Monday, January 17, 2011

Florida Caverns: The Review Part 1

First of all thanks to everyone who has inquired on my eye. As you may know last Tuesday night Okie took a swipe at me - actually my bangs - and ended up taking a chunk out of my eye. The E.R. doctor was so impressed he even had Tobey take a look in the eyeball-thing-a-mag-jig so that he too could see my chunked out eye.

I missed a few days of work and laid in bed with a warm compress over my eye and I wish I could say it was better. It doesn't hurt near as bad though and I know it will just take time to mend. I was fairly certain that we would have to post phone our 3-day camping trip but when I woke up Friday morning I felt okay enough - I had my special eye drops with me and figured I could sit in a camping chair just as easily as lay in bed and be a total pain in the butt to everyone that loves me.

So a campin' we went and Tobey drove the 6 hours to the Florida Caverns. When we arrived the ranger informed us that we had a primitive site. I already knew that as I am the one that made the reservations. She then informed us that it was going to be cold and that there was NO electricity at the site. She gave us the option of another site but after the fiasco of Thanksgiving we opted for the primitive site with not a sole in sight. Yipee!

But I'll get into that bit tomorrow! I wanted to share the actual cavern part of our trip with you first. On Saturday after our usual camping trip to Wal-Mart we headed to the caverns which are located within the park. While the tour of the cavern is not free and I can't recall exactly how much the price was (I think about $8 each) it was well worth it.

We started out down a stair case into the caverns. The park lists this hike as moderate to strenuous and I was a tad worried how I would do with my back - but I was just fine. The hike back to the visitors center was rougher than the actual tour. Our tour guide was Joe and he did an excellent job of explaining the different parts of the cave to us and he even gave us our own Chilian Miners moment when he turned all the lights off inside the cave. Dark doesn't do it justice.

The great thing that sets the Florida Caverns apart from other caves I have hiked - you are up close and personal with all the stalactites and mites. Nothing is roped off, they simply ask that you don't touch anything. And the views were incredible.

The Wedding Cake
Each room had a special name and the first room we entered was the Wedding Cake room named for the above formation. Joe said several times a year they host weddings here.

Chewie, Tobey and Nappy
There were a few areas we had to duck walk through and the floor was a little slippery in spots but as you can see it was well worth the minor effort on our part.

I loved the ribbon formations. They looked so soft and fabric-like. One interesting fact we learned was that it takes 100 years to form one square inch of these formations. To know we were standing inside something nature and God has taken thousands upon thousands of years to form was breath-taking.

The exit
And this unassuming area is where we exited from the cavern. If you were walking along you probably wouldn't even give it a second look. Joe informed us the cavern was discovered in 1937 when a tree tipped over and exposed the cave below. While this specific cave showed no signs of human inhabiture there are several caves in the area where pottery has been found.
So while the drive was long and my eyeball was in my lap most of the trip - it was so well worth it just for the caverns alone. I give the Florida Caverns two thumbs way up and recommend it to all you dear readers.
More tomorrow on the camping part of our trip!


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