Sunday, September 20, 2015

Howe Caverns

Howe Caverns
June 6th 2015

In my attempt to catch up on all my behind blogging I realize I am a little out of chronological order and many of these posts are rushed...but here goes a great day spent at a big cave deep in the hills of upstate NY farming country.

I went to Howe Caverns when I was a kid with my family, Kelly and I brought our older kids when they were little. We just had to bring these guys for their own experience. Things haven't changed that much over the last 30 years...but there a few changes, this introduction before we entered the caves. We were entertained with a discussion with Mr. Howe himself.
and some interesting artifacts. is Mr. Howe explaining how he found the original entrance to the caves way back when...
as the story goes...Howe was a farmer as most people in the area and he had cows, also like most people in the area. He couldn't understand why his cows would crowd near this one area until he himself investigated and there was cool air rushing up from the ground....and there deep in the ground was the caves or caverns depending I guess on what you prefer, I wont go into the long and the short of it, but this area was not Howe's land originally and he bought it off some neighboring farmer...sorry for that guy, because the caverns became a big attraction for Howe and many others after him. There was some details (I seem to have forgotten) where the land traded hands and Howe lost it or some such story...but it has remained Howe Caverns for always,
After a little introduction we all boarded the elevator and descend to the cave opening. (Back in Howe days there was no elevators...but lots of climbing, crawling and SPUNK-LING!!! We fortunately had pathways, lights and a very friendly guide to take us through these caves.

Not much to say about these pictures, these are caves after all, There is a lot of ROCK, a few streams and yes.....bats! (which we never did see).
 Apparently the is not much life down deep in these caverns, the only plant life has entered as spores brought in on visitors clothing...and it is a bit cooler then up on the outside, I think it was a something like a constant 64 degree's.  

Got a shot of the boys, as they listen about the caves.

These big white rocks are calcium deposits made from water dripping through the rocks above. It must have taken many years of dripping to create this big beauty.
Caves have stalactites and stalagmites. I think I know the difference.....but please correct me if I got them mixed up. Stalactites hold "tightly" to the ceiling while stalagmites grow up so they "might" touch the cave ceiling one day. maybe this is a silly way to remember the differences, but I think it works.
Notice the green lichen growing noted above without visitors(and the lights of the tour) there would be NO plant life growing inside these dark caves,

These rock formations look deceiving, It almost looks like you could sick your finger in these soft looking stone like wet cement....(DO NOT TOUCH BY THE WAY....your causing DAMAGE to the rocks.) but these are hard stone, We were told NOT TO TOUCH,,,,(we did get to touch a stone later) and you can see how the touched formations have a very different look then these below.

They call this one the honeycomb.
and how about this created a large jetted rock that resembles a walrus.

Here we were able to touch the calcium rock. Notice the difference from the picture above. The oils on peoples hands created an effect on these rocks. It feels like bone and very smooth.

Go ahead touch it,,,,
A shot of the brothers,.

So there is a funny story about this picture....SPOILER ALERT!!! Stop reading now if you plan to go to Howe and want to hear the silly story yourself...but as the story goes there was a troop of boy-scouts visiting the caves and one scout had a pet mouse...(I cannot recall the mouse's name) which he had in his pocket during the tour...apparently the mouse bit the young scout which the scout then threw the mouse,,,he landed in the ice cool waters below and he jumped so high from the cold he hit the ceiling and froze there....below is this very mouse frozen to the ceiling wall. (It actually looks like a mouse in real life...this picture does not do it justice.) I will let you decide if this story is true or not. 

This beauty is called the can actually hum into it can it echos though the cave.
Our tour guide gives us a listen....
then Devon gives it a try.

A few more cool formations...and soon we are on our way to the best part of Howe caverns...the BOAT rides.
The boat ride is definitely one of the high lights of the tour. (can't you tell by the enjoyment on these little faces....not.)

well for some there was a few smile....

still no joy on this face...
but these guys were all smile...

The cave actually has a wedding alter. (I couldn't get a picture as there were so many people on our tour). Below Kelly here is a heart shaped calcium rock. Legend is if you stand on this with your lover you will be married within the year, Single you will find your true love,...Married...well??? I guess you will stay in LOVE forever. Kelly stepped all over that heart!! 

Blog this a stalactite or stalagmite?

as the tour comes to its end,,,there is a series of winding tight trails carved into the rock from running water....Its really cool...

here is a tight corner,.
Back into the light of day...
We ended the tour with some ice cream....from a machine. The boys only wanted it because of how it was delivered. 

and would you look at that,.
They also make cheese, which they age in the caves,,
apparently they are big on motorcycles too, Im not sure what this has to do with the caves, but the bike was pretty neat,

This day trip ended with a few new facts, some memories and a long ride back home through the farms of upstate NY.