The visit to Mammoth also presented a first for us on the road. We stayed, for the first time, at a park with no hooks-ups. For us that meant no water, electric or sewer. The major challenge was to see how our solar system would work and how long our fresh and waste water tanks would hold out!
The Mammoth Cave complex is the worlds largest cave system, with more than 400 miles of it having been explored. There is much more of the cave that has been untouched and unseen. The best way to visit is to take a tour. Underground.
The limestone labyrinth is capped by a layer of sandstone making the complex very stable. There are "wet" areas where stalactites and stalagmites of calcium form making curtains, columns and frozen waterfalls. "Dry" areas are composed of hollowed out caverns, forming vast rooms and canyons where ancient rivers cut their way through the limestone.
My Bride selected the Domes and Dripstones Tour which is about 3/4 of a mile long and lasts two hours . I settled for the Grand Avenue Tour, spending four hours underground while covering four miles of passageways.
|Historical Graffiti - this one is Civil War Era|
The history of this area is fascinating from ancient peoples using it for shelter; it's accidental discovery and mining of nitrate to make saltpeter for gunpowder; it's use as a sanitarium to treat tuberculosis (unsuccessfully); to a popular tourist attraction and spawning the Kentucky Cave Wars; until eventually becoming a a National Park in 1941. Of real interest is the history of African Americans and Mammoth Cave.