We got home around 10:30am.
I quickly rinsed my hair in the sink, grabbed a book, my mp3, our cannon rebel, said bye to Mandie, and was ready to go.
Luray Caverns is located in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, which is about a 2 hour drive from our place.
I absolutely fell in love with the scenery surrounding us from every angle! Gorgeous mountains in every direction I turned, and the perfectly colored light, green grass reminded me of New Zealand.
We had been driving for about an hour and a half when we stopped by a McDonalds on the side of the road to grab some lunch. I usually don't like how fattening fast food resturants are...but sometimes their food can be yummy.
I ordered my regular, a hamburger (the $1 kind), medium fries, and a medium Sprite.
My hamburger is usually a small, little rinky dink kind of paddy in a bun. But surprise! When I opened up my hamburger wrapper, there were two paddies! It was rather funny. In all of my years of going to McDonalds, that has never happened to me before!
I threw my leftover hamburger bun out my window and watched a couple blackbirds enjoy a mid-day treat.
We got to Luray Caverns around 12pm and the parking lot was packed!
But thankfully, everyone was visiting the other attractions, such as the café, the museums, a rope course and a maze.
The caverns was discovered in 1878 by Andrew Campbell. He was working in a field in the morning summertime of August 13 when he found a hole that was constantly giving off a cool breeze. He grabbed a couple of his friends and they worked for hours, removing loose rocks until they made a hole big enough for each of them to go down, one at a time. They could hardly believe what they saw!
This is an old photograph of Andrew Campbell feeling the cold air rushing from the hole.
The original entrance is still there today:
When Lacurgus W. Shenk explored the caverns he said that his travels through the caverns nearly equaled two circumnavigations of the globe.
As my family and I decended into the caverns, I began to feel the exact same cool air that Andrew Campbell felt when he first discovered the cavern well over 1,000 years ago!
Our tour guide explained that it is a continuous 52 degrees in the caverns.
Stalactites and Stalagmites filled my vision and amazed me!
How amazing our God is to be able to design such an amazing process!
Our tour guide explained that one way to tell stalactites and stalagmites apart is that stalactites hold "tightly" to the ceiling and stalagmites, "might" reach up high.
In the first part of the tour my favorite part was Dream Lake, it's Luray Cavern's largest body of water.
And it casts a perfect mirror reflection of the stalactites!
(This picture is copyrighted to Luray Caverns. I did not take it.)
My pictures of Dream Lake were not able to capture the breathtaking illusion it gave.
You had to look so closely to make sure there weren't stalagmites coming out of the water.
This is a picture of an active stalactite.
During our whole tour, I couldn't help wondering how much more fun t would be to explore the caverns without a lighted and paved pathway and a guide.
We weren't allowed to touch the stalactites or the stalagmites, because apparently there's something in the oil of our skin that reduces the stalactites and stalagmites of any further growth.
When we reached the Giants Hall, we were in the deepest point of the cavern, which was 164 feet below Earth's surface!
Located in the Giants hall was Luray Cavern's largest column with the height of 47 feet high!
Our next stop was the Stalacpipe Organ.
Our tour guide explained that only 26 keys on the organ remain functioning. And that it is only played on special occasions.
My only question is, how did they get it down there? By the time we reached the organ, we had travelled well over 1/2 a mile!
The organ is some how connected to a few stalactites on the opposite side of the room.
Once the tip of a stalactite is cut off, there is a small hollow on the inside:
Our tour guide played a recording for us, so we could still get an idea of what it sounds like
Our next stop was the Wishing Well.
It is drained yearly and their grand total to date is just over $900,000!!
(All the funds are donated to non-profit organizations.)
One of our final stops was the fried eggs- which was one of my favorite parts.
It was just uncanny how realistic the formations looked to a real, fried egg!
By the end of our tour we had traveled over a mile through the caverns and taking just under an hour to do so.
We stopped at a penny press in the Gift Shop.
We always get a penny pressed during a special trip, where there's a machine available.
I keep all of my pressed pennies in a small money box on a shelf in my room.
And we stopped at one of the museums to redeem our coupon for a free stone.
Dad stopped us at a gas station on the way home to get some ice cream and snacks for our journey home.
Mom and Britney dozed off while I grabbed some leftover napkins from the gas station and a pen and wrote down on them while all my memories from today were still freshly written in my mind.
On the ride home, God gave us all an tremendous light show!
The thunder storm didn't last long, but there was a huge bolt of lighting and a massive clap of thunder that made all of us jump!
Dad stopped us at Foodlion on the way home to grab a pack of bacon and a head of lettuce so we can have BLTs for supper.
We have some ripe and freshly grown tomatoes in the garden just waiting to be eaten!
Today was such an adventure I hope to never forget.
I wish I could upload more pictures. But I took well over 200, and I think that would make a rather long post. But here are some leftovers anyway!
(According to National Geographic, this stalactite is the most finest formed in all of America.)
I hope to explore more in the future.