Pictures from a Trip to Penn’s Cave

If you go spelunking, go by boat

We go on cave trips sometimes. Not the honest-to-goodness helmets and lights and ropes and knee pads and “If we don’t make it out, Scott has our wills” kind of caves; we believe that ones with gift shops and tour guides and big honking signs out front work better for us.

Sign and wife Deb(left); stalactites (right)

Even better: ones with powered boats (with electric engines! so quiet) and internal lighting. Like Penn’s Cave.

The water was cold, being fed from outside runoff, but the air inside the cave was in the mid-50s, so it was warmer inside than out.

It was a tad cold, being early March in north central Pennsylvania, but we natives were bundled for it. We sat next to a mother and daughter from Florida, whose take on the cold was, “Now I understand why you people come to a Florida beach and go swimming when it’s in the 50s. You’re crazy enough to think that’s warm in the winter.”

The Heart of Penn’s Cave (left) and… okay, I should have been taking notes, because I have no idea what shape I was supposed to be capturing.

Our guide pointed out various formations that had been giving names over the years. One, “The Heart of Penn’s Cave,” does actually look kinda Valentine’s heartish; people come to get married or renew their vows. “We should do that,” whispered Deb. “The renewal thing?” I asked. “I think it would be special, don’t you?” she replied. Well, yes, now that you mention it. Okay, we can pencil that in for February 2020!

It’s easy to get caught up in the charm of the place.

There are bats. Lots, once the guide starts to point them out, but in cold weather they are completely inactive and look like little black blobs on the ceiling. In warm weather they hide. In other words, you don’t have to worry about the bats. (“Thank heavens,” muttered Deb.)

Fun with colored lights

Although the guide cuts the lights for maybe half a minute at one point, just to show what actual true darkness is like, for most of the tour there is anywhere from some light (the guides flashlight and the boat’s spotlight) to a lot of light (the cave is wired for electric and there are a LOT of lights). There are enough lights on enough of the time that a new biosphere has started, using the energy from the lights to help with photosynthesis for the plants, followed by creatures that eat plants, followed by creatures that eat smaller creatures, etc.

The entire tour took maybe 45 minutes. There are other things to do (if you have kids) so check out the website if you’re interested.

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Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.

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