Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Endless Caverns

The second cavern site we visited in Virginia was Endless Caverns. It was a perfect contrast to the spectacular but super-touristy Luray Caverns. These caverns were off the beaten path, a bit smaller and less developed. We only had two other people on our tour, and our tour guide was fantastic - really knowledgeable and relaxed. It felt more like we were actually exploring a natural site, rather than being herded through a theme park.

Our guide would turn on lights as we went along, and then turn off the lights in the passages we had just come through. At one point he turned off all the lights and let us experience the most complete darkness I have ever felt. We entered the caverns down through a stairway locked with iron gates in a little stone building, and exited up a different stairway into the basement of the main building. The entering and exiting was one of my favourite parts of the experience. It is just so surreal to feel that transition from everyday reality to the strange and magical world underground.

 (I think it's kind of hilarious how much this picture looks like it should be in a brochure)


Monday, September 3, 2012

Luray Caverns

This was the real impetus for our trip. I've been pretty obsessed with caverns for a while now, and when I realized that some of the best show caverns in North America are clustered in an area of Virginia only a day's drive from here, we decided to plan our summer camping trip around going there.

We visited two caverns on our short trip. The first was Luray Caverns; the largest and most popular site in the region. It was kind of a crazy tourist trap, but completely spectacular nonetheless. We were part of a huge tour group (somewhere between 50-100 people?), which made its way through at a pretty reasonable pace, stopping at major features along the way, where a teenager would give us a short canned spiel about that feature. Surprisingly, I didn't feel very rushed or crowded. The caverns are enormous, and once people spread out, we could lag behind at our own pace. I think by the end we had assimilated into the tour group that was after ours. Most of my pictures are pretty blurry, because it was so dark, but I hope some might work for potential art-making purposes. Here are just a few of the hundreds of shots I took.

And, a couple more shots with people, to show scale:

P.S. Does anyone remember my cavern plate? That was from Luray! I think this trip may have inspired me to keep building on my vintage cavern souvenir collection (the contemporary souvenirs were absolutely horrid).

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Back from an amazing trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This photo was taken from an overlook on Skyline Drive, the road that winds along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, down through the whole length of the park. There are 75 overlooks like this along the 105 mile drive. 

Lots of photos to come: more misty vistas, a detour to Fallingwater, and caverns!