Blanchard Springs Caverns
Today, we had a trip to Blanchard Springs Caverns. It was a bit of a late start this morning, so we didn’t get on the road until noon or so – and decided to stop in the town square for a bite to eat.
Luckily for us, the folks at “old Tyme on the Square” were up for cooking us breakfast, at any time.
The owner came by our table a few times, refilling the coffee and chatting a bit. As we were preparing to leave, he asked if we wanted desert. In particular, if we were interested in trying out the “Vinegar Pie.”
We all decided to split a piece, and you know what? It was absolutely DELICIOUS. No vinegar taste whatsoever (although I guess there is a smidgin in the recipe).
When we asked him if it was a family recipe… he leaned over the table, and placed his hands down on the tablecloth. He lowered his voice and said: “My mother is 88 years old. She found this recipe on the Internet.”
Fast forward another hour and a half, and we arrived at Blanchard Springs Caverns. Lots of winding roads, but definitely worth the trek out.
As we were waiting to go on our tour, we stepped outside to check out the hummingbird feeders by the side entrance.
I’ve only seen one once before (back when I visited Abbey in Carbondale). Glad I got the chance to see a ton of them, up close.
All told, there were three feeders and maybe 7 or so hummingbirds at any given time.
A lot of my photos didn’t turn out well belowground. The caverns were lit, but rarely well enough to allow for good photographs.
I added this pic (above) in the hopes that it provides some frame of reference for how big this room really is.
This is the first room of the “Dripstone Tour.” Named the “Cathedral Room,” it really is quite something to see. I don’t know if this photo does the size of the room justice – hidden in the darkness between the lights are a series of pathways and trails, extending all the way back and curving to the right.
A closeup of one of the columns.
Again, the size may be deceiving – these were massive in size.
The material that the columns are made of is somewhat brittle, only slightly stronger than our fingernails.
The main column in the room. A total of 22 people can surround this column, holding hands.
To put it even more in perspective: nearby, there is a thin stalagmite that is considered the most “active” stalagmite in the cavern. It receives constant droplets of water, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our guide said that if we were to come back in 100 years, we would notice an additional layer of stone equal to a really thick layer of paint.
Opera box. Aptly named in part for the guy who did all the lighting in the cavern – an engineer who previously had done lighting work for opera houses.
More stalactites in the Coral room.
The “Soda Straw” room.
I wish these pictures were better – there were TONS of little tiny “straws,” each one hollow in the middle.
Tons and tons of little tiny straws.
Outside, we wandered down to the Cavern Springs… the water looked crisp and clear, but I’m really glad I didn’t follow my impulse to drink. Apparently, this is where all the water from the caverns exits… and it’s chock full of bat guano and decomposing matter. There was a large sign near the mouth of the entrance, warning visitors not to drink.
But… it was still safe enough to take a quick dip.
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