Mammoth Caves National Park

This is a little detour from my usual New Hampshire hiking content. A few friends and I spontaneously drove down to Nashville, TN for a long weekend trip. On the way down, we decided to make a few stops to break up the eighteen hour commute. In Kentucky, we pulled off of the highway to go and check another national park off of my list.

We pulled into Mammoth Caves National Park and drove down a long winding road through the forest. We came to a stop at a visitor center and noticed that for a Friday morning there seemed to be a large amount of people there. The sky was clear and the temperature hung around 65, my definition of a perfect day. We bought tickets to access the caves and went into the park. We walked through a small valley which was coated with daffodils as far as the eye could see. It was odd to feel as if we were already in late spring in Kentucky but back in NH it was snowing.

We walked down a large metal staircase into a large cave opening which had a small waterfall falling over it. We walked towards the dark opening and I began to feel excited and anxious, not knowing what we were going to see. The cave opening had shallow ceilings and close walls, luckily my short stature was helpful in this moment. Once we were further in, the cave quickly expanded into large cavernous rooms. My friends and I walked in awe through rooms and rooms of this cave and even got to see a bat asleep on a wall.

Once out of the cave, we walked through the park to a small lookout to view the rest of the forest valley. This detour on our trip was the perfect break from the car. I soaked up the sun and embraced the warmer temperatures before we loaded back into the car to continue our journey. I’m always grateful for spontaneity and the company of good friends in nature.

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