Northern Arkansas has caves all over.  You can take a lot of different cave tours.  We picked ours carefully, based on a 45 year old recommendation. 

A friend of Rob’s had visited this cave while visiting his grandparents, during a very unhappy childhood.  That friend is not expected to be with us much longer, so Rob wanted to go relive this happy memory for him and share our pictures. 


The memory was of a cave that had three levels, one walkable, one partially submerged in water and one completely submerged.  And, that there was a river that ran out of the mountain.  With those clues, Rob found the cave…easier than our Garman direction thingy did.  It took us down a series of dirt roads that got worse and worse, until Rob knocked on a door and got directions from a very friendly man whose two dogs weren’t sure whether to bite us or lick us.

Always look for signs of your attractions, kiddies.  When we found the right way, there was an 8x16 foot sign with an arrow bigger than me.

The operation was built in the heyday of tourist travel, but it’s fallen out of the touristy attractions, likely because it’s privately owned and they just can’t compete with the national parks service.  But, if you look over the dust of an operation run by two older men (we think father and son) and just get into the spirit of the thing, it can be fun.  We can tell it was a big attraction by the huge size of the parking lot…with two cars in it. 


It was a small tour, just us and another couple, and it lasted about 40 minutes.  There’s a beautiful spider web gate at the beginning, theoretically to keep out bears, but more likely to keep out non-paying tourists.  The temperature is a constant 58* and it felt like there was a breeze and that kept me from feeling any effects of the small spaces.  151

These pictures are all from my iphone.  Of course, I forgot the real camera.  But, only having the phone showed me what it can do.  All I did was point and click.  The phone did all the work, finding a place to focus and then lighting it correctly and then it took the shot.


The guide had the normal touristy lines, but between those were a ton of facts that we were interested in.  Facts about the iron ore in the cave and the soda and calcium and growing stalactites and stalagmites.  They offer several tours at various costs that take from 3-5 hours.  We just paid for the basic, short tour. 


At one point, the guide pulled out a ladder and said, you folks with the lights on your heads are going to go up here and take another route.  He propped up a four foot, A frame ladder and sent us up.


This really gave us a chance to get the experience of going through a cave.  There was no guide.  He could have shut off the lights and we’d still be there.  I asked if we were supposed to follow the wires and he said, no, just make your way through there. 

And, every horror movie I ever saw started flashing in my mind.  It was actually kind of intense, and even though it looked like you could have made a wrong turn, you really couldn’t have.  And, we came out into a wonderful room that the rest of the tour accessed via a set of stairs.  I think he assigned those flashlights to people based on footwear.  The other couple were in flipflops and we were in sturdy walking shoes.  The flashlights just gave him something to use that wasn’t their fault because flipflops would have been dangerous on the slick rock.


One of the tours starts in a boat and ends wading through waist deep water.  5 hours.  Sydney is all about it.  Maybe in a year or two.  Not this year. 


And, she’d have to find a friend because there’s a minimum of two people and Rob and I are NOT doing it.


As we drove back to the cabin, we drove into a wonderful thunderstorm, so for the first time in three vacations, we got to see it rain here.  And, the temps dropped to the low 70’s…same as they are at home, incidentally.  How weird is that?  In Texas, it’s 71 in the middle of July and it’s raining. 

Next time we go to Harrison, we’re specifically going so we can hit all the antique shops in that 30 mile stretch that we didn’t get to hit this trip. 

Because I only had my iphone yesterday, I had to learn how to download pictures so I could access them.  That means I have a quilt picture. 

This was a catch and release.  I just couldn’t pay $98 for it.  But, it was fun.  Not scrappy at all.  This quilter had to buy fabric to make this quilt, meaning it was likely a special occasion quilt.  Look how that pink stripe alternates in every other block.  A good bit of planning went into this quilt. 


Everybody have a great Wednesday.  Today, we’re going to an art museum.  You can just imagine the eye rolling that provoked.  But, I can tell she’s having fun.  She enjoyed that cave yesterday like nothing I’ve seen in a while.  Then, she got to go to the lodge for some alone time on the internet and, just when I was thinking “I’m going to need to go get her”, she walked up the cabin path.  She watches TV with us and laughs and is generally pleasant, which makes the weird stuff a surprise that catches me off guard.  Girls. 

Be well.  Lane


Kath said...

well I never heard of Spelunking before, but I'd definitely like to do it :-D
Good photos, I loved the gate!
Glad you are having a relaxing time with the family Lane.

Coloradolady said...

This is really my favorite post of the week. Your iphone pictures are great. I think I might need to break down and get an iphone, I want instagram so I need an iphone for that.

We did the caves in Texas when I was about Sydney's age. I took my kids to the one just before Georgetown and they loved it too. I had to laugh at the eye rolling about the museum....I can imagine that too!

All in all it sounds like you all have had a splendid vacation, and I have certainly enjoyed following along with you all! Enjoy the last bits you have, I know you feel the week went by so fast!

Hazel said...

Sounds like you are having a great time ,I would love to see those caves ,your post was so interesting .Enjoy the rest of your vacation .

qltmom9 said...

Southern IN has GORGEOUS spelunking...we all enjoy at various levels. I am likely to remember to wear flip flops on purpose! Your Sydney would love my teens and their way of having fun...wish they could visit and get to know each other.


Elizabeth said...

Not just "girls," but "teenagers" as well (lol).

I loved hearing about your cave adventures! What a really fun vacation you're having.

And that catch & release quilt really is nicely made.

xo -E