Not So Up and Early
I worked the night before we were going to visit the caves and didn’t get home until almost 3 am but I still felt that we could rise although not shine by 7 am. I planned on us eating breakfast at a local greasy spoon and we would head out. But as with everything that we try to do in our family we are either late or never follow through with plans at all. I would have to settle for being late as my son and my girls were excited to make the 2 hour trip to see this natural attraction in our state. We have lived here for over 5 years and have never been exploring and with summer coming to an end it was better late than never (all pun intended). We stopped at Burger King just in time to miss breakfast and receive a greasy-not-so-great lunch. Service was horrible on top of the food. I was upset to say the least because I wanted things to be perfect. I plugged in my iPod to listen to a mood setting ‘No Sleep‘ podcast which I highly recommend for anyone needing a break from the real world. My son fell in love with the stories and was a little bummed when I turned it off but quickly regained his excitement when I told him that we were 5 miles out from our cave destination.
We entered the ‘Cave of the Mounds’ park just in time to purchase our over-priced tickets for the 12:45 pm tour of the cave. We had 20 minutes to kill and I thought it would be a great idea for my son to do a little gem and fossil digging. We all actually had a blast trying to help him find the gems and fossils. We ended up unearthing quite a haul of gems and the entombed shark tooth fossil that my son desired. That’s when I realized that we had to pay for this loot at which I had no qualms paying for until I seen it was 95¢ per piece. UGH! Now I didn’t want this to be a bust for my son but still needed to stick to some sort of budget I asked if there was a better deal. That’s when the young teen divulged that there were treys in the gift shop that allowed for 12 pieces to be placed in the allotted holes and it was $5.99 a tray. PERFECT! So, my son chose every so carefully his favorite pieces and we were on our way without a melt down. WHEW. This only made me feel a little more at ease-I REALLY wanted this trip to be great. With 10 more minutes to kill I thought we could ‘mine’ for gems but now that I was quickly aware of the fact that a person needs a pretty mint to enjoy the park to the fullest with all the activities I decided to keep my mouth shut about doing such an activity. Good thing I didn’t because a visitor has to pay for the bag of dirt that may or may not have anything exciting within the contents. I simply pointed out what the trough of water was used for and tried to give a brief history lesson to my son about the gold rush era.
Finally it was time to start our tour. We were ushered into a small room like cattle to watch an informative video and hear the rules of the cave visit. The room was then split into two groups and all I could think was ‘Thank God’. I started to get anxious and claustrophobic and then worried because I left my meds in my locked car. My sons body just emanated his excitement that validated that we had done good. We headed down the stairs, holding the hand rails and the cave was a constant °50 Celsius. So glad that I told everyone to bring their hoodies. I could hear the dripping of water throughout and we were told that the drips were ‘cave kisses’ and my son kept yelling with enthusiasm that the cave was kissing him. All I could do was smile. Below are just a few pictures that were taken. (Forgive the photo quality as these were taken with my phone. Maybe I need to look into a course for cell phone photography? Maybe that would be cool to do.)
We walked through the rest of the tour and that’s when it happened. Tours started piling on top of each other and all the people, voices, sounds, screaming kids, and hyper-awareness of my surroundings I felt a panic attack rising. I started to shake and was quickly relieved when we were led to the earth above.
What To Do Next
No one really wanted the experience of new to end and in our little pamphlet about the cave was another cute little town to visit-Mt. Horeb. The town of trolls. The pictures in the handout looked awesome and there was a museum that we could visit that would explain the trolls and town. YES! WRONG! Although we did get to be the family that took selfies with wooden trolled carvings, most everything was closed. The museum, bistros, grills, and chocolate shop-ALL CLOSED! GRR. The troll carving were unique, creative but also creepy. Everyone was a little disappointed but still had fun nonetheless.
The kids fell asleep to the rest of the scary stories from the podcast after grabbing a bite to eat. All in all a good day outside of me not doing enough research for our trip. I would like to take the kids hiking on my next Sunday off. I was thinking maybe the effigy mountains. Who knows what that would bring.