Experiencing Mammoth Cave again

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By Calen McKinney


As I made my way down the nearly 300 steps, I was starting to wonder what in the world I was doing there.

I could see the bottom of the cave through the steps as I plunged deeper in. An important note, I have a minor fear of heights.

Hearing that it would take medics three hours to get to someone in need of medical attention heightened my fear a bit.

I hadn't been to Mammoth Cave since I was in elementary or middle school. I took a field trip with the Taylor County Public Library crew recently to take some photos of them touring the cave.

Once I got past my fear of the steps, I had a great time. It's incredible to know the cave exists naturally and was created millions and millions of years ago.

And it's the longest cave system in the world. That's incredible.

Tour guides took our group through a series of large passageways and told us what they know about the cave.

It was cool to see the cave through the children's eyes. As an adult, I might see the steps and focus on my fear of heights. As a child, though, I likely would have focused on all of the cool stuff I was tempted to but couldn't touch.

The children loved the cave ... from learning about stalagmites and stalactites and wanting to see a bat, they were truly interested in the history of the place.

It was really neat to see the children having fun learning.

And that's really what the library's summer reading has been about. Library staff members have put their heads together and come up with fun events sprinkled with some learning on top.

My hat is off to the library for their hard work.

And, even though the steps were a bit scary, I will gladly go to Mammoth Cave again. This time, I just won't look down.
• • •
Talk about inspiration.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling a bit stressed. I was preoccupied thinking about what I had to do the rest of the day. Then I met Wade Smith.

If you haven't read Smith's story, it's on the front page of the issue you have in your hands.

Smith was severely injured in a car crash three years ago. He is now an incomplete quadriplegic. Doctors told him he would never walk again.

Well, three years and lots of prayers, sweat and tears later, Smith is walking. And he continues to improve every day.

And what got him there is his positive attitude, no doubt about it.

Smith said he wouldn't change anything about what he has gone through. And he said he is grateful for what he has and that he is able to be an inspiration for others.

When I heard his story, all my worries went by the wayside. I felt embarrassed for worrying about the minor and temporary inconveniences of my life.
Smith faces true obstacles every day.

We should all have an attitude like he does. He doesn't let anything get in his way - even a doctor who tells he won't ever be able to put one foot in front of the other again.

Can you imagine that? It takes true courage to tell yourself that won't happen, and then prove it.

Check out Smith's videos at www.youtube.com/user/Hotwheels428. You will see him walking, and proving everyone wrong.

Thanks, Wade, for sharing your story with me and all of Taylor County. You are a true inspiration.