Day 3 was Tippy’s day, even though it started out on a somewhat of a sour note.
Our room was at the end of a very long hallway. (Pssst! Don’t tell anyone, but L. and I would get on opposite ends and call Tippy back and forth, so she could get some off leash exercise. She loved it, but I’m not sure what the other guests thought about the herd of horses they heard galloping up on the 4th floor.) When I took Tippy out, if no one was in the area, I would let her leash go and she’d head for the elevator. On this morning, the maid was already making her rounds, about half way down the hallway. I didn’t think anything about it, as she was in a room and only the cart was outside. I forgot that Tippy barks at things that are “out of place,” which is what she perceived the cart to be. She let out one of her “I’m going to get you” growls and then barked/howled, just as the maid stepped out of the room. She jumped back as I ran to retrieve Tippy. I assured the maid it was the cart that she was growling and barking at, but I’m not sure she was convinced. I saw this same maid the next morning and apologized again. She was very nice and said that it had just startled her…one minute it was very quite and the next…….
After all of the normal morning things were done, Tippy and I set out for a day of hiking on some of the trails in the Mammoth Cave National Park. We met L. at her office, and all three of us set out for our morning hike.
We started out at the picnic area, see below, went along Bluffs Trail, followed the Green River trail down to the river, over to the River Styx, back up to the Historic Entrance, on up to Dixon Cave, and back to the picnic area. It wasn’t a particularly long hike, but, with the hills, rocky trails, and stops along the way, it took us about 2 hours.
I made the mistake of using Tippy’s short leash for this walk, so, she keep pulling me to get to all of the interesting things she wanted to explore. I eventually released the leash and let her go on ahead. She didn’t stray far from us and never got off of the trail.
She enjoyed all of the new smells. Our first stop was the overlook for the Green River, which helped carve out the Mammoth Cave system.
The next overlook was for the River Styx Spring, which is still working, along with the Green River, to carve out the caves. It emerges here for a short distance before disappearing underground again. The water was really clear and beautiful. I wish we could have gotten closer, but I guess they keep people away for a reason.
From there, we hiked back up the mountain to the Historic Entrance, which is closed for repairs. Some of the workers were taking a break, so we stopped to talk to them for a few minutes. I failed to take any pictures.
We hiked on up to Dixon Cave. That was a very steep portion of the trail, so we took our time and found excuses to stop and rest – like taking a picture of Tippy. Dixon Cave is a protected habitat for the endangered Indiana Bat. People are not allowed in this area of the cave system. All of the bats in the area are in danger from a fungal infection called White Nose Syndrome. In an effort to help prevent the spread of the disease to other cave systems, everyone who visits the caves are required to walk through a turf mat treated with fungicide after every cave tour.
We went back to L.’s office, an old farm house converted into an office building, for a lunch of leftovers from dinner the night before. We had a lovely rest on the screened in back porch.
L. had to work in the afternoon, so Tippy and I set out on our own for a hike recommended by one of the staff. After a 15 minute drive, we arrived at the trailhead for Cedar Sink.
This is, as the information states, a Karst Window, a sinkhole where a subterranean river emerges and then disappears again underground. I was excited to see this process in action, but, wound up a little disappointed. It had been so dry in the area for the past couple of months, that there was no water flowing. Still, it was a nice hike.
This time, I remembered to use Tippy’s long line. It was so much better – no pulling at all.
The trails here had recently been updated and were covered with a packed down, finely ground up, rock layer. It almost felt like a walk on the beach. The path down into the sink was not a path, but several flights of stairs. Tippy was not so sure about the open grate design. I let her step up and off as much as she wanted. It only took three tries before she got on with all four feet. I did have to coax her down the first flight, but, after that, she was fine with it.
On the way down, we stopped to take a short side trip on a rock ledge with a giant rock overhang. I have been in similar situations before and always feel like the overhang is going to fall on my head. So, we didn’t stay there very long.
Once we got to the bottom, you could see at least 3 places where the would be river flowed underground.
The trip back up out of the sink was another set of stairs. Fortunately, these were not of the grate construction and Tippy ran right up. We took lots of breaks on the landings, as I do NOT do well with stairs. The second picture below is of the same area as the last picture above, but taken from the top of the stairs.
We passed a couple of people on the way back to the car, but, for the most part, we were alone on this trail. It was beautiful. I just wish water had been flowing.
There were wild turkeys in the lawn of L.’s office when we pulled back in. Tippy really wanted to get to them.
It was a very nice day, and we were tired, so sat outside to wait on L. to finish her work. We then drove around the park, stopping by the Green River. On the way back, we spotted a huge deer in the field beside of L.’s office. By this time, Tippy was ready to get back to the hotel, so she ignored it.
Day 3 was adventure filled, and I was proud of how Tippy handled all of the new things she experienced.