Monday, July 16, 2012

Very Grateful

We just returned from a trip up to Northern Indiana.  We go every year for Steve's family reunion at a lake house and we usually tack on an extra couple things to do on our way.  This year we broke the trip into two travel days and on our first day we stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park.  We also took a day during the week and traveled up to visit the Mouro Family in Howell, Michigan.

We had a wonderful trip!  The boys did great in the van...Samuel is just a laid back baby and he didn't fuss too much.  Micah and Andrew did a great job handing him toys and snacks.  Benjamin watched Bolt on Steve's I-pad an ashamedly large number of times :).  And we listened to several of our favorite audio stories.  These are radio dramas of Lamplighter Publisher books.  These stories have become very dear to our hearts.  They are truly life changing!  We couldn't recommend them enough-and I'm thrilled to see that they have produced another set of 6 stories.   Christmas..... !!!!

This picture is priceless!  Look at me!

This is the "Historic" entrance to the cave.  The day was so hot but as we got closer to the mouth of the cave an amazingly COLD breeze was blowing up from the cave.  It felt so good!  I think the tour guide said the temperature was 55 degrees in the cave.  Very nice :)

Benjamin had not napped and he was super tired and scared inside the cave.  There were times where our tour guide turned out all the lights (there weren't many-the cave was mostly dark) and blew out his kerosene lamp and let us experience what absolute total darkness is.  I'll not forget that.  Neither will the boys I suppose.  I think it scared Benjamin though!  So all that to say that Steve did have to carry Benjamin-big Benjamin-in the ergo on the front!  No back pack carriers were allowed-but for good reason.

Several portions of the cave were very tight.  I think this is our descent into some very narrow parts of the cave.  I didn't take many pictures because I was ducking down and holding Samuel tight to my chest as we squeezed through, pardon me, what they call "Fat man's misery"-which was a portion of the cave that was super narrow-we barely squeezed through!

In the center of this picture is the name "STEPHEN" and the date "1842".  It is just underneath the capital letters "JAD".  It was carved by Stephen Bishop, one of the first and lead explorers of the cave.  His story is fascinating.  He was a slave but was eventually freed, 7 years after the death of the man who "owned" him.  I put owned in quotation because it seems to me that no man can "own" another man.  

Early slave guide Stephen Bishop.

"Stephen Bishop was unquestionably one of the greatest explorers Mammoth Cave has ever known. He was in his late teens when he was brought to Mammoth Cave in 1838. He learned the toured routes from white guides Joe Shackelford and Archibald Miller Jr. However, Stephen Bishop ventured beyond the toured areas and discovered many miles of the Mammoth Cave no eye had ever seen."  (

Here we are in "Fat Man's Misery".  I asked the sweet lady in front of me to take a picture for me but, because of how dark it was she couldn't see us through the lens!

If you get a chance to visit Mammoth Cave, I would definitely recommend it!  It is super cool-in more ways than one!  Ha!

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