Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fall State Falls State Park and Mammoth Cave National Park - Sunday, February 27, 2011

What a day! We got up early to go to Fall Creek Falls State Park outside Pikeville, Tennessee. Forecast is for a chance of rain. Weather is cold this morning--around 43 degrees. 

From our hotel in Dayton, we drove about 40 minutes to Fall Creek Falls. Our first stop in the park--Cane Creek Falls and Rockhouse Falls--totally blew us away. From a lookout point at the top of these two falls that flow into one base pool, the view was awe inspiring.

Cane Creek Falls
Rockhouse Falls--An extra waterfall at Cane Creek Falls.

Above Cane Creek Falls were the Cascades which would be considered a full-blown waterfall anywhere else. Keep in mind, we saw these falls in February after it had been raining. Later in the year, they probably have a lot less volume. Also at the first stop was a swinging bridge over the rushing torrent.

Cane Creek Cascades

We drove on to see George Hole which is a swimming/fishing hole in a beautiful setting with a rock wall on side and another swinging bridge. We were taking pictures on the swinging bridge when thunder clapped loudly. I hightailed it back to the car as large raindrops splattered down on me. Once we got in the car, more thunder. 

We drove to Fall Creek Falls, and looked across the gorge at another spectacular waterfall which also had another waterfall sharing its plunge pool. If the day had been nicer and we had more time, we would have hiked to the bottom of the falls.

We also hiked to the Piney Falls viewpoint and another swinging bridge. There was another waterfall, but I can't remember the name of it. I'll look it up later.


After a morning of many "gorge"ous hikes, we were hungry. There was one little town we passed through in the countryside and this was the only restaurant. We had a very different, for us, late lunch. The special of the day was a chicken casserole and cornbread that sounded very good. I got that and Bob opted for pancakes and eggs which also came with grits. Very good home cookin'. Bob got to eat quite a bit of the casserole and I had a few bites of pancake. We were stuffed and there were leftovers, but we had nowhere to put them. I think our total bill was $5.50 for both of us.

From Fall Creek Falls State Park, we headed northwest to Mammoth Cave National Park. The time changed from Eastern to Central Time, so we gained an hour. That was fortunate as we were able to get on the New Entrance tour at 2:00 pm.

Mammoth Cave is over 380 miles long, which makes it the longest cave in the world. It is still being explored and last year they discovered two more miles of cave.

We hopped on a bus at the Visitor Center for a drive to the New Entrance. The New Entrance tour is two miles, takes two hours and is 500+ steps...luckily most of them are going down, not up. (This is accomplished by exiting a different way than we came in.)

The first 1-1/2 hours of the tour travels through different passages on different levels. We learned about how the cave was formed, the history of Kentucky "cave wars," and about other tours offered in the park. The last half hour of the tour is when we saw the great formations this cave has to offer, especially Frozen Niagara. Flowstone formed over centuries lines one wall of the cave in what looks like a frozen waterfall. There are also massive cave draperies, dripstone, angel hair, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, soda straws, and other formations. Too much to take in in the short time we were there. The tour was so informative and interesting, we decided to go back tomorrow for a different tour in the park.

After we left Mammoth Cave, we had to go to Louisville and rent another car. (Long story: In order to save exorbitant rental car fees incurred when picking a car up at one airport and dropping it at another airport, we decided to rent one car at the airport in Knoxville, TN where we flew in and use it for the first part of our trip, then return it to Knoxville. In order for this to work, we had to rent a car in Louisville, KY, then return the first car to Knoxville. You guessed it, that's how we spent Sunday night and Monday morning.) Now we have two rental cars and two people driving. Bob and I both drove most of the way from Louisville to Knoxville on Sunday night, in the rain. By 10:00 pm I was exhausted. We stopped for the night in Corbin, KY, about 1-1/2 hours from the Knoxville airport. 

To be continued...


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