After finishing his chilling story, our guide then said to just sit patiently and shut off any cell phones or devices. After a small chorus of beeps, dings and sound bytes, the guide then told us to grab the bench edge.
Before someone could ask why, he flicked a switch.
Every light in the entire immense Rotunda disappeared. Footlights, spotlights, ambient lights. Just gone. Replacing it was a blackness so deep it seemed to suck at your eyes. You blinked, you strained your eyes, your body seemed to lurch forward into your eyes, willing your vision to return, but there was…nothing. It felt like someone had filled the world with black wool.
You were blind. In the absence of even the tiniest bit of ambient light and in that entrenched darkness, you knew how it felt to go blind. You couldn’t even tell if your eyes were open or not. It was void, nothingness. Absence.
It wasn’t frightening, just unique, since you knew why the most essential human sense had flickered into a void. My wife and I laughed, held hands (awww, I know. Shut up) but for a moment, I wondered What if he didn’t turn the lights back on? A disgruntled employee, with dozens of cave tourists trapped miles beneath the ground—
Then the lights came back on and a symphony of colors, shapes and images bounded back. Our eyes and minds gulped it in like cold water in the desert. Then we continued with the tour.
Go. To. Mammoth Caves.
If you decide to go, you’ll have many tours to choose from. Your age and ability (and children) may make your choices for you, but if you have wiggle room, these are the can’t miss tours of the Mammoth Caves National Park: the Grand Avenue Tour, the Historic Tour and the Grand Onyx Lantern Tour. More on them HERE.
If you have a beating heart, two legs and even a smear of curiosity in you, Mammoth Caves should take the top spot in future explorations of the outdoors. If you’ve been there already…
Want to Know More?
This is all you need. Mammoth Cave has a page full of informational pdf downloads about the park’s tours and history.