18/61- At 412 discovered miles and counting, Mammoth Cave is the longest cave in the world. We arrived in the early evening when the cave was closed to visitors and thus explored the park via hiking. Along with the historic cave entrance and the river, we found over a dozen deer including two baby does and our favorite- fireflies!
In the morning we set out to explore the cave on two different tours.
Gothic Tour- This Historic Tour is the same Tour from 1800s. As we traveled through the cave we learned much of the history of the cave. 1000s of candle fat signatures from the 1830s lined the walls giving us a feeling that we were walking in their footsteps. This tour was a down and back, in and out the “historic entrance”.
Dimes and Dripstones- For this tour we took a bus to the “New Entrance” which was blasted out by an entrepreneur in the 1920s. Due to the sandstone and shale on the surface water has been repelled and has had a hard time seeping down into the cave. Therefore the cave, although enormous, lacks much of the delicate elegance of Carlsbad Caverns. At the end of our tour though there was a place where there was a break in the sandstone and water had been able to drip into the cave for thousands and thousands of years. There the beautiful “Frozen Niagara” can be found along with a myriad of stalagmites, stalactites, curtains, fans and straws. Awesome. With age limits preventing us from all day tours I felt like we got a good feel for the cave system.