Caves · Museums · Parks

Mystic Caves – Arkansas

I am not sure why I went to the Mystic Caves… it’s not as if they were world famous or anything. I mean as far as caves go this one was taking a bit of a piss but in the spirit of writing down every adventure here I go…

I was guided through both Mystic Caves. During the first tour I was with a small group of quiet adults and I took time to listen to the guide and take photos. Apparently the cave was used by local Indians who found one of the chambers sacred and used some slime growing on the wall for medicinal reasons.. Then the white man came along and used it as a moonshine distillery during prohibition… at which time they sooted up the ceilings, broke off a lot of the stalactites to sell during the depression, annnd caused damage when their distillery just up and exploded one day. The place was a mess, a great illustration of how destructive man is, but little else. It was also tiny.. and the staff kept naming the formations after food. “This is our wedding cake, over there is our carrot patch and don’t miss the curly fries!” There was however a number of fossils embedded in the ceiling so go fossils! Woo! I’m sure they were edible once…

Our guide ended the tour by telling us some hogwash story about a monkey being brought down in the cave and then getting stuck to the ceiling somehow. There was indeed something gnarly-looking dangling from the ceiling but a monkey it was not. Everyone listened like, “yeah whatever.” Our guide kept pausing midsentence, as if he were expecting us to say something or laugh. We were a boring bunch and didn’t.

The Chrystal Dome was a little better. It was only recently discovered, in the late 1960’s, and only on active tours since the 1980’s. It was only one set of stairs to the bottom of the dome where you could look up and see intact stalactites and stalagmites starting to form on the floor. This time we were accompanied by a Biblical swarm of 13-14 year old Christian boys, either boy scouts or from some boys only Christian school, who the hell knows. They all had flashlights and were fairly loud and obnoxious. Our tour guide said very little about what was actually known about the cave, instead he started telling stories about a guard Yorkie who got stuck in the rocks, and then a guard turkey, and then a guard alligator, and then a fucking octopus. I wandered off and took photos on my own of this weird slimy orange thing I found, too old to be amused by this, though on the way out I did see the Virgin Mary but I guess that’s to be expected. She’s everywhere.  Our tour guide merely called her an angry wife, pointing to another formation that looked like a guy and two critters, dogs or fish depending on which story you could visualize. Coolest thing here was a little salamander in the rocks and a wolf spider nearly as big, both of which were actually real…

Though it was amusing I doubt I would suggest this cave to anyone outside the local area. There are just a lot of better caves to go to and $14.50 a person seems a bit steep for such a little place. In any event the gift shop was beautiful, had amazing minerals, rocks, and fossils.

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