For anybody out there looking for an adventure, the “Wild Cave Tour” at Mammoth Caves in Kentucky is awesome! I appended 2004 to the title of this post because I would most definitely do it again next year.
The cave system at Mammoth Cave National Park is the largest in the world with over 630 miles of known tunnels and passage ways. To give you an idea of how much that is, we spent about 6 ½ hours in the caves and covered 5 ½ miles of it. Most of the tours at the park involve walking through the well-lit, even-surfaced, chasms and avenues in the cave system. I’m sure these would be nice if you were breezing through Kentucky in your travels, but to really experience the caves, you need to crawl through areas like Bare Hole, Kathleen’s Crawl, Cheese Grader, Hell Hole, and Hooter Alley. It’s only then that you get to see amazing things like Cathedral Domes, Otter Slide, The Lion’s Head, Lida’s Pass, Big Break – and of course the rock formation that looks like the Starship Enterprise.
You can see most of the pictures I took on my trip at Amesnjas, but here are a few of the best.
- The before-picture of our crew in front of the bus that would take us to the Carmichael Entrance to begin our Wild Cave Tour.
- Doug squeezing his way out of Bare Hole. This path got its name from the stories of explorers needing to remove clothing in order to make it out the other side.
- Obviously, the lighting scenario underground isn’t the best for photography. This is the best shot I could get in Cathedral Domes.
- One of the most interesting holes was called Shotgun. You could choose between a tight squeeze in the top path, or a somewhat easy crawl through the very wet bottom barrel.
- My favorite crawl on the trip was called No-Name Pass. The width of the tunnel is about 5 or 6 feet, but the height narrows down to exactly 9 inches before you come out. This is so tight that you can’t even turn you helmet vertically to see where you’re going.
- …and here’s the after shot. We were all tired, hungry, and ready for a hot shower!