Lots of interesting formations to see throughout our one-hour tour. One of the most interesting man-made features was the cavern organ. In one large room a clever musician had constructed fixtures holding rubber hammers to a keyboard so that the hammers would strike a stalactite when the key was played. I think the guide said there were 37 carefully calibrated stalactites and we watched as a hymn was played. In a different cave, Jason got to strike a horizontal projection and play a musical note.
Skyline Caverns had fewer large formations and large rooms than the other caves we saw, but its passageways were more interesting, gave you more of the feeling of walking through cracks in the earth's subsurface. Kind of like those slot canyons aboveground in Utah. It was also more natural, there was more walking on actual cave floor rather than constructed walkways.
The sideshow here was a hall of mirrors. Feel your way along, hands extended, so you don't run into a mirror. Sometimes you see your own reflection; others you see your fellow explorers and have to figure real or reflection? We had fun there, too, but thought the effect would have been greater with more people in there, not just us four.
Shenandoah Caverns are the most developed -- it's Virginia's only cave with an elevator and tons of gravel have been hauled in to form walkways that put you at a better viewing level than nature provided. Shenandoah also gets the award for best use of lighting -- oohs and aahs as lights are suddenly switched on revealing all sorts of formations and colors. One notable formation, "once featured by National Geographic," is a pair of bacon slices, seen here. For scale, they're about four feet in length.
The caverns we toured had enough differences that all were interesting, but there were some similarities: all occasionally are the sites for weddings (especially Luray, with its musical stalactites), all the tour guides can find formations that (sort of) resemble alligators, camels, elephants, and cartoon characters. One recorded message was a little strange: Man has defiled God's planet with buildings of steel and glass, but down here underground is still God's realm just as He designed it. Then they turned out the lights on us!?
We finished up our weekend with a short drive on Skyline Drive. Very cold and windy up there so we didn't tarry long. Drove back to Luray for dinner.
Monday the kids headed home. We had a great time -- proved we could all stay in TuziTwo, so we'll do it again some time, some where.
We stuck around for a day of laundry, travel prep, and blogging. Very slow, weak wi-fi connection at this campground, so I may not get this posted until our next stop.
Late in the day Susie and I took a very nice drive, exploring some of the farm roads around here. "I just love these kinds of roads," said Susie -- for both of us.
Cheers. We're off to Savannah, GA, for the weekend.