What's this? It's the sealed entrance to MAMMOTH Cave! Here we are with our new friends, waiting for that door to open. They allow only a certain number of people through that door at a time, to ensure the cave stays at its natural temperature. This particular cave is called "New Entrance." New entrance my hiney, it was opened in the 1920's. That's not so new! What was new, were the 500 stairs we trekked, 3/4 mile hike through the cave, 250-foot descent to the cave's bowels and the 2-hours the tour took. But I wasn't complaining!
Here are my guys, hunching over to fit through the narrow and low-hanging passageways. I could walk upright through many of the passages, but they spent most of their tour in this position. Or lower. There were areas where I had to bend low. These dudes are over 6-foot...MAMMOTH!
This is a rock formation. I believe that it's part of the Frozen Niagara formation...I'm not one to hold up the tour to take a photo. I just point and shoot. I guess you could call me a straight-shooter. Anyhow, this is no Frozen Niagara. I grew up on an island in the middle of the Niagara River (hello, Grand Island readers!), a short distance from Niagara Falls and there is no comparison to the real Niagara Falls in a frozen state. But the rock Falls were pretty, in a cave-pretty way.
Upon completion of the New Entrance Tour, the lovely Ranger suggested we check out the Historic Entrance cave, just up to the gate, as our tickets wouldn't allow us the whole tour of this cave. We were game, this was the cave my parents took us to as children. Nostalgia runs deep in my bones. We met a friendly Ranger who invited us on this tour...I told him that our tickets weren't for that tour, but he was feeling generous and invited us along anyway. Hey, it was free! Jason and I said, "Yes!" So 2-hours, 2-miles, 457 stairs with an elevation of 300' , a hungry teenager LATER, we emerged from the cave and slowly crawled (like the Comcast turtles) back to our car. I slept rather soundly that night and was pretty sore for the next few days. But it was all worth it!
WHAT AN AWESOME DAY!