Sunday, August 1, 2010

Natural Tunnel

We enjoy so much taking our day trips.

Yesterday we got, shall we same very adventuresome. We traveled to western Virginia to see the Natural Tunnel. The Natural Tunnel, dubbed by William Jennings Bryant as the eight wonder of the world, is a naturally formed cave. A cave so large that a railroad bed was built through it. It is said to be over 200 feet wide in places and up to 80 feet tall. All naturally formed.

Although since the tunnel is an active working rail road site and visitors are not allowed actually inside of it unless escorted under special conditions, the tunnel is said to be a trove of fossils and other prehistoric evidence on the floor and walls.

It is said Daniel Boone was the first white man to see the tunnel.

The railroad first saw uses for it in the late 1800's building a rail bed in 1893. Service began in 1894, and it was largely used for passenger service. Today, it's only used to haul coal.

Although the site is primarily known for the tunnel and the beautiful state parkland that surrounds it, the area is also known for one of the great legends of men and women relationships. It is the real Lovers Leap

Tradition holds that Cherokee maiden and a Shawnee brave fell in love after they met at nearby hunting grounds. While the Indian nations were often at war, the grounds were mutually used without interference by crude treaty. The treat however still forbade intermarriage between the tribes. It is said the two lovers jumped to their deaths hoping to meet in harmony in the after life. The assumed place of their leap which is the pinnacle of the wall to the basin below is known as Lovers Leap.

Finally, we had a wonderful lunch provided by the Scott County (Virginia) Telephone Company. They were having a customer appreciation picnic, but everyone who came to the park was invited. We were among the few, and probably only if you went by the accent of those who spoke, Yankees there.

One of the more amusing moments was when a pre-teen boy who had a helium balloon was sucking in the air to make his voice sound funny. With the deep southern twang he already had, it sound was unbelievably funny.

More photos from this beautiful area are below.

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