Monday, February 06, 2012

Snapshots: Lookout Mountain

A few years ago my family decided visit some of the southern states. In Georgia we ate the most amazing fresh peach ice cream. We took a boat through the Okefenokee swamp and saw ton of alligators (in case you were wondering, they are huge). We also drove through the town that has perhaps the most miniature golf courses per square mile any where in the US... we didn't stop to play, but I'd like to go back some day and try a few of them. In Tennessee we mined for rubies and sapphires, I think we even found a few low grades stones. But one of the most interesting parts of the trip was Lookout Mountain.

Just south of the Chattanooga river is a place called Lookout Mountain. I've spent most of my life near mountains and I really like to have some around. So the fact that Lookout Mountain by its very nature is a mountain works well for me. There are a lot of things that I like about mountains. I like the wildlife, I like the plants, I like the scenery, and I love the water. I think mountain water is one of the prettiest things I've ever seen.  I love mountain lakes, mountain streams and especially a good mountain waterfall.

Lookout Mountain has a GOOD mountain waterfall called Ruby Falls. It never rains at Ruby falls.  It's always 58 degrees, oh yeah, and it's inside the mountain.

We had to see Ruby Falls.
So we signed up for the tour. The tour starts in an elevator. I'm not sure how far we went down in the elevator, but after a while the whole group had arrived at the trailhead... inside the mountain.  We started our journey toward the falls.  The path is nice, in a natural tunnel kind of way. There are stalactites and stalagmites, and tons of cool features in this mostly natural cave.  Along the way our guide would point out various features, that in and of themselves would have probably been worth the trip. Those responsible for the area have installed lights to help you see the cool features and of course the trail. Occasionally, we would have to duck to get through a part of the cave... Some of us (my self included) had to duck a little more often.

As we got closer to the falls there were less and less lights.  It seems like our guide has a flashlight, and there was just enough light to see the person in front of you. Slowly we inched our way toward the falls. We could tell by the sound that we were getting close. The water grew louder and louder, we had to be there soon. It wasn't long after we started hearing the water that we began to feel the moisture in the air. And then everybody stopped. As we huddled together the guide told us the story of how these falls were discovered.
A small group of men had been exploring these caves. What they found was not what they expected. What they found was a waterfall.

As the story concluded, in that instant, the cave came alive. Suddenly there were lights. Suddenly we could see. Suddenly we all realized that this was no ordinary waterfall. This was 145 feet and millions of gallons of water rushing from a place high above to below where we stood, and it was right in front of us. This was impressive... awe inspiring... and unique.

As I said before I really love a good waterfall, and Lookout Mountain for me is one of the best that I've seen. Tennessee, you can count on seeing me again, because I would love to go back to lookout mountain, and I will look out, but I will most definitely also look in!