One of the things we like to do is to visit caves. One of the reason we are taking the route we are is to return to Mammoth Cave National Park.
We had been to Mammoth Cave in April of 2009 on our last return from Mexico. It is a huge cave system (hence the name Mammoth!) and at the time, we took one of the many tours which are available.
This time, we have booked in advance to do the "Wild Cave Tour". This is the most expensive tour they do, at $48 each. But the tour is limited to 14 people and you get to do and see things that are not available to the general public. Our tour starts at 9:30am this coming Saturday. We are excited!
Here is the description of what we have signed up to do...
Meet Mammoth Cave on its own terms as you and a small group of adventurers don helmets, headlamps, boots and kneepads and venture into miles of undeveloped passageways. Climb, crawl and canyonwalk your way through passageways no other tour sees. On the way, your guides will share their knowledge of the history and geology of places like Cleaveland’s Cabinet, Thorpe’s Pit, and Cathedral Domes. You must be prepared for free-climbing cave walls; lengthy crawls through areas as tight as 9 inches high; walking in a crouched position; hand and knee crawls over jagged rocks and dirt; crawling through wet areas; twisting into and out of tight crawlway openings. •6-6½ hours, 5 miles. Tour limit: 14. Age limit: 16+; proof of age may be requested. Total stairs: . Elevation change: 300’. •An adult must accompany visitors under age 18. Chest or hip measurement must not exceed 42 inches; if you are larger, you cannot physically pass through the crawlspaces. High-top, over-the-ankle lace-up boots, with lug or deeply treaded soles, are required. No low-cut hiking or athletic shoes allowed. You will not be allowed to participate in the tour if you are not wearing proper footwear—No exceptions. Gym shorts and t-shirts are recommended for wear under coveralls. Please bring extra pair of tennis shoes or sandals for use during boot decontamination at the end of the tour. All equipment and outerwear provided; no personal caving equipment allowed. Food is available at the Snowball Room. A box lunch can be purchased for $7.50 (cash only). Visitors may bring a lunch and/or water bottle-a small fanny pack will be provided. Bring no cameras—there will be no opportunity to use them on this activity. Requires at least 2 participants. Reserved tickets not claimed 30 minutes prior to tour departure may be re-sold. •Meets at the Visitor Center. Difficulty: Very Strenuous.
And so because we both are in need of new hiking boots, we are headed for the Bass Pro Shop in Clarksville, Indiana, right at the border of Kentucky.
We did end up sleeping at the Walmart in Seymour last night. Way too many trucks though, and we were especially unappreciative of the trucker who pulled up about 6 feet from Sherman (he had LOTS of other places to park) and left his engine running for an hour. I know, we were parked an a Walmart. Oh well.