Day 3 was the drive from OH to KY. We made what was supposed to be a brief side trip to Maker's Mark Distillery, but it turned into a pretty large detour. It was worth it though. Neither of us are huge drinkers, but we couldn't resist the temptation to visit one of the six major distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon trail. We arrived too late for a tour, but we visited the gift shop. One cool little feature - you can dip your own top - Maker's Mark has the distinctive wax dip at the top of the bottle.
We arrived in Cave City, just outside of Mammoth Caves and settled in for two nights. We started to look at the tours available and discovered that one of them was only run on the weekend - and it being Sunday, it was the last day available. It was a small short tour but meant for photographers. It was a lot of fun and our Head Ranger was a delight.
We took two tours the next day, the New Entrance Tour and the Historic Tour. There is a lot of fascinating info and history about Mammoth Caves. Such as the Cave is the longest known cave in the world. One of our guides said you could stack it against the 3 next largest/longest caves and it'd still be bigger. There are 390+ miles of explored passageway and more coming all the time.
Besides being a National Park, it's also a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve - and its beauty is not only underground but on top. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the caves - not only from the natural cave air-conditioning (50-54° F) and the exercise (what goes down into the caves must come up - and there's a lot of stairs involved) and the unique lighting of the magnificence underground. It's fascinating how beautiful it was and how slow the process is to form said magnificence.
There's also fascinating history in terms of previous owners of the Mammoth Caves (prior to being a National Park). One of the most famous guides was a young slave named Stephen Bishop. He was well known for exploring and has discovered a lot of the cave and mapped it out fairly accurately. There was also a sanatorium in the cave at one time. (Sanatorium being a place for TB patients to recover.) One of the owners was a doctor and thought it would be a great place for TB patients to recover - in actuality, it's a really bad atmosphere for TB patients. Many patients died and the doctor who ran it also ended up dying of TB.
Enough with the talk - here's some low-light photos - most of the reason why I had 1100 photos from this entire trip - when you're not sure of the lighting and you're not a professional, you take a million photos for the one or two good ones.
For more, see here.
Next up: the drive home and wrap-up of our little adventure.