Wanderlust: Mammoth Cave National Park

From the moment we started researching what to do in Kentucky for our Girls Weekend 2017, I was most looking forward to our visit to Mammoth Cave National Park. I haven’t been in caves since I was a Brownie on a field trip, so this was something I was really looking forward to.

First thing I would not if you plan a trip here: get food on the way. There is a cafeteria in the Park, but it’s more snack food/fast food and the restaurant was packed which made it a little exhausting trying to get food. Secondly: plan ahead and look at which tour you’d like to take and aim for those times – make sure to build in time to arrive early and get your tickets.

After eating a variety of snack foods, the ladies and I headed to the tour start area for our cave tour (the Domes + Dripstones Tour) where a Park Ranger went through the introductory speech. This speech made me reeeally excited to go on this tour because the gist of it was:

Are you claustrophobic? Scared of the dark? Scared of heights? Scared of bugs? Well you’re going to have a terrible time on this tour as we will descend 280 steps down into the caves and the tunnels you take are going to be single file and small. If you look down you will see complete darkness as we don’t know how far the caves actually go into the ground.

Yup. I’m pretty much scared of all those things. But we had booked these tickets so there was no way I wasn’t going on this tour. And, boy did they not lie. It was pitch black except for the lights they’ve added along the way, not only were there a lot of steps, but it’s wet and cold in there so the steps are slippery – awesome. Not only that but I had friends and strangers in front of me joking about falling to our deaths. You know – the usual conversation you have as you descend into a cave of unknown depth.

To give you a perspective into our tour here’s the image of our route in relation to the known paths inside the caves:

Needless to say, in the dark, it was rather difficult to get any real photographs without an extended shutter release and a tripod, but I did my best under the conditions and I have to say I really liked the results.

Regardless of all the fears and the improper-timed-jokes (I’m looking at you, Becca 😉 ), I had an amazing time. We learned about how the caves were discovered, how the National Park was formed, and how humans have stunted the growth of many parts of the caves with simply the oils on our hands.

Going to the national parks of our country is one part of our girls trips that I cherish. Nowadays in the times we live in, it’s hard for people to understand how incredible it is that we live in a country of united states. And while we could go back and forth all day about how we aren’t united, it’s in trips like these and explorations like these that show me we can be. We can be a country that comes together to celebrate all the different places and cultures and people that live here. We just have to open our eyes and minds and hearts.

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