cave.

All the pictures I took in the cave are available light, no flash. A couple of years ago I got a good digital camera, a Fujifilm FinePix, and have been delighted with the results. It has a storage chip that first of all stores over 500 photos, so you can take as many as you want without worrying about running out of "film," and second, slides into a slot in my laptop for downloading--no wires to lose.

I'm a point and shoot picture taker, not a professional photographer, but I am pleased with the pictures I get with this camera in practically any light. It's good and sturdy, too--I have had it bouncing around while riding elephants and tuk-tuks in India and scrambling around caves in Kentucky, and it has always worked without protest.

The three of us travel companions have experienced various injuries and other physical problems through the years. Ten years ago we'd have taken the six-hour tour, crept into every cranny, and climbed every slope. These days we think twice, so we opted for the two-hour tour that covers the beauties of the caverns without any especially difficult climbing--and particularly avoids the seven-story climb on a spiral staircase when you're tired at the very end!

We called the day before to book tickets, and were shocked to find that they book their tours six months in advance! However, if you keep asking, you will be told to come to the cave, as there are usually no-shows. And when you actually get there in the morning, you find that they run several non-bookable tours every day, so it turned out we had no trouble getting the tour we wanted.

Our tour was mostly older people and families with young kids. We saw examples of all the kinds of formations to be found in Mammoth Cave, even though we didn't get in particularly far. 

Mammoth Cave is the largest cave complex in the United States, with over 400 miles of explored caverns. Our guide told us that there is constant exploration going on, and there are at least another 400 miles of unexplored caverns. Hence Mammoth Cave grows more mammoth every year.

Not only is Mammoth Cave itself both interesting and beautiful, but it is set in a lovely national forest. Even from the car, we saw deer in the woods, and one bold one who came up to the car to beg! Sadly, I was not fast enough getting my camera turned on to snap a picture of that one.

There are other attractions nearby, too--it would be easy to spend two or three days in this beautiful area.

Next week: Mike's Rock Shop and Mystery House.

Travel Diary Software click here.

Click here for Seven Reasons to Visit India.

My essays on travel with pets begin here.

My posts on Travel and Cancer Survival begin here.

The series of posts on my trip to Japan begins here.

The journal of my trip to India and Nepal begins here.

The series of posts on my trip to Italy begins here.

Geezer-Chick's guest blog on York, England is here.

Geezer-Chick's guest blog about a fabulous carousel is here.

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