April 10, 2014

Mammoth Cave

After we visited Nashville, we made our way up to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky to camp for the night. We took the historical cave tour before checking into our camp site. 

I know we took the historical tour, but even if you take one of the other fun tours listed for Mammoth cave you will learn a lot. This cave is absolutely full of history. You will see everything from an old tuberculosis hospital (yes, inside the cave), to mining operations dating back to hundreds of years ago!

They have been offering cave tours since the early 1800s, and yes, this means 200 year old cave graffiti. They used the smoke of candles to make markings on the ceiling, making and connecting dots to spell out names, dates, even arrows drawing more attention to certain names of people who really did not want to be forgotten. For a brief portion of the 1970's, they held self-guided tours in which many people added their own names to the historical ones by carving them into the cave walls.They have since discontinued the self guided tours, since those actions are a federal offense. 

We did not get to see many cave formations (those were presented on another tour) but we did get to see a few different areas where water had pooled and swirled (when the entire cave was an underground river) causing these deep gouges in the roof of the cave. 

After the tour, we returned to our campsite to officially set up camp. I made sure the tent was extra cozy since the temperature was supposed to get down to the mid twenties (fahrenheit) that night. 

I made us an awesome dinner of pasta with tomato sauce, roasted mushrooms with onions and garlic, some chip-dip (refried beans mixed with cheese and salsa, heated over the campfire), and after it got dark, we made s'mores! 

I was very pleased with the campsite itself. Had it not been so cold, I would have definitely enjoyed it more. I was excited to hear the howls of coyotes and the scurrying of critters through the night. It was the only thing distracting me from the cold! I did not sleep all night because of the freezing conditions, and Lauren only got a few hours of sleep. We chose to pack up camp in favor of a warm car at 6:30 am the next morning. We were shocked to discover that there was actually ice on the poles of our tent! 
Needless to say, we got an early start to our next destination: Cincinnati. 

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