Saturday we planned to go to Shenandoah National Park to go for a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The weather was not inviting so on the way there we spent a little extra time at the Leesburg Outlet mall. But we did finally make it to the park's gate at Front Royal. Here we had our first contact with rural locals as we were getting lunch. Very friendly people. Anyway, because of the bad weather we decided not to hike in the woods, but go visit the Skyline Caverns. Here we went on a 1 hour guided tour underground to a depth of 260 feet. This was a lot of fun, and very interesting. It was difficult to take pictures down there - hard to capture scale and the lighting was odd.
But I did get a photo of the moss growing by the lights. As we progressed through the tour, the lights were turned on by the tour guide, and turned off behind us to manage this problem.
This was one of the underground 'lakes' called Mirror Lake. We see the stalactites hanging from the ceiling, and their reflection in the pond below. Can you see this? The pond below was only 2 inches deep.
This is the feature of these caverns. These are Anthodite crystals. They only grow in total vacuums. So they only exist in one other known place on Earth, and in space. A large portion of these tunnels were sealed off in a vacuum until the caverns were discovered in 1937 by Dr. Walter S. Amos. When exploring deeper into the caverns he stuck his shovel in some mud and could not get it out. When a group of people pulled on the shovel it popped out, breaking the vacuum and sucking their hats off. Then they cleared the mud and the crystal formation ceased.
This long danglee Anthodite crystal is the largest known to exist, has been forming for thousands of years. It was a little bigger than a large pencil.