Thursday, August 24, 2006
To Cave or Cave Not
On our recent vacation trip to Branson, Missouri, we visited Silver Dollar City. SDC is a nice theme park with some good shows and rides. OK.
Silver Dollar City evolved around the opening of Marvel Cave. There were cave tours long before there was a theme park.
Of course my husband and both my boys wanted to go on the cave tour. My first thought was that I would just do a little shopping while they went caving. But the tour lasts one and a half hours. There is just so much artsy-craftsy shopping I can take, so I started considering joining them on the tour. Mark assured me that I could do it and Jonathan told me I could hold his hand if I needed to. So we go and get in line to join the last tour group of the day. A park ranger/tour guide spoke to our group. She warned us that there were no restrooms in the cave, so go now. Also, she said, if you have a fear of bats, the dark, heights or tight spaces, you might want to reconsider. Now I am nearly in tears. I looked at Mark and reminded him that I was not happy with ANY of these things. I got more reassurances from my guys. With shaky legs I started down the steps to get to the "mouth" of the cave. Jonathan stuck close to my side and encouraged me the whole way. Jackson and Mark hung together.
When I have heard the word cave in the past, I always pictured a carved out space in the side of a mountain or something like that. Something that a bear might hibernate in. This cave was nothing like that. It is a monstrous hole in the earth.
Check out the picture. That hole in the "ceiling" and that long set of stairs coming down is just the beginning of the cave tour. We went hundreds of feet under ground. There are many different "rooms" down there, including the Waterfall Room. It was amazing. It was a little scary at times, but I had my brave guide Jonathan to help me. I am actually glad I did it. But do not ask me to do it again.