Monday, September 8, 2014

Below Hill Country

On Sunday, some friends joined Sam and I on a day trip to Longhorn Caverns. I actually first read about the caverns when working on a series of Texas books for work, and then when recently looking for fun day trips an easy drive from Austin, it popped up again. The caverns are a river formed, limestone cave system in Hill Country. They've been used over the years by Comanches, outlaws, and during Prohibition as a speakeasy. A big part of the basis for their appeal (which continues to this day) is that even in the heat of summer, it remains an average of 70 degrees in the caves. 

The entrance to the caves. I think the blurry light is cool, but it could just be sunblock on my phone camera lens or something. 
Longhorn Caverns were dug out in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Interestingly, only a mile or so of the cave system is part of a state park. The other six miles are all privately owned (I think by one ranch). Seems a shame they aren't using it, but then again, it's probably in a lot better shape because of it. The part of the cave we saw had a lot of damage from its many visitors over the years. There was one big formation where people in the 1920s had carved their names and broken off stalactites that had taken thousands of years to form.

It's hard to get a sense of scale here, but some of the rooms in the cave were truly massive. They also have amazing acoustics, so they host concerts and weddings down there. 
 We took the basic tour. I'm generally a pretty claustrophobic person, but the basic tour involved only a few spots where you had to duck because of a low hang and was mostly just straight walking. Apparently, there is an option for the "Wild Cave" tour where you explore more of the side channels. That one involves a lot more crawling on hands and knees and shimmying, and it's safe to say is not for me. They also have paranormal tours where they turn off all the lights and take you around with flashlights. The few times our guide turned off the lights (she would turn off those in the rooms we'd exited as keeping them on too long creates heat that causes further damage to the caves), I think I had my fill of it, so it's safe to say I won't be doing the paranormal tour anytime soon either.

I included this one for scale. You can see us walking in front as Sam took this from behind. I kept thinking he would tarry too much back there and be lost forever in the caves, but such was not the case. 
 All in all, it was a fun little jaunt outside the city. We stopped at a little diner in Marble Falls on the way back and had some fried things and giant slices of pie. I'll probably have to start focusing on healthy eating again at some point.

A view from the top!
In an unrelated update, we still are without our furniture and assorted belongings. Hopefully, this week. I find the thing I miss most is my blender. Sam did decide to buy a desk the other day, as he'd been toying the idea of replacing his old one anyway. I hadn't thought I was really that bothered by working from the floor, but now that I have a proper desk space, I must say, it's a lot better. I see why standing desks have taken off while floor desks are still yet to start trending.

Dinah also appreciates not sitting on the floor during her work day.  Here she is practicing the art of domestic camouflage. 
Hope you're off to a good start of the week, readers!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're back posting again. I hope that next week you can write about the joys of arranging furniture and being reunited with your blender.