Thursday, March 5, 2020

Mammoth Cave Sink Trail, Echo River Spring Tail, and Whites Cave Trail

A great day of hiking with perfect temperatures.  It was in the 50's and by the time we were done we had shed coats.  I need to start actually keeping track but I think we went 2 or 3 miles this morning. We need to slowly build up since it's been a while since we've done much hiking.

I think the trails we took today were listed as moderate, and as opposed to yesterday, they had switchbacks.  That, and minus the dog in a stroller, made for nicer hiking.  With the exception of maybe one rocky place we could have actually taken the stroller though, which surprised us.

Dome Sinkhole
The Dome Sink was big and from afar looked like a bowl.  The surrounding water all runs to the bottom where it sinks into the cave forming vertical shafts.  There are lots of sink holes but Dome Sink has created one of the biggest shafts, 192 feet from top to bottom.  Despite the colder night temperatures (it's been in the mid to upper 30's but tomorrow night is projected to be 25𝇈) it was surprising to see yellow flowers blooming along the path, and throughout the park for that matter.  Anyone know what they are?

On the Echo River Spring Trail there was a small building labeled the "CCC chlorinating house." During the depression the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, was established to provide jobs and  to improve public lands all over the U.S.  Between 1933 and 1944 they had thousands of young men in 4 different CCC camps doing work at Mammoth. They built roads and trails, and planted trees, among other things. The chlorinating house was basically a state-of-the-art sewage treatment facility for the CCC encampment.  Because of its size and location it was abandoned in 1995.
CCC Chlorinating House

On the Echo River Spring Trail we actually saw a spring today.  You can see the ripples in the water where the spring is coming up.  Where in the heck is the Whites Cave????  We would like to know!  One end of the Sinkhole Trail had a sign pointing down the trail.  The other end of the trail did not and we found no evidence of a cave.
Echo River Spring

We came back in the afternoon and took the .1 mile Sand Cave Trail.  It tells the story of the cave explorer Floyd Collins and his tragic death in a cave entrance at that spot.

We really enjoyed our hiking today.  We actually blew the dust off of our hiking boots and dug out our hiking poles for the trip.  My pole had somewhere lost it's rubber foot and the tip would get stuck between the boards on the decked part of some of the trails and the joints on the cement paths so that needs to be remedied.  Tomorrow it's on to a cave tour.  Hope I don't get stuck in "Fat Mans Misery!"  I failed to mention that I am very claustrophobic.  Wish me luck.

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