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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

More Caves!

~Wednesday, March 31, 2021~

Day 290

Wow, what a rainy night, as we anticipated. It was supposed to rain an inch to an inch-and-a- half in a very short time span, and did it deliver. It was so loud over the course of the night, that it kept Jeff up. For me, I was so exhausted after the stress of driving yesterday and my moderate back pain, that instead, lulled me to sleep.

Most of the day was gloomy and overcast, but no rain. It was a good day to be underground I guess. We had 30 minutes to kill before our tour, so we stopped into the gift shop where I scored a few Easter gifts for the grandkids! Then the introduction to our cave tour before descending into the depths of Mammoth Cave.

We had no idea just how large this cave is……’ya think that’s how it got its name? It is quite spectacular with its 350+ miles of surveyed passageways,

it is over twice as long as any known cave. Geologists think there could be 600 miles of undiscovered passageways. We toured only about 2-½ miles of it. Though it doesn’t have the dramatic essence of Carlsbad Caverns with stalagmites and stalactites due to most of its water flowing underneath the cave, not in it, its cave system has the most diverse ecosystem on the planet. One of the most fascinating aspects of our tour was seeing the Saltpeter mining areas. Saltpeter was a main ingredient in making gunpowder first used in the War of 1812. Slave labor was used to dig up the loose dirt on the cave floor and settle bins adding water to it and extract Saltpeter. The water was transported by hollowed out logs which are still in the cave to this day. (hopefully the photos do it justice-it was quite dark in there). Because most of the cave’s groundwater originates beyond the park, there is a Biosphere Reserve Program in place to better preserve the cave’s fragile system.

Then we took a hike down to the Green River which is central to the formation and health of the cave system. Sure looked quite muddy today after last night’s storm, with all of the runoff.

After our cave tour we went back to the campsite to let Sadie have some run around time before leaving for the closest grocery store we could find (about 8 miles away). We also wanted to kill 2 birds with one stone to do a little internet research for our time in New Hampshire. After about an hour, we found the perfect spot right in Crawford Notch State Park. We nearly gave up to settle on an RV park at $60/night, but knew we just needed to dig a little deeper, and we're glad we did. Even though there will be no hookups and dumping water challenges, we think it will be a little gem of a place and at $25/night….it’s a steal! With that accomplishment and near dark, we got a few groceries then headed back to the campsite.

We had about 10 minutes left of opportune generator time (cut-off is 8:00 p.m.) to heat the trailer. Tonight’s temps were supposed to get down to 35 or so and with the propane heater not working, we needed all the help we could get. While I battened down all the hatches inside which included putting the insulated covers over the skylights and vents, closing the shades and changing the sheets from cotton to fleece, Jeff did some troubleshooting on the heater. With a little MacGyvering, he did a temporary fix to at least give us some heat until bed. Jeff isn’t 100% sure if it’s the sail switch needing replacement… we all need to stay tuned for that. The good news is the heater, blower and thermostat are all working fine. The problem is the lack of a signal between the thermostat and the blower to automatically turn on.

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