Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lost River Cave

As I wrote in my last posting, the area of Kentucky where we had our family reunion is dotted with caves and sinkholes.  It is all about karst topography formed from the dissolution of such rocks as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum by water.  The park surrounding Lost River Cave is quite beautiful and serene, with limestone bluffs, blue holes, and a natural spring in the valley forest.  Pictured below is Blue Hole #3- a sign near the site notes that such waterholes are karst windows, a place where underground rivers are exposed on the surfaces.
A big attraction in Lost River Cave is a boat tour through the cave.  A number of our family members were able to get on the same tour which was guided by a park ranger.  Before boarding us on a boat she gave us information regarding the Lost River and its history.  Apparently during the Civil War a number of soldiers had fallen into the river never to be seen again.  It was thought that the river was quite deep for that to happen.  Further investigation in later years revealed that a very strong current had swept the men away, and the river was not all that deep.  As the ranger was speaking to us we heard the sound of nuts cascading down, then a large CRACK and a KABOOM as a tree branch fell near where we were standing.  The large branch fell on chairs set up for a wedding.  Fortunately the wedding was to be held later in the day!
We saw the wedding reception hall inside the cave as we boarded our boat.
This area of the cave had been the site of a night club where many big bands played from 1933 to 1960.  The first wedding was held here in 1934.  Our cave tour was quite different than the one we had taken in Mammoth Cave, as there are only few formations here.  Of interest are the fossil markings on the cave ceiling as well as carvings on its' wall by outlaw Jesse James who hid out here.  Union and Confederate soldiers explored the cave and signed their names with smoke-writing in the upper passages.
Lost River Cave is in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  While in that city we also toured Corsair Distillery.  Last Saturday the reunion ended and since then John and I have returned to Southern Illinois.

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