Thursday, January 26, 2017

Luray Caverns

It's now the 26th of January and we have put in exactly one hike towards the 52 we wanted to get in this year. Weather and sickness are to be expected in January, I guess, but at this point, I am not seeing how we get to 52 hikes this year. We're going to keep trying though.

Sunday the forecast was for 100% rain, which barely materialized until Monday when the nor'easter was howling and blowing sideways sheets of sleet, rain, and snow, the storm having moved slower than the forecasters expected. In warm weather I don't mind hiking in the rain, except for days on end of the crap.What I do mind is hypothermia and that potential rules out most winter hikes in the rain. Sometime I will relate about bailing out of a week-long AT section hike from Springer Mountain to Fontana in December 1980 after four straight days of 35-degree weather and rain. Needless to say, given the forecast, we bailed on hiking this Sunday, for the third weekend in a row.

On Thursday, Ann and I were discussing what to do in lieu of hiking. She first suggested finding an indoor rock climbing wall and doing a little climbing, but that seemed kind of lame. Then she said, "What about Luray Caverns?" Well, duh! Over the past five years, the topic has come up time and again and I have always responded that we should wait for a rainy winter day. With the perfect weather forecast, I wondered why I didn't think of it first.

Can you believe that in all my years in Virginia, over 45 and over 25 in Winchester, that I have never been to Luray Caverns? It was definitely on my East Coast bucket list of things to do before we retire to the West Coast. I don't think there are words to express my sense of awe at seeing all the magnificent formations in the caves.

We took three cameras and these are the best photos from all of those. Without a tripod and some very fast lenses, it is impossible to capture the beauty down below the ground. Given that you are in a guided tour and are expected to keep up with the guide, there's no time for setting up a tripod and getting good photos.

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