Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bucket List

Metropolis town center.

I have a couple of fun pictures left from Metropolis Illinois. Metropolis, also known as Super City is big on everything to do with Superman and super heroes and villians. It even has a fifteen foot tall bronze Superman statue in the middle of the town centre that has been perfectly painted to match Clark Kent’s secret identity. The town which has grasped the superhero theme and developed it wholeheartedly has photo opportunities all over the city. There is a museum and a very large store with absolutely everything, and anything to do with Superman, that you could imagine. Jessica and I spent quite awhile inside the store looking at all the paraphernalia for sale. Recent items like brand new DVD box sets of the television series Smallville, to old school lunchboxes, trading cards, and comics etc. Clothing, flags, you name it they have it. It is a collectors dream store.

Mammoth Cave National Park.

Our next big stop on the trip was one that we had been eagerly waiting for, Mammoth Cave National Park. Mammoth Cave is the largest known cave in the world with 367 miles (587 km’s) already mapped! Besides the main cave, there are also adjacent ones that are currently not part of the Mammoth system yet. However, as exploration continues, the belief is that some of these will eventually be connected to Mammoth. Located northeast of Bowling Green Kentucky, the Mammoth region offers many different types of tours, and lodging choices, as well as many other tourist attractions for the whole family including the towns of Cave City and Park City. Mammoth Cave itself will blow your mind and this is definitely something that should be on your own "bucket list".
There are about fifteen tours that you can take part on while visiting the National Park. These range from a mild thirty minute stroll to a strenuous seven hour spelunking adventure that requires they measure your chest before allowing you to partake. If your chest is more than 42 inches wide, you will be denied the chance to participate because some of the passageways that you will be crawling through will not be large enough.
We opted for two different trips on two different days. Our first trip was through and adjacent cave called “The Great Onyx.” We chose this one because it was what they call a lantern tour. What that meant is rather then being lit up with spot lights like most of the cave tours, our group of 35 people had eight Coleman lanterns as our only light source the whole time we were in the cave. This gave us a very different perspective, and was the way that people originally toured the cave. In fact, people have been touring Mammoth Cave since the early 1900’s, travelling for long periods of time and spending large amounts of money to see this natural wonder.

This is from a wet section of the cave.

Our second trip took us on a 4 ½ hour, fairly strenuous hike through Mammoth Cave itself. All I can say is that the cave is absolutely amazing. I have been to Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota and have been lucky enough to tour the two big caves of that region, Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, both of which are fantastic, but this one sets the bar to a new level. The sheer size is incredible and our trip is just over four miles in total. After about the first hour (roughly one mile) of our hike we came upon a large opening inside the cave and to my disbelief it was a restaurant! I am not kidding. There were picnic benches, boxed lunches, hot soups, drinks and snacks all available, as well as washrooms. In the middle of the cave! One mile inside, 300 feet down and we are eating soup and sandwiches.
Mammoth Cave National Park attracts over 2,000,000 million visitors a year with over 500,000 of them taking part in cave tours.

Our menu.

Cave Restaurant

Next stop Nashville.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, very cool. Justin you should try to swing by Carlsbad Caverns on your way back home, THEY are truly amazing as well. You could also hit Danny's place (BBQ) in Carlsbad, NM - it's a destination joint for sure. I will tell you more this weekend...