Friday, May 22, 2009


When it comes to caves, I think I’m going to choose my basement mancave over Squire Boone’s beloved Corydon caves.

In case you don’t know the history, Squire Boone and his more-famous brother, Daniel Boone, discovered the caves in Southern Indiana (Maukport, near Corydon, to be exact) in the 1800s. They built a mill nearby. On one occasion, Indians, paid by the British to hassle folks on the frontier, were chasing Squire Boone and he hid from them in the caves, saving his life. Squire Boone so loved his caves that he wanted to be buried there.

I know all this ‘cause I chaperoned a field trip to the caves this week with my daughter’s school.
Call me soft- I’m definitely no frontiersman- but I don’t much care for Squire Boone’s caverns. Oh sure, they’re caverns, so they automatically get points in their favor, but I much prefer my own mancave.

First off, Squire Boone caverns are on a hill. Or maybe that’s in a hill? The point is that when you go, you’re going to be doing a lot of vertical hiking. From the slanted parking lot up to the gift shop, or down to the soap-making house, or candle-making house, or down to the Mill. See, there isn’t just a cavern to see, like in my youth. Nope, it’s a whole tribute to pioneer living. And that would be great- if it were on level ground. But I’m 41 years old and a fairly large guy. While I didn’t crack my head repeatedly on the high ceilings of the cavern like at Marengo Caves, I did find the up and downhill, back and forth hiking hard on my knees. Then we went underground.
Here’s an important safety advisory for anyone thinking of Squire Boone Caverns that has bad knees or is afraid of heights: Don’t Go.

When we went, the walk-in entrance was blocked off- this meant we got to do the 73 step-spiral staircase-from-hell to go down into the caverns, walk up and down many more stairs as we followed the guide, then turned around and climbed back out. I know, people laugh and say someone who’s 6 foot 4 inches tall shouldn’t be acrophobic, but I am. Especially when the metal stairs I am climbing flex under my wrassler-class weight.

Let’s compare my own mancave. It’s on level ground. One flight of stairs, that are strong enough to drive a car down, and carpeted. Maximum depth- one floor, not the 9 floors down that Squire Boone reaches at it’s deepest. My stairs are straight, too. No spiraling, no twisting, no turns. And dry, totally not slippery.

My mancave is drier- although I have to admit I like the cool dampness of caverns, it probably wouldn’t be good for my health in the long run. And while most caverns have electricity for lighting, well, there’s no TV. Point to my mancave and it's satellite goodness.

Solitude? 90 feet underground guarantees you probably wouldn’t hear a plane crash into the gift shop above, but I get decent sound-proofing from my mancave. No doors closing on cars, no cars-driving-by, no birds, no yelling kids outside. Basically then, anything more than one level underground is just unneccessary.

Did I get good pictures at Squire Boone Caverns? Yeah- more impressive than my GI Joe and movie memorabilia collection for sure. But given the strain on my knees to get there, I’ll contentedly stare at my bookshelves without any regrets.

Were the staff at Squire Boone helpful and nice? Absolutely. Great, friendly folks. If they were on level ground I’d go again. Several times.

All in all, I give Squire Boone 1 out of 5 stars. However, if you like climbing and dangerous heights, I’d boost the rating to 3 stars. All in all though, if you’re driving to Corydon to see a cave, I regretfully must recommend you go check out Marengo Caves. Even my 3 year old could handle that tour. Just watch your head.

No comments: