Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Blanchard Springs Caverns in north central Arkansas is one of the most spectacular and carefully developed caves found anywhere. It is still active, and its hundreds of stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones are still changing. There are two main tours to choose from, both of which will take you through large, beautifully lighted rooms that you can walk through on paved trails, plus have handrails for added comfort. For the more adventurous, there is a "wild cave tour" that takes visitors to the undeveloped sections of the caverns. (Find out more at http://www.blanchardcavetours.com/ or 1-888-757-2246.)
Adjacent to the beautifully landscaped Visitor's Center is an exhibit hall and theater. In the photos above, there is a section of a "popcorn" cave formation in the exhibit hall, that tourists cans touch, ( or if you're like me and the grandsons pictured in one of the collages, you can eat REAL popcorn, in addition to just "touching" an imitation popcorn.) The exhibit hall also explains about the "Animals of the Dark"---which in this photo would be Dave, Kris, Thomas, and Ryan. Between the various buildings of the Caverns property, there are paved, wheel-chair accessible ramps that also make a great place for a family photo.
Just a short distance from the caverns, you can take a lovely hike through the forest on a paved, shaded trail that leads back to the mountainside from which the Blanchard Springs gush out hundreds of gallons of water, producing the typical roaring sound (and cooling effect!) of a large waterfall. This water forms a creek and other water features that can be used for fishing, wading, or hiking beside.
About ten miles from Blanchard Springs Caverns, is the town of Mountain View, as well as the Ozark Folk Center. Both of these places are known for their mountain music, so not surprisingly, a popular stop there is The Dulcimer Shop. In the photo collage above, Ryan and Thomas (both accomplished guitar players) try their hand at one of the dulcimers crafted right there in the back of the dulcimer shop (A large glass viewing window allows visitors to see the actual "manufacturing floor" of the dulcimer shop in operation). Also adjacent to the shop is an old-time log cabin, which is the perfect location for a "Kodak Moment" to record your trip to the Ozarks. For more information about the numerous attractions, activities, and lodging available in this area, log on to gateway@ozarkgateway.com or phone 1-888-679-2859. The Ozark Mountains are a jewel in the crown of middle America that are just waiting for YOU to come visit! Miles of smiles! Tricia p.s. If any of you have "issues" (aka "fears") of going deep underground, or being afraid of the dark, you can find comfort in this Message paraphrase of Psalm 139, which I have nicknamed "The Psalm of the Expeditioner": "Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you're there! If I go UNDERGROUND, you're there! If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon, You'd find me in a minute---you're already there waiting! Then I said to myself, 'Oh, he even sees me in the DARK!' At night, I'm immersed in the light! It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you,; night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you." (verses 7-12)Posted by Picasa