A Lower Altitude for a Clearer View
Luray Travel Blog› entry 8 of 26 › view all entries
October 16th, 2009 – by: diisha392
The guides had all the regular guests wait until the school group had descended. I put on my headset and headphones and carefully walked down a couple dozen steps to the first room in the caverns. A stalagmite in the center invited curious ones to touch.
Early in the tour, "Stalactite Stan" (since I can't remember his real name) told me about the two most prominent cave features:
- stalagmites which grow from the ground and
- stalactites which stick tight to the ceiling
The frozen waterfall was the first of the sights that appeared on our tour although I didn't linger long by it. The multiple schoolchildren created crowds that I tried to avoid; I spend my whole week with kids, and while I like them, I have a hard time turning off teacher mode and I was in no mood to tell youngsters to knock off irresponsible behaviors (like trying to touch the formations!) Next I found a series of fluted piple-like stalactites interesting. However, the next formation was even more interesting. Dream Lake was a pool of water with an amazing reflective property.
At some point in here, I got my first glimpse of a tall white column glowing up from the depths before. Stalactite Stan wondered if it was a ghost and told me to keep an eye for it to reappear later because ghosts always make repeat appearances.
Descending from Dream Lake, I saw the Totems, columns that looked like really tall, really skinny wedding cakes. Stan described them as something out of a Dr. Seuss book. The Totems also marked the entrance area to Giant's Hall, a large area beyond.
In Giant's Hall Stan pointed out several neat formations: two tall columns side by side (Bride and Groom), high up a Fairy Castle, on top of some other rocks the Little White Christmas Tree.
Walking forward, I could hear some music. I was pretty sure that the recording about Giant's Hall had ended, so I pulled the headphones away from my ears to check.
Out of the Singing Room, I heard about the first air-conditioned house in the area. Located above Luray Caverns, the house had a pipe that brought up cool area directly from the caves.
I passed by the ghostly column again and learned that its original name had been Specter Column due to its somewhat ghostly appearance. Since the trail was in the shape of a figure eight, it made sense that I would see Pluto's Ghost three times on my underground journey.
The pathway then took visitors past another watery attraction, this one the Wishing Well. The money thrown into this well is collected and then donated to charities such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Cancer Society, and the National Education Foundation Grant.
One of the more unique formations was up next. Though small, the smooth round circles were not a shape I had seen before. They truly did resemble two fried eggs.
A memorial to servicemen was the last major point on the tour. A short walk through a few more stalactites and stalagmites, and I was back at the steps.
Popping out into the gift shop, I then made my way over to the Car and Carriage Museum. Since I had paid for the entrance, I wanted to at least spend 10 minutes walking past the vehicles. I probably only spent about that much time there. Cars are not one of my top interests, and I was eager to get back to Shenandoah (and my lunch waiting in the car). I will say that they had nice informative plaques for the various cars and carriages. I liked the display of Ohio license plates with presidential initials.
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