Here we are on the bus ride to Frozen Niagara Cave at Mammoth Cave National Park. It was at the end of our camping trip so we were all a little worse for wear.
The cave was very beautiful, with incredible formations carved and created by nature herself, however, these expensive walking tours did not compare with the great adventure we had exploring the many caves around our own campsite...
Here is a before picture of the "older" kids: Brittney, Breck, Garren Allen, Wesley Holt, Christina Holt, and Aubrey (and myself behind the camera), as we are about to go out on some cave explorations. Brittney decided to opt out since she ruined her only long pair of pants exploring caves the day before.
I was a little skeptical as Garren (notice his hand), and Breck climbed into the entrance of the first cave. Luckily, the opening wasn't too small, however...
the kids failed to inform me of the "slight drop-of" once I was dangling inside!
I am still sporting the scars from that fall, but at least my camera was o.k.(here I am checking out my camera to make sure it didn't break in the fall)--at least I have my priorities straight!
Once inside the cave, it really opened-up, but was still quite dark. I caught the kids off guard as the flash of my camera went off right in front of them.
The kids said there were spiders crawling all over the walls, I thought they were trying to scare me and I told them good thing it was dark so that I couldn't see any. Just for giggles, I took a picture of the cave wall right next to me and this is what I saw as my flash went off (the spiders are way bigger in real-life!).
The other thing we discovered crawling all over the cave wall were cave crickets (left-hand side of the picture). I didn't even know there were such creatures until our tour guide from the Mammoth Cave tour, encouraged us not to look at, or touch the walls of the caves unless we wanted to feel crickets under our fingers. At this point I decided my proximity to a million creepy crawly things was too close, so I hastily exited the cave.
I was informed by the kids that the second cave we would be exploring (above) did not have as many insects inside, however . . .
as you can tell by Wesley's decent, the opening seemed a little tight and sketchy to me.
But as you can see, once inside, there was plenty of room for all of us, and, no creepy crawly things all over the walls...
Only bones! Tons of bones! From animals who fell into this cave, but never got out! I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to get out of this cave alive myself!
Here is a picture I took of Aubrey as she was climbing out. Notice the steepness of the walls, now add to that lots of mud due to the fact that this has been one of the wettest months on record for the state of Kentucky, and you have a recipe for bones, from trapped animals (and possibly people--like me). Luckily, Wesley was behind me, and hoisted me up and out of the cave!
Here was yet another cave Wesley decided to investigate for us. We watched and waited to see if he would come out alive...
Fortunately he did, but said the cave was underwhelming (probably not enough mud, drop-offs, creepy things, or bones), so we decided to take a little break from our explorations.
Here is the after picture of our caving adventures. I took this picture to show how dirty and treacherous our caving experience was, and how brave we all were. Who needs expensive, over-commercialized caving tours when we can find them ourselves! I know it was an experience I will never forget!!!
The "younger" kids felt left-out and wanted to explore the same caves. I then showed them the entrances, and explained that there were spiders, crickets, and bones in the caves. They decided to find some different "caves" to explore that weren't so dark and "scary". I informed them that that was a very wise choice!
Here is one of those caves. They had a great time climbing through the rocks, and getting sufficiently dirty themselves. All in all, the caving experience was a fun one for everyone, and the perfect ending to a great Spring Break!