Thursday, April 22, 2010
Finding my inner Morlock
But wait there's more: before leaving, I headed to the north side on an small trail separated by a road from the more heavily traveled section of the park. Some background: the cave is off limits for safety reasons as the downstream mouth is actively used by a rail line moving coal cars, but guess what, on the upstream side the tracks exit apart from the stream that carved the natural section of the tunnel, so with a little wading, it is possible to enter the cavern itself. Suffice it to say, I'm not one to mind getting a little wet. The pictures are poor to match the lighting, so again, you'll need to take the trip yourself.
From there, I've passed through and hiked Cumberland Gap Historic Park (with thanks due to Ranger Byrnes for helping me out with a place to park/sleep for the night), with its impressive Pinnacle Rocks (possibly the most over-used name for cliff outcroppings), but most amazing to me was the old highway over the gap, which was replaced by a tunnel in 1996. In just fourteen years, likely with some assistance from the park service, there is almost no pavement visible and it gives a unique view of what will happen to out road system when we no longer have the resources to maintain them.