Photo Series: Camping at Mammoth Caves

BY: KELSEY PLASSE

Similar to Gia Mariani, I also went camping over fall break. A few friends and I went to Mammoth Caves which is a national park in Kentucky. Mammoth caves is the longest cave system in the world of which only 420 miles of the cave has been explored and mapped. Mammoth Caves was officially named a national park in 1941, but it had many visitors prior to the national park’s opening. To safely explore the caves, you have to book a tour. We went on the “Historic Tour” which was 2 hours long and a total of 2 miles. We were able to learn a lot about the history of the caves which I found particularly interesting. Unfortunately, due to the caves being underground, the lighting was not always ideal.

The historic entrance to the cave. 
This is a photo of Annie, Mitchel, and I taken by my friend Megan. 
For thousands of years bats lived in Mammoth Caves and deposited guano (bat feces) in the soil. This made the soil extremely rich in calcium nitrate and when calcium nitrate is mixed with  other high potassium minerals, it forms saltpetre. Saltpetre is an essential component of gunpowder, so the caves were mined in the early 1800s. Pictured here is a contraption that was used to get water down into the caves by using hollowed out logs. 
People used to sign their names on the walls and ceilings of the cave when they visited. In the bottom of this photo you can see someone signed their name in 1839. 
Our tour went about 370 feet underground ( a football field is 360 feet long), so this underground tower was to help get back up to a higher elevation and exit the cave.  
There’s also a lot of hiking trails in the park. This is a picture from the top of the Green River Bluffs trail.
Here is a picture of the campsite. We stayed at Maple Springs which was a part of the national park. 
On October 8-9th, there was a meteor shower. The sky was super clear so we got to see some meteors. This was one of my attempts at taking pictures of the stars for the first time. 

Resources: 

Check out the national park website for mammoth caves for more information: https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/explore-parks/mammoth-cave-national-park 

To Reserve a cave tour (you can also reserve a campsite using this website): https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/234640 

Hiking trails (I always use AllTrails, they also have an app): https://www.alltrails.com/ 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s