It was pretty cloudy out when we left Bailey's Point at 7:15 and it was a quiet, quick drive over to the park...I just can't deal with the amount of traffic on these roads :-)! I had called ahead to find out about kenneling the dogs, and they have kennel facilities at the Mammoth Cave Hotel, for $5.00 for 4 hours. They are outdoors, but have a shelter at the back in case of rain, and are set behind the tennis court area next to the woods. They were very good, and we settled them in one of the kennels with some water, told them to be good and we'd be back in a little while. Fortunately, when we parked over in the visitor center lot, we didn't hear any barking or howling coming from that end of the property :-)
"The historical tour can accomodate up to 120 guests, but fortunately for us, there were only about 2 dozen people on this early tour. This made it much nicer. Here's a description of the tour from the NPS website:
Entering the cave through the Historic Entrance, you will feel the excitement that intrigued the earliest explorers and visitors. Experience the history and the role Mammoth Cave played during the War of 1812. Large passages invite you to imagine what it would have been like for prehistoric discoverers who walked these passages more than 2,000 years ago. Descend into the lower levels of the cave and follow in the footsteps of the first explorers who crossed the Bottomless Pit. Squeeze through Fat Man’s Misery. Climb 155 stairs up Mammoth Dome and exit through the Historic Entrance. •2 hours, 2 miles. Tour limit: 120. Total stairs: 440, including 155 at Mammoth Dome. Elevation change: 300’. "
I did take a few pictures, it was difficult in the low light situation, especially as whenever we would gather to talk about a particular area, our guide Kevin would lower the light levels even more!
Back at the top, there was an exhibit of artifacts found that date back 2000 years, when the first Indians found the caves. For some reason, around that time they ceased using the caves, as nothing else has been found dating later. The cave was next found in the 1700's, and people have been exploring them ever since.
After we huffed and puffed our way back to the Visitor Center, we stopped for a quick bite to eat for lunch before collecting the pups. It was beginning to get warmer, although still cloudy. We had decided to stay for the afternoon, since the storm line wasn't expected to hit the area until 10pm tonight. There are several scenic drives, and miles of hiking trails, so we thought we'd take the dogs for a hike, and take a drive.
The dogs were quite excited to see us :-). I was glad to see, though, that as we pulled up they were just laying quietly enjoying the day, not going frantic ar barking like crazy. It's good to know they will behave themselves in a kennel, even outdoors. Unfortunately for us, though, as we loaded them into the truck, Al noticed that one of our rear dually tires was going flat! We need to deal with that first, before doing anything else.
We asked the GPS for auto repair nearby, and about 9 miles away on Hwy 65 was a tire place. We headed over there, they took a look at it, couldn't find anything wrong..no holes, nothing stuck in it, no slices; so, he refilled it with air up to pressure, told us to keep checking it during the day, and sent us on our way. It concerns me that it lost air, but I'm happy I don't need a new tire...yet, anyway!
We drove back into the park, and decided to drive over to Cedar Sink Road, and walk the Cedar Sink Trail. From the trailhead information "Cedar Sink is perhaps the most dramatic surface expression of the cave-bearing landscape of the mammoth Cave N.P. By walking down into the sink, one is afforded a glimpse of the region's underground river system as one such stream emerges briefly into the sunlight." It's a little over 2 miles to do the whole loop, including the loop around the sink.
Here's the info poster about the sink.
Once we returned to the trailhead, we all had long drinks of water. Also checked ourselves over for ticks; yes, the little buggers seem to be everywhere! I had a package to mail out to my niece Sammie for her birthday, so we stopped at the campstore where there was a post office. By now the sun was out, and we decided to do one more loop drive in the park before heading back to camp. We decided to do the Green Ferry Road drive, taking us past the Maple Springs Group Campground, down the Ugly Creek unpaved scenic byway, and also across the ferry...take a look!
It was time to leave the park, but there were many more cave tours available, dozens of hiking trails, and more scenic drives available. I was happy to have the one day available to at least get an overview of the park.
Tuesday night was not so good, though. We were watching the local news to keep an eye on the storms, and the weather radio started going off non-stop around 9pm. Severe thunderstorm watches, then warnings. Tornado watches, then warnings. I was not happy about that! I had my emergency plans in place, and knew where to go for shelter if necessary (the concrete bath house!). The local news finally went to continuous coverage around 10PM. The storm from was expected to go through here between 1am-2am. The winds really picked up, and I do have to say, I'm pleased with how the trailer held up during these ferocious winds, not too much moving around at all. I was watching the tornado cone very closely, as it was passing south of us around 10 miles. The thunderstorms arrived right on cue, and Chelsea took herself off to the shower, where she spent the rest of the night. We were up until almost 3am, when they gave our area the all safe signal and the weather radio stopped going off. There were still a few pretty good, deep rumbles of thunder rolling by here and there, but when I got up around 7am the wind had died down, and the rain was done. It's a lot colder though! It was actually quite interesting watching the meteorologists explain about the fronts crashing into each other, showing the demarcations on the maps, and how the tornados form. The only thing that would have been better is if we weren't SITTING in the zone at the time!
So we came through the storm ok, I feel better about riding things out here in the trailer, I know the weather radio works! and there's no wind damage here in the campground. To end on a really neat note, here's a picture of a very interesting animal we ran across here in the campground, and I'm so glad we got pictures because I know certain people would be saying, oh here she goes again, seeing things nobody else does!
Tomorrow we move from here to Ohio for a week before our final move, for the summer, to Michigan. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be cool and dry, mostly sunny, so travel should be good. I hope the weather is a little better in Ohio next week, but it seems as if the spring hasn't been very nice anywhere along the east this year. It's a longer drive, so I probably won't post again until Friday or Saturday. Until then, have a great couple of days! Oh, and thanks to everyone who comments, I love it! Except to Anonymous who posts about fishing...please sign so we know which wise guy it is :-)!!