To get to Russell Cave, we travelled through three states: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama (as well as a couple of time zones). It was a pretty drive past fields of wildflowers and cows.
People have used this cave as shelter for almost 9,000 years. In the 1950s, It was one of the first places archeologists used carbon-14 to date artifacts. Over 10,000 stone and bone tools, pottery shards and jewelry were excavated. A few (that means “not very many”) are in the Visitors Center museum . I'm sure most are at the Smithsonian (they dug there for three years). They always take home souvenirs.
There’s a boardwalk out to the cave.
A creek runs through the first cave we saw. The map identifies it as “Dry Creek”, but after all the rain this spring, it was anything but dry. It looks really cold.
Going on a little further is the actual cave shelter. If you were expecting Carlsbad Caverns pictures, this isn't it! It’s more like a big alcove than a cave. Good protection out of the weather 9,000 years ago.
The dioramas are a little hokey, but we've seen worse.We went around the corner to see a sinkhole, where the roof of another cavern fell in. Not much to see.
We had planned on going on the nature trail, but some people we saw on the boardwalk said there was a copperhead sunning himself on the trail. I told George I’d wait for him on the bridge if he wanted to go look for it. That way if he needed first aid, I’d be able to run back to the Visitors Center. After he rejected my idea, I told him he was missing a great photo-op.
I didn't go crazy at this park, but there are a few more pictures: Russell Cave Natl Monument