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September 18, 2018

Sandra Scott Travels: It took six million years to create and it is not finished yet


Last week I asked: What did Lester Howe discover in 1842?

The caverns named for him.

Lester Howe welcomes visitors

Lester Howe welcomes visitors

New York State is fortunate to have so many unique places to visit.

One of those places is Howe Caverns which I found just as impressive on my third visit as I did on my first two visits decades ago.

Howe Caverns took six million years to create and it is not finished yet, but the change is slow.

Even if the changes in the caverns are not discernible other changes are.

There is now a rock wall, zip lines, and even a bungee-style activity for those looking for thrills.

There were several high schools participating in the thrilling activities undoubtedly as part of a physics exercise.

Taking a boat ride beneath the surface

Taking a boat ride beneath the surface

More experiments take place on the H2OgO Balls that were added last year.

The nice young men in charge of the Balls explained the physics saying that the rider does not rotate but floats on the water in the ball as it rolls down the hill.

I saw similar thrill-makers in New Zealand where the balls originated but the person was strapped in and rotated – too scary.

One of the young workers said, “All of these activities are great ‘starter’ experiences for those who want to ratchet it up some other time.”

I think the Howe Cavern version sounds like a better experience at least for first time thrill seekers.

Some amazing sights await visitors

Some amazing sights await visitors

They still have their “mining” experience where youngsters were excitedly finding gems.

This was a favorite add-on for the elementary school groups.

I was only a spectator but at one time I would have loved to try some of the activities.

Our tour of Howe Caverns started with the animatronic Lester Howe inviting people in and explaining how he found the cave.

I love animatronics.

The Native Americans and some others knew about the cave but it was Howe who popularized it.

The Iroquois Indian Museum is located nearby

The Iroquois Indian Museum is located nearby

As he explained, he noticed cows gathering at a certain spot on hot days and when he checked it out he found an opening emitting fresh cool air.

With the owner of the property he spent several days exploring over a mile of the underground passageways using only the dim light from a small oil lamp.

In some places they had to crawl.

Seeing the potential Howe bought the property for $100.

He developed the cave to make it more visitor-friendly.

Standing in Two Worlds

Standing in Two Worlds

Over the years more changes took place as ownership changed.

Today visitors, after being greeted by Mr. Howe, descend 156-feet below the surface in an elevator and are led on a tour that includes a boat ride.

I forgot how impressive the boat ride is.

The sound of the waterfalls increased to a roar as we approached the barrier at the end of the lake and then when the light was turned off the total darkness was amazing.

The narrated tour passed fantastic formations – ‘tis truly an amazing world.

The ticket price includes a discount to the Iroquois Indian Museum just down the road.

The museum, in a building shaped like a longhouse, has many historical displays and currently has a thought-provoking art display called “Standing in Two Worlds: Iroquois in 2014.”

"Creations Battle" display

“Creations Battle” display

John and I did not have time to see everything before they closed so we returned the next day which was easy to do because we spent the night at the Howe Caverns Motel.

The motel is located just below the main Howe Caverns building and has a beautiful view of the countryside.

Trivia Tease™: What is the world’s largest manmade object?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!

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