Travel in the United States: Mammoth Cave, Shoshone, Idaho

This big, blue planet we call home is full of wonderment and adventure. Natural beauty surrounds us and at any given fork in the road lies surprises, the unexplained, the undiscovered.

Every time I travel, I keep my eyes peeled for signs. Not necessarily road signs or signs of salvation or crop circles but for signs pointing to the weird, the kitschy and the strange. Think the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas or the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Roadside America at its finest. You get the idea.

I was recently traveling through Idaho and I got really excited when I saw an actual billboard for Mammoth Cave. Mammoth Cave is located down a dirt and gravel roadway off of Scenic Highway 75 outside of Shoshone, Idaho. (sounds promising so far) The largest volcanic cave opened to the public, Mammoth maintains a cool 41 degree temperature throughout the year. Traveling along the road, a group of buildings becomes larger on the horizon. Pulling into the parking area peacocks greet visitors. (Paydirt!) Emus can be seen in a large pen as you make your way to a large circular building that also houses a “bird and natural history museum”. Which, in actuality, is more of an ode to taxidermy. I’m given a lantern and make my way outside, following a path leading down to the cave entrance.  Guided only by lantern light, I carefully make my way along the path that has been etched out through eons of erosion and dripping water. The cave is cool, much cooler than the temperature outside. I stop halfway through my adventure. I am the only one in the cave so I turn off my lantern and sit in complete darkness and deafening silence for a few minutes. My eyes and ears desperately search for any stimulation until I can’t take it anymore. I switch my lantern back on and continue towards the back of the cave. There are signs along the way pointing out interesting facts. I reach the end and start heading back to the entrance, satisfied to add Mammoth to my list of Roadside America seen first hand!

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