Call me a brave woman. Or a foolish one. Earlier this week I took the niece and nephews, along with Mom and Pop (mine, not theirs) to Mammoth Cave National Park to explore the cave on a four-hour hike.
Plus, I have a heroine who's about to get lost in a cave, so I thought the research could be fun.
Let me save y'all future research right now: It's dark in a cave. And cold.
And an eight-year-old walks about 10x faster than a 70-year-old.
Add in 60-degree inclines, 300-step staircases straight down or up and the damp chill that seeps from the floor through your shoes, and you can imagine the loving looks I received from my traveling companions.
The youngest wanted to race the ranger, jump the rocks and touch the 100 million-year-old formations.
The oldest asked where the elevator was. The middle one kept busy telling the other two to be quiet.
By the halfway point, I was enviously eying the spelunkers in their knee pads, pith helmets and nicely dirty coveralls.
Meanwhile, Mom and Pop stayed at the rear of the tour group because they are too old to walk as fast. (Personally, I think it was to get away from the "when are we going to see the sun again?" questions.)
The best part, though, was when Pop mentioned the trip was much more rugged than when he went on the eight-hour tour with his high school class in 1956.
"Well, you were 17 then," I said.
"You're right," he said with a nod. "The park service has probably changed the route since then."