Mammoth Cave National Park is in Kentucky, a state not too far from mine. Like many people, I have been to many of the far flung National Parks and foreign cities, but I have neglected some of those nearer to me. So, this summer, being both tight on time and cash, Mammoth Cave seemed like a good idea.
Interestingly, Mammoth Cave doesn't seem to get a lot of the big PR like Yosemite, Yellowstone, or the Grand Canyon. One reason I think this is, is that, being a cave, the park doesn't offer many great photo opportunities. It is dark in a cave! It is rocky and close and otherworldly, and really hard to photograph. Even if you can get a picture, it doesn't translate into a feeling about the experience like big, open vistas do. (I think Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park suffers in this way too-)
|Historic entrance to the cave|
|Going down into the sinkhole|
|Here, the large man in the doorway seeks reassurance from the guide that he will fit in the narrow passageways.|
After entering this through this door, we walked down long, long, long, single file staircases through a twisty narrow crevice in the earth. We crouched along passageways, and sucked in our stomachs, and watched our heads for jutting edges of rock. It was fantastic! Utterly adventurous feeling, without really being totally adventurous--I mean, there was the possibility of danger, but not the likelihood of danger. I had visions of Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and--of course!--Dante--as we wandered through various chambers and high ceilinged splices of earth. Really, really awesome! If you get a chance to go see this, you should!
|Our little cabin|
|Circle of cabins|
Returning to her cabin one evening, she happened to look down just as a snake was waking up and deciding it was finally cool enough to come out to do some hunting. She shrieked. I heard her say she'd seen a snake, so, being something of a snake enthusiast, I hurried to identify it and snap its picture. It was a copperhead (venomous). I was thrilled, though also very aware that my neighbor was lucky not to have stepped on him for she very likely could have been bitten. I contacted the ranger, who sent some other rangers to come collect the snake and move him off away from people. The rangers could not assure the woman that she would not encounter more snakes (they even could not assure her that she would not encounter one IN the cabin--though I know that this would be highly unlikely). She declared she had had it with rustic domesticity and would be leaving in the morning.
|My nervous phone picture of the snake as it came out of from under the metal flashing under the door. Beside him is the corner of the welcome mat.|