Georgetown, TX // Inner Space Caverns
I've always loved the word "spelunking" but I never realized it was only a North American term. the rest of the world calls it "caving" or "potholing." but whatever term you use, exploring a cave can be quite an experience.
while we were on our whirlwind tour of the US this summer, Husband and I dropped in to visit Inner Space Caverns on the recommendation of my sister-in-law. she lives north of Austin, Texas [we were visiting her at the time] and Georgetown was just a short drive.
the Inner Space Cavern was discovered about 50 years ago when construction workers were building I-35. they drilled down to take a ground sample and came up with nothing... and realized there must be a cave.
we opted for the shortest and least intense of the cave tours. part of the cave has been wired with electric lights and a path has been cleared and paved for easy walking [I made the trip in flip flops.] the other tours involve carrying your own flashlight, helmets, and even climbing gear.
I remember visiting Mammoth Cave in Kentucky when I was younger - this cave is a lot smaller but it packs some unique formations into a small space. our tour was maybe 3/4 of a mile in total, and all the ground we covered had something going on. my favorite part was at the end of the tour when we went down to an underground lake. it was so surreal to see the water and the reflections, knowing you were underground.
I did my best to capture things with my camera, though it was difficult without using flash or a tripod. I would definitely recommend bumping up your ISO and opening your aperture as wide as possible to compensate for the low light. [most of these were taken at ISO 800 and f/2]
there are a few bats in the cave, but they're harmless. mostly they just want to keep napping and let you move along your tour. the creepiest part for me was when Husband made a Gollum reference... ick.
other than that, we really enjoyed our morning touring the caves. it was much cooler underground [by about 20 degrees F] and it was a great way to escape the Texas summer heat. and, of course, we stopped at In-N-Out Burger afterwards... so really, a perfect morning.