Family “Hike” – Luray Caverns
Ryan Somma and I had a bit of our own version of “March Madness” this year. Our work had three big upgrades/migrations all in the same month which has kept us incredibly busy and required our continued attention over the weekends. Our first non-workday in March fell on the 17th when we went out for my birthday hike. Our next day off was on the 22nd when we accompanied AmiExpat’s Christina and her two sons to Luray Caverns.
Located just outside of Shenadoah National Park, Luray Caverns was discovered in 1878. The one hour tour takes you along 1.25 easy miles through the caverns. Strollers are permitted in the caverns. However, there are two sets of stairs. We found our usual Moby Wrap to be a wonderful compliment to the tour.
Family Portrait in Cave (Photo by Christina)
Although the caverns are considered an “active cave”, the formations only grow a cubic inch every 120 years. That means young Sagan’s eyes were seeing beauty that for all intensive purposes is identical to the beauty I saw when I last visited in high school.
I found how slowly the formations grow to be the most thought-provoking aspect of the tour. Some of the formations, like the drapery of Saracen’s Tent, were thin and delicate. Some, like the Double Column or the Giant Redwood, towered formidably over us. Some were yellow, some were orange, some were alabaster white. But all the formations shared a commonality–they were formed slowly, drip by drip, over the course of millions of years. We were witnesses to the power of small, almost invisible, change and what amazing and intricate things can be accomplished with time. I was looking upon stone but I left with a much greater appreciation of the organisms above ground.
Stalagmite (Photo by Ryan Somma)
Dream Lake (Photo by Ryan Somma)
Draperies (Photo by Ryan Somma)
Other Visitors in Luray Caverns (Photo by Ryan Somma)
After the caverns, we visited the Garden Maze. I thought I was being all sneaky by looking at an aerial shot in Google Maps the night before. When we arrived, all the brochures and signs featured a similiar view. It turns out knowing the layout doesn’t really help. You weren’t merely trying to find an exit, you had to first find four hidden stations along the way. Google Maps also didn’t help us avoid misleading signs.
Section of Garden Maze (Photo by Christina)
We Fell For It
We finished our day with a quick and yummy lunch at nearby Artisan’s Grill. We may have only had two days off in March, but with a filled day like this one, we sure did make up for lost time.
Tickets: $24 per adult, $12 per child (Ages 6 – 12)
Elevation Gain: Roughly two flights of stairs
Length: 1.25 miles for the caverns