Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Trip, Part 3

You would think that after everything we did at Mountain View that we'd be too worn out to do anything the next day. After all, we did cram a lot into one day. But we were up, bright and early, the next day and had another full day ahead of us. After a nice breakfast with wonderful avian entertainment, we made our way to Blanchard Caverns.

Violet has never been to an actual cave before, so this was a real treat for her. I remember going there as a child myself and the memories are still vivid in my mind. To experience it again with my daughter, who is relatively the same age I was the first time I went, was a great experience.

A few noteworthy things about Blanchard Caverns... it is the only living cave in the United States. Meaning, it is constantly growing new formations, albeit very slowly. The caverns have two lighted trails that you can tour. The top tier level is open year round and is considered the shortest and easiest of the two. The lower tier level is only open part of the year and is a more advanced trail. The lower tier level closes during the local bat hibernation period and opens at the end of May. Apparently, there is a virus called The White-Nose Syndrome that is killing hundreds of thousands of bats throughout the northeastern United States. The virus has not hit Arkansas as of yet.

Blanchard Caverns is home to six species of bats, two of which are endangered: Endangered Gray Bat (Myotis grisecens), Endangered Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis), Keen’s Bat (Myotis keeni), Tricolored Bat (formerly known as the Eastern Pipistrel Bat)(Perimyotis subflavu), Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus), and the Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis). (If you're interested in bats, then click on the links that are provided with each species of bat that is listed.)

We learned about Stalactites - the formations grow from the ceiling of a cave. Hope they hold tight!

Stalagmites - formations that grow from the ground up. They "might" grow up!

When a stalactite and a stalagmite meet in the middle, they are then called a column.

And if you're lucky, you can pick out a form of some sort while looking at the beauty inside these caves...

Our tour guide said you could tell a lot about a person depending on what they think the previous formation looks like to them. If they say it is a Love Boat, then they are a newlywed. If they answer the Titanic, then they are an older couple who have lived some time together. If the answer is New York, then that person is a dreamer. We had several different responses within our group.

Once our tour was over, we made our way to Blanchard Waterfall. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have a nice little cabin nestled near these falls!

While in the midst of all this beauty I realized how lucky I was to be there with my daughter and my parents. I can't thank them enough for making these last few days possible and for the memories that came with them. I love you guys more than anything and I am incredibly blessed to be your daughter. Thank you for a wonderful spring break.


jodda said...

We saw a sign for that. That sounds so fun! Next time, when Madeline is with us, I want to try to go.
Violet is so cute in the videos. It's great that she's not too shy to get up there. Love it.
I also really like how you are blogging this. What a wonderful record of your memories with her. Years from now this will be so valuable to read, with enough details to recreate some of the things you may have forgotten. I do not do enough of that.

jodda said...

Oh, for heaven's sake. I think I've been on the road too long today and that it is past my bedtime! Lol. That first comment of mine was directed to your Folk center post.

But I did want to say, we did go to the Blanchard Caverns. It was a spontaneous thing, as we were headed to our cabins by the Buffalo River (we were.going to canoe the Buffalo River the next day)We were with another couple and he had suggested we go.
Again next time I want to take Maddy. She is such a geology nut. I was not expecting much from these caverns, to be honest. But I was so completely impressed. I've been to about 4 cave systems, and this was my favorite, I do believe. I left wanting to come back and try the wild cave tour.
I wanted to stay there much longer.
Your pictures turned out great. I got a couple good ones, but just wish I could capture a fraction of what my eyes saw. I will put up my pics tomorrow .
I don't know if you remember the name of your guide, but ours was Megan.
Again, Kim, I love how you are documenting this.

It sounds like she is learning so much in a way she will hardly forget.

Jen said...

Oh, that looks like so much fun and educational too!!