. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ozark Caverns, a Winery, and a Little Dinner Cruise

What do two geologists do while in the Cave State? Visit as many caves as possible while they're there, of course!

Today we explored Ozark Caverns at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Unfortunately, we could not take cameras into the caverns because the park is guarding against "white-nose syndrome", a fungus that has devastated bats throughout the northeastern caves. This white-nose syndrome was first discovered in Missouri so to minimize the risk, they are really being strict. So I took pictures of the museum display boards.

Ozark Caverns entrance
According to a brochure (yay, a brochure!) found in our hotel lobby,
"a walk through Ozark Caverns is a journey into an environment where geologic process can proceed unhindered by many of the erratic, erosive forces that shape the surface landscape in the protected cave environment; dripping and seeping water can redeposit carbonate materials in the form of soda straws, helictites, stalagmites, and a host of other geologic wonders that can be seen in Ozark Caverns. 
Angel Showers, an unusual cave phenomenon, is a featured part of the Ozark Caverns tour. The never-ending shower of water seems to come out of the solid ceiling of rock."
Photo of Angel's Shower from the museum wall. There are only 4 showers like this in the U.S.
Something truly cool was seeing bear claw marks left in the sediment fill that came into the cave thousands of years ago. (I'll just mention that we read of many small critters that inhabit the cave from frogs, salamanders, bats, and little bitty invertebrates in the little museum). Middle son did count 11 bats while we were in the cave. Creepy little critters. We were told that the cave was about 300 feet below the surface and we walked about 1/4 mile in (1,400 of the 3,400 feet of passageway). We used lantern light to walk through the cavern instead of the traditional "lighted path" method--truly cool, but oldest son was disappointed that the cave features were not lit up.

And what do two geologists do after "doing" geology? Seek out the local winery for tasting, of course! We found one just down the road from the Caverns called Seven Springs Winery, which boasts of having 160 acres of vineyards. We tasted some Missouri wines and found them quite tasty. It was interesting to learn of grape varieties that I've never heard of before such as "Norton," "Vignoles," and "Rougon." They used a blend of grapes for their wines rather than a pure grape wine like "Pinot Grigio," "Chardonnay," or "Merlot." that I'm used to. The blends tended to be toward the sweeter end of the spectrum, which was really good. We got a couple of wines to take back to the hotel with us.

A large tasting menu with pretty wine glasses at Seven Springs
We spent the afternoon at the lake swimming for a bit before heading out to the Bagnell Dam strip and our dinner cruise on the Tom Sawyer Paddleboat. The food was good, being "picnic" fare with fried chicken, ribs, ranch beans, potatoes au gratin, cole slaw, and rolls. My youngest had 3 pieces of chicken himself. If only it weren't so darn hot, then it would have been a perfect cruise. I think it was still 100 degrees when we left the dock at 6:30 this evening. Sweat rolled down our faces and backs until we got into the air conditioned car!

The paddlewheel at the back of the Tom Sawyer
Thankfully, nobody complained about following our lead today. I get to be "Tour Guide Barbie" or "Cruise Director Julie" when we go on trips together and I take my job seriously! Tonight's plan? Stay in the cool air conditioned hotel room!

1 comment:

Khurram Baig said...
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