No, not the book – or the new movie coming out (looks like a fun one!) – but our spelunking adventures inside a natural cavern yesterday.
We visited Natural Bridge Caverns after leaving the wildlife park and it was truly amazing! We went down 180 feet into the earth and viewed some very awesome natural rock formations – stalagmites (coming up from the ground) and stalactites (coming down from the ceiling). We saw tiny stalactites called “soda straws” and huge columns formed when the stalagmites and stalactites grew into each other. There were small tight passageways that we crept around and then we would come into large cavernous rooms, formed naturally and filled with beautiful formations that boggle the mind.
This is a living cave, in that it is still forming and changing. Most of the formations are caused by water, so it is very moist and damp. The temperature inside the caverns was 70 degrees with a relative humidity of 99%. We thought it would be a nice, cool place to spend the afternoon, but the humidity level was so high, that by the end of the tour, we were rather miserable and glad to get out into the dryer air again.
The tour lasted about an hour and 15 minutes. We spent the first half of it making our way down deeper and deeper into the cave, along wet and steep paths. We would stop every so often in a new “room” and the tour guide (who was quite amiable and interesting) would tell us about the room and about what was coming up in our trek. Once we made it to the lowest point, we started making our way back up – also along wet and steep paths. It was quite a strenuous climb up and we were all glad to get to the top again. At one point on the way up, we crossed a ledge which overlooked a deep drop-off. This was the most nerve-wracking part of the tour for me (I’m afraid of heights), but was quickly left behind, thankfully!
Believe it or not, there was one plant growing in the cavern! Our guide said it was probably there as a result of one of the original explorers bringing in a plant spore on his clothing, which fell off and came out of dormancy when lighting was installed in the caverns, giving it the water and light it needed to grow. Here is a picture of it –
Michael loved our visit to the caverns. He said he thought it was even better than Sea World. Matthew and Laura said they would love to go back and do the extended 3-4 hour trek which is offered, involving crawling through 14 inch crawlspaces in the cave just like the original explorers did. It was truly a great experience, which reminded me of the grandeur of God’s creation on a magnificent level. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures taken inside the cavern –