We also thought about the year we had gone to Six Flags and it was raining cats and dogs. We splashed through ankle deep water to reach the entrance. Determined to have a good time, we paid for our tickets. Suddenly the clouds parted and the sun appeared. Not only did we enjoy the day at Six Flags with NO LINES, but we learned that it's not the weather which determines a "good time" but rather our ATTITUDES. We could have easily turned around and missed out on a fabulous day!
Today, we headed for Burnet, Texas (about an hour's drive from our house) and decided rain or not, we were going to have a good time. We drove past Ink's Lake and stopped to look around. We also swung by the ranger's office to renew our Texas State Park pass. This pass cost $60, but is well worth the price! Not only does it give us "free" 1-year admission into all the Texas State parks, but it also gives us discounts for camping and many admissions (including the Longhorn Caverns.)
Fishing is free at all Texas State Parks and a card member receives a year's subscription to Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. Before Alan's vacation is over, we will recoup the price of our membership in less than two weeks. Each year, we look forward to renewing our membership.
Upon arriving at Longhorn Caverns, we realized we had missed the tour by 15 minutes and were advised to return within 2 hours for the next tour. Being a weekday, the tours were running slower and spaced apart.
Deciding on how to kill time, we returned to Inks Lake with our new pass and rented a canoe.
It wasn't until we were in the boat that I became a little nervous. Pamela sat in the middle while Alan and I paddled around the lake. All she had to do was shift around on the floor and the canoe would hobble from left to right. Considering we were fully dressed with our wallets, cellphones, and camera's, we were in no shape for taking a swim.
When Pamela spotted a nasty spider on the floor, I glanced over at my life jacket that was tossed to the side of the boat. I thought for sure we'd be swimming in the lake!
Our tour guide appeared and announced that we had the GRAND TOUR of the cave all to ourselves! It would be just the four of us touring the cave! Now how cool is THAT??!
Al, our tourguide, is a Geologist who's been doing tours for Longhorn for almost 10 years. We soon learned that he was very knowledgable in Texas history, filling our heads with romantic tales about our local infamous outlaw, Sam Bass --- the bank robberies, the kidnappings and the Comanche Indians.
This limestone cave had been naturally formed by an underground river.
The benefits of having a tourguide all to ourselves - A family photographer!
This bat is the size of a mouse and after he hunts, he returns to the same spot in the roof each day. He didn't move an inch when we flashed our lights or clicked our cameras.
Our tourguide chuckled about a recent tour where he had a group of school kids. He had overheard one young boy remark to another, "I bet that's a fake bat and they planted it there!"... SUDDENLY the bat swooped down over their heads and flapped away. Talk about timing!
This animal figurine was discovered in the cave. Nobody knows what it is. The Comanche indians were highly superstitious and didn't explore too much inside the cave.
Our tourguide pointed out that this cave is prone to flooding. After a good rain, water seeps into the cave from many points and the water rises to the ceiling where it forms a spiral pattern several feet above our heads. Al, pointed out where the water line was from the LAST flood a few months before... hmmmm...
It was just as well that our tour was ending. A heavy mist was beginning to form inside the cave.
During prohibition when this cave was privately owned, it was used as a gambling and dance hall - people would arrive from miles around to dance and drink the night away. On parts of the wall, you can still see grafitti where the ladies would use their lipstick and nail polish. It seems that RED was the predominant color back in those days!
The tour lasted 1.5 hours. All in all, we found the cave tour very pleasant and informative!
After all that walking, we managed to drag ourselves over to the observation tower to scope out the scenery.
The stairs winded up and up and UP... I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...
At the top of the tower, we could see the Faulkenstein Castle. (click picture to enlarge, it's breathtaking!)
Time to wind down and eat some grub.
Overlooking the Colorado River in Marble Falls.