Saturday, August 30, 2014

To The Bat Cave

For Jack's second paddling experience, we decided to take him on a group paddle to the Nickajack Bat Cave. Flat water, a cave, and bats seemed like a perfect combination for a family paddling excursion.

The Nickajack Cave is a wildlife refuge that provides sanctuary for endangered gray bats and is managed jointly by TVA and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency solely for their protection.

This is a short paddle to be done close to dusk. We put in about an hour before sunset which gave us time to get up close to the cave, take some pictures and make sure Jack was comfortable on the water.

On the way to the cave Jack really wanted to hold a paddle, so we took turns letting him use our paddles. We are going to have to buy him a small paddle before our next outing.

Once the sun went down, the bats started their exodus from the cave. Jack wanted to know why the bats were coming out. So we repeatedly had to tell him that it was their supper time and they came out to eat bugs.

There were quite a few people at the cave to see the bats at dusk, but it wasn't overly crowded. A few people had pirate's flags on their kayaks and Jack spent the rest of the evening pretending to be a pirate.

Besides watching the bats, Jack enjoyed pretending to fish with a short piece of rope that he would throw into the water. He also thought that it was fun to shout into the cave, "Hello!" and "Anybody in there?" and hearing the echo come back to us.

The entrance to the cave is gated off, so we couldn't actually enter, but we could see in pretty far. When the bats came out, they tended to fly straight up the rock face and into the sky, as opposed to flying out onto the water into our faces.

The paddle back was in the dark, with a crescent moon overhead. We were on the water for about two hours and probably paddled about 2 miles according to MapMyRun.

Jack wanted to know if we could paddle home. Not this time, buddy. I hope Daniel enjoyed our family paddle for his 34th birthday.

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