Day 3: Mammoth Cave – Canoeing and Cave Tour

We woke up the next morning at the crack of dawn with little desire to stay in the tent much longer. We packed up the car and ate at Cracker Barrel for breakfast.
We found a canoe tour on TripAdvisor that we decided we wanted to do. We entered the address into the GPS and headed that way. What we didn’t realize at the time, is that there are two canoe places right next to each other and we turned into the first one when the GPS squawked at us. We booked a 7.5 mile canoe trip ($50) on the Blue River and hopped in the van to go to the launch point (Cave Country Canoe). Twenty bumpy minutes later, we arrived. We were told that the trip would take 3-5 hours and to look for the Ferry to land at. The first hour was a blast – we paddled along in the shade,
went back into a chilly cave on the river, and enjoyed seeing some wildlife. An hour later, the sun was high in the sky and the shade was gone on this blistering hot day.
Shoulders and backs were beginning to ache. However, we soon ran into a predicament. We decided to take an alternative route around one of the islands. The current looked stronger and had more obstacles – what fun! Smash! as our canoe hit headfirst into a fallen tree that spanned the entire river. Considering the river is in a canyon,
we had little option but to go either over or under the log (or turn back and fight the strong current). Lauren thought we could make it under where the branch bent up out of the water. Myles was less than convinced. We decided to go over. One by one we climbed out of the boat and straddled the log in the rushing current.
We balanced precariously while heaving the canoe over the log – careful not to knock each other into the water. Now for the challenging part – getting back in without tipping.
We made it and continued our way downstream. A minute later, we looked back to see a few suckers who had decided to follow us and were now piling up against the fallen tree, crashing into one another. We noticed one of the boats trying to paddle back upstream for a few minutes before giving up and crashing back into the log. After that bit of excitement, we decided to pull off onto one of the islands and have a snack and some water. We hopped back in and headed on down the river just to come across a group of people whose canoes had flipped and were full of water. No slowing down for us to help as the current was strong in this location. We maneuvered our way passed the capsized boats and notice all their belongings (water bottles, shoes, etc.) floating down the river. We made a feeble attempt to grab some of it for them but fail miserably. Forget it, they can drink from the river, we’re getting out of here! (There were a couple other boats that had stopped to help already).
Three hours after our launch, we finally saw the ferry! We waited for the operator to give us the signal to land and then pulled off and waited for the van to take us back.
While waiting, we noticed another canoe company (the one we meant to take) waiting for their canoes to arrive.

After working up an appetite, we found a Mexican Restaurant on TripAdvisor to eat at (El Mazatlan). The number 1 rated restaurant in Cave City! We arrive and realize that it is a tiny city that only has a few restaurants. No matter, the food was good anyway. Feeling much refreshed, we headed to the Mammoth Cave Visitor Center where we found that there was only 1 tour left that was not fully booked for the day.
We grab tickets for the Domes and Dripstones tour and take a quick walk through the exhibits while waiting for the tour. We then hopped on a bus for a 10 minute ride to the tour entrance. The tour was about 2 hours long and had over 500 steps. There were many tight places to squeeze through with steep drop-offs all around. Thankfully, there were safety rails for the most part. The tour was very interesting and it was amazing to see all the cave formations. The finale of the tour was the Frozen Niagra – a 50 ft. tall “waterfall” of stalactices, stalagmites, and columns.

Recommendation: If visiting the park, definitely book tours in advance to make sure you can see the caves. They fill up quickly (the tours, not the caves).

After the tour, we grabbed ice cream and looked for a hotel room. We were ready for some showers and a clean bed. Lauren found a Holiday Inn for $79 in Bowling Green.
After cleaning up, we grabbed some dinner at Rafferty’s.

End Day 3.

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One thought on “Day 3: Mammoth Cave – Canoeing and Cave Tour

  1. Pingback: Day 5: Nashville – Parthenon, Country Music Hall of Fame Museum – Marsh Travels

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