Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Today's high temperature was 90° yet I needed my Alpaca sweater from Peru. Why? Because it was only 58° where I was, 126 feet underground in a cave. My son and I went to Cherokee Caverns for a media preview of their upcoming Cool Down in the Cave on July 12. For a (suggested) $5 donation, you can escape the summer heat that day.

There will be another media preview tomorrow. I suggested to the cavern volunteers that they may want to offer the tour to bloggers as well. It seemed to work for the Knoxville Symphony and for Gentlemen's Top Cuts. If any of you bloggers can make it on Thursday evening, contact Jennifer or Jim through the Cherokee Caverns website for an invitation.

Our tour guide was Jim Whidby, who has done a lot to preserve the cave and to make it accessible to visitors. As our tour began, we learned that this will be the final year for the Haunted Cave, a Halloween tradition that has raised money to pay for cave upkeep. Now I wish I had gone to it in the past. I'll have to make my first (and last) visit to the Haunted Cave this October.

Jim told us about the Eastern Pipistrelle Bats which he re-introduced to the cave. The previous population of bats were smoked out after vandals got in to the cave and burned some tires. Dummies. I was hoping to see some live bats, but they must have all been out feasting on mosquitoes. However, Jim had a dead one in his pocket. Near the end of the tour, my son spotted a live Cave Salamander trying to hide from us.

Jim showed us some ancient cave drawings made by prehistoric cavemen Bill Landry for an April Fool's bit.

The natural rock formations were much more interesting. My favorite was the face in the rock. Their largest stalagmite is known as the Capitol Dome, although I thought it looked more like Jabba the Hut.

There were two bullet holes visible in one of the stalactites, probably evidence of the vandalism that occurred during the 1980s. Fortunately the vandals didn't destroy the connected stalactite and stalagmite (the column on the left), which took thousands of years to meet.

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Anonymous Doug McCaughan said...

I like that cave a lot. I'm sorry to hear that they are ending the Haunted Cave. That was always huge fun.

If I am not mistaken, this cave, along with Spring Hill Saltpeter Mine , is on the endangered list because of the Orange Route (a road I personally think is pointless other than to line the pockets of a few developers and politicians).

The history of the cave is pretty neat.

Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous tnvolfan said...

We love the Haunted Cave.

My daughter told me that it's over and she is pretty sad about it.

It's amazing how many underground caverns and caves are spotted throughout East Tennessee.

Blogger Tish said...

Thanks for the heads up, Frank! Sorry I couldn't make it tonight, but it's definitely worth checking out as soon as I get a chance! :)

Blogger bigkazzyry said...

Great blog entry Frank,
Hard to believe people would vandalize something so amazing. I think the wife and I (Parents as well) will check out the caverns during the last showing of the haunted cave.
Random question for you. I'm working on something for my website, do you know of an opposite to procreate? (child bearing definition) I only ask because you seem to know a bunch of random stuff.

I linked to your blog posting on moms blog.
Ryan Kazinec


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