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Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

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Photo: National Park Service

Have an Adventure, Make New Friends, Do the Impossible

By Carrie C.
August 18, 2013

I just got back from my very first trip to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky with my boyfriend. We had made our reservations a while back and for the past week we had been checking our camping gear and double and triple checking our to-pack list to make sure we had all the necessary equipment. All the while my anticipation was building. I don't come from an outdoorsy family and we never really did anything that I would consider to be an adventure. We typically spent our vacations at the beach rather than in the woods. However, my boyfriend had been to the caves before so he showed me the ropes as far as camping and spelunking went. I started to get a little nervous as our tour guide Tori started to give us the safety lowdown, explaining that we'd be going through some tight squeezes and that there would be no quick way out if we changed our minds half way through the Introduction to Caving Tour which lasts a good 3.5 hours. I had never considered myself claustrophobic, but then again, I had never been underground before. Lucky for us we had two great guides, Tori and Carol, and a fantastic group of cavers with us including a group of boy scouts. The majority of us were newbies and didn't really know what we were in for. Going through the caves single file each one of us was responsible for the person behind us, giving them instructions on the proper way to handle the coming obstacle, pointing out fossils, and making sure they were within sight and didn't get stuck anywhere. My boyfriend and I quickly made friends with the couple behind us who had just been married the day before. We kidded with each other passing back instructions about upcoming views of each other's butts and that my boyfriend and I shouldn't be associated with because we were spending our weekend camping in a tent. The cave never collapsed, I didn't get stuck anywhere and I didn't even get dust in my eye. We got to see a couple of cave crickets and experienced total darkness and silence which only occurs at the bottom of the ocean and deep underground. It was a fantastic trip and it only made me more excited for our proposed trip next year to Glacier National Park in Montana.

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