Heads up! LOTS of pictures—found one of my favorite places…

Time to explore Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga! Lookout Mountain is home to Ruby Falls and Rock City and overlooks the city of Chattanooga. We started the day off with a tour of Ruby Falls. After an elevator ride 260 feet down into the mountain and a generally flat walk for 30 minutes or so into the mountain (ending up with 1100 feet of dirt and rock above you…my favorite line from the tour guide was: “Someone asked me once whether we had good insurance in case there was ever a cave-in. I told him, ‘Absolutely, in the event of a cave-in you are certain to be covered.’” ba-dum-bum) At the end of the trail, the turning around point, the tour guide turned off the lights, turned on some dramatic music, and then the colorful lights turned on, focused on the falls. The is a 70-foot waterfall completely inside a mountain.

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I couldn’t get a picture of the whole falls from top to bottom because of the crowd of people at the bottom, but it was pretty amazing to see. They aren’t sure where the water comes from, but it ends up in the Tennessee River. Back in the 1920s a young man, Leo Lambert, who worked on the railroad nearby and who grew up exploring another cave on the same mountain decided he wanted to re-open the entrance to that cave after it was closed by the railroad operations. In the process of digging a shaft down to that cave opening, a gush of air rushed out in an unexpected place, so this young man explored it for 17 hours, most of the time on his back, inching through very tight passageways. He found the falls, somehow convinced his WIFE, Ruby, to go back in with him, and as they say, the rest is history. I say any woman who would venture into a cave that tight with her husband deserves to have the cave named after her!! The cave itself was interesting to walk through (thankfully they have since enlarged the passageways and made a nice smooth path to walk on), with many interesting formations, stalactites and stalagmites, cave bacon, and pools of water. Spunky Monkey documented the whole thing with about 100 pictures along the way. Here’s one of his—this is the “steak and eggs” formation”

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Here’s another one he took, of the size of passageway Leo Lambert crawled through when he discovered the falls:

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Where you see the red light, it was maybe one foot high—ugh.

After Ruby Falls, we had lunch with the Chattanooga Choo-Choo (well, near it anyway).

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After lunch, we went to one of my favorite places…squeeee!! I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve been to Rocky City in Kansas, which is a bunch of surprisingly large (10-15 ft in diameter), round rocks in the middle of farm country. This was completely different—cool, narrow sheltered pathways through towering rocks, lush plants, bridges, tunnels, a 1000-ft water fall next to Lover’s Leap, where one can view 7 states. And gnomes! (Zwerg, correctly, in German) It was whimsically magical and enchanting, and I can’t wait to get back someday.

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Heading into Fat Man’s Squeeze!

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Made it!!

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Fallow deer—not albino, just a genetic variation. Very pretty and fit in well with the enchantment of this place!

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Gnome sighting!

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The Rainbow Tunnel—so colorful!

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Entrance to the Fairyland Caverns—a walk through caves with niches all along on the sides, filled with elfin scenes, fairytale characters and gnomes!

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So lush and green, flowers everywhere—did I mention I liked it here?

At the end of the day, a very close-up and educational Raptor show:

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