Have you always dreamed of doing this? Spelunking at Howe!

When I was between the ages of 9 and 11, I was fascinated by all things rocks, caves, and fossils. I had always wanted to explore caves, but the only things closest to anything resembling a cave were animal dens in the woods (A, not much to see; B, not a wise idea).

Howe Caverns’ Adventure Tour is a two-to-three hour excursion below ground, with guests suiting up in full gear and exploring parts of the cave that hadn’t been seen in 125 years—many of them narrow and requiring crawling. I first heard about it back in 2010, when I decided to take Nathan up there for the weekend and show him a place that was special to my past (I had always, as a kid, wanted to stay in the Howe Caverns Motel, so it was doubly exciting). They had an Adventure Tour package—and I knew Nathan had done much cave exploring when he was a kid—but I figured for a first-time outing something taming would be a better idea. Obviously, there was going to be too much going on the weekend of our wedding to check it out, so we held off.

We were given the amazing gift of being able to do it this weekend in honor of our first wedding  anniversary! If you’ve always wanted to explore caves and feel adventurous safely, the Howe Caverns Adventure Tour is the way to go (visit www.howecaverns.com for all the details and to book). If you simply can’t do it because you’re claustrophobic, afraid of the dark, or whatever, then you can take this virtual “tour” below, as well as some video. Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: The “tour” below won’t spoil the adventure for those planning to go…there’s lots more to see than depicted here, number 1, and number 2? There’s just nothing like having the full-on tactile experience.

Click on the photos if you’d like to see larger and more detailed images.

Earlier in this post, I talked about why you should never touch an active calcite formation. Here, we get a unique perspective on that fact. Using a flashlight, we can see just what kind of damage the human touch can cause. Check it out!

This will give you a sense of what voices sound like in the great cave. This area is where Lester Howe, back in the 1800s, shot bottle rockets in order to illuminate the 107-foot-high ceiling for his intrepid guests.

Although I keep interrupting because I’m so amazed, here’s an opportunity to experience total silence. It’s weird; you can’t even hear your own body. Laura also describes the intense darkness in the cave; it’s theorized that being in such darkness for two weeks would result in temporary blindness.

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. She has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, served as a co-editor for Read Short Fiction, has judged both writing and grant competitions and co-hosts the Dark Discussions Podcast. Her work Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole is a collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks; her novel, Bad Apple, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. More info: www.kristipetersenschoonover.com

Posted on September 17, 2013, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, Journey to the Center of the Earth Wedding, The Writing Life and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This was amazing, fantastic, wonderful. Thank you for taking us on your adventure! Howe Caverns is such an amazing place and although I wouldn’t enjoy crawling through tunnels there, I can appreciate how exciting it must have been for you and Nathan.

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