After staying in Charlotte for over a year, we had run out of places worth visiting!
That was when Mr.Bee and I began to visit towns nearby for entertainment during the weekends.
Thanks to the internet, we found out that there was a lake inside a cave, in Tennessee and the tour inside the cave with its lake is called The Lost Sea Adventure!
With new found enthusiasm, we went out to the said cave, Craighead caverns.
Every tour is a guided tour through the cave and there are other tours like the one in which a person has to crawl all the way in a tunnel till they reach the end. Thankfully, we didn’t take that tour because, I am a self proclaimed claustrophobic! (I don’t think many people take that tour either 😛 )
With our Lost Sea Adventure Tour tickets in our pockets, we looked around in the cave to find the usual stalactites and stalagmites. (I have also been to Luray Caverns in Virginia and Borra Caves in Vizag, India. The Borra caves is so huge and the steps to reach inside are many. I even heard bats screeching on the tall cave ceiling!)
The Craighead caverns was originally mined for salt petre, which is used in making gun powder! Interestingly, the cave was originally discovered by a 13 year old boy. (Mr.Bee was of the opinion that, the boy must have wandered off to the mountaineous region to avoid being beaten by his father for scoring low in exams! Otherwise, we saw no reason how a 13 year old can so bravely go into a cave and discover it!)
There is also a pure water waterfall inside the cave. Once we move deep inside the cavern,we can see a rock formation which is a mini version of the Grand canyon of Colorado!(Time to remind yourself of all the cow boy movies you have seen in childhood! Lets say, McKenna’s Gold?)
I loved the mini Canyon.
As we proceeded into the cave, I understood that, parts of the cave have been cleverly built to look like natural formations, for safety of the tourists. Like in all the caverns with access to people, there were hand rails and some benches to sit at almost every flight.
While in the tour, there is a spot in the cave, where there is no natural lighting. It is the largest clearing in the cave.
Just as we reached the spot, our tour guide, switched off the light in the cave and showed us, how deep inside the cave we were.
He even joked that the person who wants the light to be switched on should raise their hand! (obviously, we can’t even see our own nose in the darkness, let alone raise a hand and vote for the light to go on!)
He also joked that once the people in our group start to rub themselves, the light will turn on! (It was a hilarious moment to see kids rubbing themselves, just as he switched on the light! That guy made a fool of all the kiddos there! BTW, did I say our guide was 15 year old!)
Interestingly, there used to be a nightclub inside the cavern. Since the oxygen in the cave is less, all the people who consumed alcohol never felt a thing while drinking, which made them wonder if the cavern tavern was selling cheap alcohol. In reality, people began drinking more than normal dosage and felt nothing. But, once they returned to the top of the cave, they would faint or become sick because of high dosage of alcohol in blood acting up! So, to avoid such happenings, the night club in the cave was closed up.
Our tour guide knew the history of the cave like the back of his hand….
After the few laughs, we went to the main part of the cave, the lake. Our 15 year old guide drove our boat and he was careful to remind that he was underage to drive, but promised he would drive safe! 😛 (That kiddo tour guide had a Southern accent and cracked many jokes)
The boat for each tour was big enough to carry 20 passengers including the guide. The bottom of the boat had glass in the middle, but I forgot to look through it as I was too busy looking at the fish in the underground lake!
Yes, fishes. The fishes are of rainbow trout breed and no that was not their natural habitat. Our guide told us that the fishes were put into the lake as an experiment to see the opening from which the water had seeped into the cave. In short, they wanted to see where the water came from and where the water from the cave went. Sadly enough, the experiment was a huge failure, because, supposedly, the rainbow trouts are blind! 😛
(Just like humans can’t see in darkness, the fish can’t see in the darkness of the cave and under water darkness is much more!)
So till this date, no one knows where the water is coming from. During drought, the water level reduces too! During high drought, the water level reduced by 28 feet!
Since the experiment with fishes failed, divers tried to reach the bottom of the cave, but the cave had sharp edges inside the water and it was very difficult to maneuver. So, most divers are vary of going into the bottom of the lake.
After a 10 minute boat ride and feeding the fish inside the cave, we returned to the ground and returned to the opening, taking breaks at every flight, because, now the task was uphill!
Once we reached the top, we visited the glass blower in the area, who made wonderful pieces of art.(Couldn’t take better pics because I found it difficult to make sense of the pictures, with so much colours side by side, it all looked confusing in the photos!)
We had a light snack and started for home. But who knew we wouldn’t return home just then?
1. There were many shops near the cave and we browsed through the shops and I bought myself a keychain as a sovereign.
2. There was a lot of rush for the tickets and tours. We had to wait an hour before our tour started.We utilised the time by shopping! 😛
3. The Craighead caverns is said to have the second largest underground non glacial lake in the world and biggest in USA.
4. After the tour was done, we decided on the spur of the moment to visit Gatlinburg, my most favourite mountain town in Tennessee. I have already visited it four times and I would love to visit it 400 more times, if need be!