Cathedral Caverns (state park near Grant, AL) with my mom, Sarah, and McCoy - 29 photos

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Summary: On October 17, 2009, I took a trip with my mom (her first visit in years! woo) to see the Cathedral Caverns (they are out near Grant, AL, the newest state park). It was fun, and this is mostly a series of photos of the event.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

(12:45:16 CDT)

Cathedral Caverns (state park near Grant, AL) with my mom, Sarah, and McCoy - 29 photos

My mom likes to visit commercial caves (and I suspect, were she younger, she wouldn't be against a bit more serious spelunking), so Cathedral Caverns State Park was an obvious choice for a point-of-interest during her visit. It is less than an hour East from Huntsville, along Highway 72. If you are coming any other way, then find Grant, AL and head north off of the Mountain on just about any road and follow the signs. The link, above, includes a "Map & Directions" option, and other information for GPS programming and whathaveyou.

We were going to get up early, about 7am, but it had been a longish week for Sarah and myself and we did not really get moving to maybe half-past 8. This put us around 10:00am heading out the door and getting on the road, and we found out, less than an hour later, that on off seasons the cave tour is only every other hour (yes, by the way, it is 100% tour-based, no free roaming, which is a shame. They should totally put the ticket booth and such down in the cave itself for effect). We killed time for an hour and a half and finally got started.

I have been on the tour twice, now, and this time took longer (more people on it) but had less info. This tour guide pointed out a few obvious features but left some of the fainter details to the side. There was a guy, who called himself Gizmo, who was amazing as a tour guide. I had him last time. If you can get him (do not know if he is still there), do so. He talks about the history of the cave, his own exploring of the cave before it was open to public, some of the tests they have done on the cave, and so forth. This tour guide was entertaining, but she was much part of a show as anything. I know rednecks and down-home wisdom. I want to learn about geological cracks and the Oracle of Delphi and such.

For those curious about the "mechanics" of the tour, it is about a kilometer in and out, which is not the whole length of the cave but is much of the "practical" length. There are some inclines, but none of them were big enough to wind me. One woman with asthma was complaining, and some older people have trouble but imagine something like one or two flights of stairs at a time, except flat and stretched out, and there you go. There are a few standard stops on the tour. One of them is Goliath, which is a large column. The biggest in commercial show caves. Another is a "frozen waterfall". It is created by slow water deposit over years. The stream has dried up, so they pump water over it now, for effect. There is also a flow-wall, where slow drips has created a ripple wall effect. There are also a number of stalagmites, stalactites, and so forth.

Skipping to the end, before I show off some pictures, wanted to say that my mom liked the cave a lot. I think she felt that some other caves she has seen have bene prettier, but size-wise, Cathedral Caverns is pretty impressive (I'm sure there are bigger, but for the price and ease of trip for Hunstville, not bad).

Ok, now the pictures. These are mostly sized to 800x600, as JPEGs. I am not a photographer and am not really chronicling anything that might be lost to time. Not all of them are great, some are a bit blurry. Since I did not want to cause any weird flash effects, the majority are taken sans flash. This caused the usual problems where I would have to stand really still. Over half were waste, but I did salvage some that would make fair desktop wallpapers. What remains is 29 photos of fair to mid quality that sum up the day fairly well, I think.

To point out a few of them (all of them have some description if you hover over them, especially the cave-sight specific ones) here we go. (1) is my mom, McCoy, and Sarah. (2) is my putting my head in the shot a few seconds later and makes for a great "candid" moment. I do have blue eyes, don't I? (3) is a "clockwork bug" outside in the parking lot, how awesome is that? (5) is one of the best pictures of Sarah I have, even though she hates it. (7) was kept because it looked like one of those "this was the last picture of them ever taken alive". (10) was some weird optical effect created when someone used a flash near the reflecting pool, I call it the Phoenix. (11) and (12 look my mom, and McCoy, standing and photographing a five minute hallway. (20) is the "caveman", a formation that looks like a caveman holding a club. It's not easy to make out in this photo, but looks really neat in person. Finally, (27) is one of the records that our guide didn't point out. It's a tall, free-standing stalagmite that is not all that wide. One good sneeze and that thing is coming down. Due to the quality and lighting, it is hard to see, though.






























Si Vales, Valeo


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