Linville Caverns

Exploring Local Caves/Caverns

Adventure Series 2023

Have you ever experienced total darkness? Seen rocks that look like they have been melting for eons? Delved into the deep places of the earth to see what natural wonders exist beneath the surface on which we live? If not, you really should check out the many caves and caverns that are open to the public around the country. For our adventure series, we will kick off our experiences by taking our little ones on guided tools of several of our regional underground treasures. This was one of my favorite school trips when I was younger and it has always stuck with me, so getting to experience that wonder again through the eyes of my children really makes this worth the effort.

I know that many people may have an aversion to going underground, whether it is a mild case of claustrophobia or a general aversion to dark and potentially creature-filled places. That is understandable and this may not be an activity for you. For everyone else, I would challenge you to not have some fun wandering around and seeing the colorful and beautifully majestic scenery that you may find. 

From where we live we have a decent number of options available to us, and I have not been to most of the ones on my list so I am almost as excited as our girls are for this experience. 

  1. Linville Caverns, NC []
  2. Luray Caverns, VA []
  3. Forbidden Caverns, TN []
  4. Dixie’s Caverns,  VA []
  5. Bristol Caverns, TN []

While you should not expect to fight a Balrog during one of these excursions, you should keep a mind to safety, for yourself and the creatures that reside in the geological wonders.

Recommended Tips for your Excursion:

  • Dress for the temperatures, Going underground can get cold, even if it is hot outside, so dress appropriately. 
  • Leave no trace. What makes exploring these natural wonders routinely enjoyable for all is that they are kept as pristine as possible, meaning clean up after yourselves. Every little bit can add up over time so please do your part.
  • Don’t touch the walls, most guides will tell you the same advice, and many places have rules about it as well since the oils from our skin can impact the development of the caverns for years and decades in the future. Keeping your hands to yourself is imperative, even if that rock formation looks so smooth and soft you struggle with the impulse.
  • Remember that you are encroaching on other creatures’ homes, just as when you visit friends or family if there are things that the guides are asking you to do, please follow the instructions. For example, Bats in the area are highly susceptible to a fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS), it is typically debilitating if not fatal for them. So when you are entering or leaving, you may be asked to clean your feet so as to not help the spread of the fungus spores. This will help protect the ecosystem, not just those tiny little bats hibernating deep in the caves.

New and exciting experiences tend to leave an impression on us and can shape many of our behaviors well into the future. As a parent, getting to share these adventures with my children and seeing their wonder and reactions to something I have long become accustomed to, makes me appreciate the novelness of the experience and I am only encouraged to do more with them.

Check out more of our ongoing adventures!

Adventure Series

The Adventure Series

Now that my children are getting to be of an age where we can start to do more active things outdoors, we have started to introduce them to all kinds of new experiences. While it is a learning curve for us as well, trying to remember the limitations that we started out with and how to address those, I have come up with a series of “Adventures” for us to embark upon. These adventures are geared towards sparking interest and love for the natural world around us and seeking out knowledge and experiences that can’t be found in the massive array of digital experience channels that many people get sucked into.

This series will outline some of the different adventures that we have taken and are planning to take throughout the year. After all, what better inspiration to fuel the development of a creative mind to see the wonders that nature has in abundance? Join us as we take this journey and share with us the adventures that you also are exploring.

You can find the evolving list of Adventures here!

Citrine Geode Closeup

Rock and Gemstone Hunting

After my first foray into Rock Hounding activities, I would have to say it will be more involved than I first expected. I thought I was going into it with little expectation only to see how much I had unconsciously built up around the experience. While it is interesting that we found quite a few small crystals lying around from previous dig spoil piles that were washed by the rain, the larger ones remained elusive while we tried to dig to find more. If we had been searching for a specific gemstone, it would have only increased the difficulty.

As it was searching for signs from quartz and mica veins was challenging since the soil around the areas that we were digging in had a very high clay content, making it harder to spot some of those markers. One thing that was poor planning on my part was not accounting for the heat and the hard labor of digging. If we had been searching for a specific gemstone, it would have only increased the difficulty.

Sluiceway At Emerald Hollow Mine

We did come back with some good finds and my daughter especially got a kick out of sluicing the dirt off of the stones. Some of the different rocks will be pictured below.

Gemstones from our trip

The Emerald Hollow Mine is definitely somewhere I would recommend for people to visit, with a wide variety of knowledgeable staff, frequent visitors, and a variety of creating your own adventure opportunities. How would anyone not get a kick out of digging around in the dirt for some precious gemstones and minerals?

Check out more of our Adventures!