My Town Monday: Caves, Castles and Camaros

Camaros at Ohio Caverns

Camaros (and a Saturn Sky) enhance the area's natural beauty

Ever heard of “Easter eggs” in video games, computers and other consumer products? For those not familiar with the term, it refers to an undocumented feature or extra goody included with the product. My 2010 Camaro came with an Easter egg: new friends! Now several dozen strong, most of us met online on the Camaro5 forum, and later met in person at cruise-ins and other car enthusiast events. My Camaro friends come from all over Ohio, as well as from the surrounding states, and every fall, we get together to go for a cruise to enjoy  our Camaros, good company, and some fall scenery.

Bat on a Wire

We had furry, flying friends in the caves

A couple weeks ago, we took our third annual cruise, this time through west-central Ohio. Our first stop was the Ohio Caverns.

Ohio Caverns is the largest and most beautiful cave system in Ohio. Discovered in the late 19th century when a farm worker spotted a sinkhole, over two miles of passages boast thousands of calcite crystal stalagmites, stalactites, and columns. The caves are fairly close to the surface at the entrances, but go to a depth of over 100 feet. However, they don’t involve a lot of stairs or climbing – instead, the caves simply go deeper into the hilly, Champaign County countryside.

The Crystal King is one of the largest stalactites in the U.S.

The crystal formations are considered some of the most colorful and beautiful in the U.S. Iron oxide gives some of the crystals a reddish color, and others take on ranges of pale blue to green. There are two tours available: the regular tour which includes the chambers with most of the dramatic crystals, including the Crystal King, a stalactite nearly 5 feet tall that is estimated to be about 250,000 years old. The Historic Tour is open only to groups, and adds on the first part of the caves that was discovered. The passageways aren’t as finished off and level as in the rest of the cave, and some are quite narrow or low. Caving is one of the few times when it actually pays to be short! I barely had to duck at all. 😀

"Fantasy Land" room in the caverns

If you are ever in the area, I’d highly recommend Ohio Caverns – it’s a spectacle not to be missed! The Camaro friends had a good time, and were in no hurry to take off to our next destination, but we had a schedule to meet, so off we went to Mac-o-chee and Mac-o-cheek Castles – yes, there are castles in Ohio! We’ll take a look at those here next week.

If you live in the area, have you ever visited Ohio Caverns? If not, do you have anything like this in your locale? Ever bought a consumer product that included Easter eggs? Please share!

More at the My Town Monday blog

Crystal King photo via Wikipedia, Creative Commons license