Squire Boone Caverns, Corydon, IN
OR: HOW WE ESCAPED THE HELLMOUTH FOR 60 MINUTES
There’s only so much time a body can spend floating in the water getting prune-like toes while trying to beat the heat. Quite frankly, the Redneck Riviera is getting bathwater warm these days — something I adore, but The Coach hates. I guess a body just can’t get cool enough when the water’s 90+ degrees?
When the weather’s broiling hot, there’s not much one can do to stay cool. Oh sure, there’s the movie theatre and the office, but there are only so many movies one can watch and who really wants to work during their designated staycation? So, a couple days ago, The Coach and I decided to escape the heat by going 60 feet underground.
That’s right, folks: We hit the Indiana Cave Trail.
As I learned last year when TQE and I went to Marengo Cave, Underground Indiana has issued a “passport” for this “trail.” If you get it stamped at all three southern Indiana caves – Marengo, Bluespring, and Squire Boone – you will get a special Indiana Cave Trail t-shirt. Surprisingly, I had not lost my passport (with my first stamp on it) in the 11 months that had passed between my friend’s visit and our recent heat wave. The Coach and I discussed our options: did we want to go north towards Bloomington or east towards Louisville? In the end, we picked Squire Boone Caverns, mostly so we could continue on to the other ‘Ville and visit a friend of ours.
Lost in Indiana — or Not?
This place was out in the boonies!
Here’s the 4-1-1 if you’re interested: Squire Boone Caverns is located in the middle of nowhere, or at least, it feels like the middle of nowhere. Once you get out of Corydon proper, you are surrounded by corn fields and trailer homes … and more corn fields. Fortunately, there are a lot of signs to guide you into the park – which turned out to be more than just the cave. At the bottom of the hill, there’s a grist mill; up top, there’s a little village where you can buy candy, soap and candles, “mine” for fool’s gold, and feed the goats and ducks. Too bad it was so damned hot; I couldn’t bring myself to even look at the candles because I knew they’d just melt into puddles of wax. I did, however, take a picture of the goat.
The second thing you need to know is that there are 73 stairs in and out of the cave. The folks that operate the place really, really want you to know this. There are signs everywhere and they will remind you two or three times before you start down into the cave. What they don’t tell you is that you will be descending on a spiral staircase or that there will be a sign telling you to “Look Down: 60 feet.”
All those stairs are worth it, though, if you want to stand around in 54 degree temperatures for an hour or so. Well, there are also some interesting formations (like the flat stalagmites and the rimstone) and a waterfall (the 90% humidity ruined my hair as you’ll see below), but seriously: 54 degrees! The cave would have been the perfect place to take a nap if only they would let you. Sadly, the only person spending extended time down in the cave is Squire Boone – or rather, 27 of his dead bones.
Big Ass Rock Formation
I took this while we lollygagged at the back of the tour
And, if you haven’t figured it out by now, Squire is Daniel’s brother, so you can put on your coonskin hat – or buy one in the gift shop. You can also buy commemorative caving helmets and bat stuffies — even though the cave doesn’t really attract bats. In fact, according to our tour guide, he has only seen 14 bats in three years (yes, he counted).
Medusa Eats Ice Cream?
Even my hair oil couldn’t stand up to the 90% humidity
Eventually, we had to leave our subterranean hideaway from the heat, so we clambered back up the 73 stairs and out to the car. We were melting by the time we hit Corydon, so we stopped at the farm market for fresh peach ice cream (me: The Coach had butter pecan) and headed over to Louisville to meet our friend for dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. We ate and talked and basically kept our poor waitress from getting more tips because we hogged that table for more than two hours. Eventually, though, we had to go home to the dogs and the cats and the non-eatable crab critters.
Well, that is the point of a staycation, right?