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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One of the most beautiful caverns and awesome roads to get there!

I love caverns.  Over the past three years my son (he is 12 currently) and I have visited six caverns.  Each cavern has it own special characteristics.  We have visited three of the five largest caverns in the world. 
[1) Mammoth - Kentucky, 2) Jewel Cave - South Dakota, 4) Wind Cave - South Dakota] and three smaller caverns.  In the past, before getting married, I visited Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico.

The cavern that has the most beautiful and colorful formations is Blanchard  Springs Cavern outside of Mountian View, Arkansas and a great "plus" to the deal is that the roads to and from are full of twisties and elevation changes!

Life magazine once stated that Blanchard Springs Cavern was "one of the most extraordinary finds of the century" and I would tend to agree.  The cave has two paved routes.  Both routes take you into a living cave with slow changing stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones.  The cavern stays at a constant 58 degress Farenheit with  97-100% humitity.  The size of the cavern is not what it is known for, but the beauty of the formations is. 

My picture does not show the colors well at all, but you can see the formations are spectacular.  The colors are amazing.  The tour guide provided us with some great information about the discovery and preservation of the cavern.

Now the ride to get there is awesome.  We took AR 16/9 from Clinton, AR to Mt. View and greatly enjoyed the 35 miles of scenic windy roads.  When we left the caverns we were riding back to Mena, AR.  We rode west on AR 14 to Harrier then west on AR 27 to Marshall.  At Marshall we took AR 74/16 west to AR 7.  AR 16 is awesome - see picture below. We head south on AR 7 to Russellville and on to Mena.

If you get the chance to ride up to Mt. View you will greatly enjoy the ride, but make time to visit one of the most beautiful caverns in America - Blanchard Springs Caverns.

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