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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 148, October 2-3, 1853

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Identifier: DX04165121

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 148, October 2-3, 1853

Description: Describes a visit to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.


lay the path outwards, and one crawling on was being precipitated down an abyss and there perished by the fall; I wished to find. Alfred pointed out one pit as the place, but it was comparatively speaking shallow, and no-wise answered the description I had in mind about it, so though he took it in dudgeon I denied the identity. And on reaching the third Avenue, a short one, it was plain I, (and the boy, also;) were right. Here a great pit stretched right across the cave, barring all access further, save by descent. The approach to the edge slopes upwards, thence the horrible chasm sinks precipitously down, for sixty or fifty feet. Alfred descended by means of a pine tree, which with its branches lopped off formed a rough ladder, for the recovery of the poor fellows body, years ago. Mr Miller had mentioned it to me. You can go some hundreds of yards below, then the avenue ends. The margin above runs on to the left of the pit for a little space, like a path, but ending suddenly. A sombre, gloomy place. Alfred found the body of an unfortunate raccoon below, who had toppled over in the dark, breaking his nose and ending his life at once and the same time. He had not rotted, but looked mummified, and his teeth grinned dismally. We left him, depriving him of part of his tail. /

It was night when we got to the outer world, (the Cave may be 3 or 5 miles in length;) and we had a dark ride back to the Hotel; there to supper, a blazing fire and an evening with [Oliver] Kellam and his friends [Addison Keane Richards and Maurice Keane].

3 2. Monday. As yesterday planned a party of four made up for the entire exploration of the Mammoth Cave. Others, the clergyman, his wife and two or three intended only to visit the regions this side of the rivers, under the guidance of Nicholas; Kellam & his friends and myself determined on crossing, did the rivers permit. No rains had occurred since Saturday, nevertheless had not Mr Miller accompanied us, Alfred, indeed any one of the guides would have done all possible to have avoided crossing, as it would involve wet feet and wading disagreeables. As ‘twas they made much objection, but it was quietly overruled, and leaving the other party behind, we four, (Mr Miller

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-10-02

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Diaries
Mammoth Cave (Ky.)


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