Cory: Mom thought we could talk about Mammoth Cave National Park.
Lark: Why? We don’t know anything about it.
Cory: Because it is a dog friendly park.
Lark: Then, why didn’t we get to go? How are we supposed to talk about a place where we haven’t been?
Cory: Mom told us about it.
Lark: I am not going to talk about a place I didn’t get to go.
Cory: We didn’t get to go because they had tickets to go in a big cave. Dogs can’t go in there.
Lark: Then, why is the park supposed to be dog friendly? You make no sense!
Cory: The park is 53,000 acres above ground with over 80 miles of trails. Dogs can go on most of them as long as we are leashed. One of the trails is called the Mammoth Railroad Hike and Bike Trail. It runs 9 miles long and is partially along the historic Mammoth Railroad. We can also kayak with our humans on the Green River that runs 27 miles through the park. There are even several historic churches and graveyards.
Lark: And I ask again, why didn’t we hike there?
Cory: If Mom and Dad had taken us, we would have had to wait in the car while they went in the cave. The park rangers are very careful to make sure dogs are safe so if they think it gets too hot, they will do what is needed to get us out safely.
Lark: Mom and Dad would never leave us in the car if it is hot outside.
Cory: Well, I guess some people would. There are kennels we could go in at the Mammoth Lodge, but Mom and Dad didn’t think it would be good to leave us there either. So, they left us at home.
Lark: So, they could go in a stupid cave? Made of ROCKS? In the dark?
Cory: Well, if you go to Mammoth Cave National Park, going underground is usually what people do.
Lark: I just don’t get it.
Cory: To tell you the truth, I don’t either. But Mom said the cave was interesting. It was made by an underground river that carved out the limestone rocks. As rainwater filters through the soil, it picks up carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide and water make carbonic acid which eats away at the limestone.
Lark: Ho Hum.
Cory: There are 365 miles of surveyed underground passages, but there might be more than 600 more miles that people have not recorded. There are all kinds of animals that live in the cave. Even somethings called the eyeless cavefish and the cave crayfish that have adapted to living in the darkness.
Lark: Any prairie dogs to chase?
Cory: Above ground are deer and wild turkeys. No prairie dogs, but there are squirrels!
Lark: And we were left at home!
Cory: Mom and Dad didn’t get to see all the cave because most of the passageways and tours were closed due to Covid 19. They walked through the cave and met rangers who told them stories about what they were seeing. Like a place were slaves once dug up saltpeter to make gunpowder. And a place where there were huts for tuberculosis patients to live.
Lark: Tuber what?
Cory: It’s a disease of the lungs.
Cory: Anyway, Mom and Dad enjoyed their visit to the cave, but they said that they will take us the next time they go. They only got to see a small part of the park.
Lark: I should hope that they learned a lesson. Never leave the dogs at home alone!