Our road trip to Texas had to be majorly adjusted due to a change in work schedules. We ended-up flying to Texas for my grandfather's birthday, but we were bummed our road trip was cancelled, so we tried to do what we could. We decided to do the first leg of our road trip: Onondaga Cave State Park in Missouri. Neither of us have ever been to Missouri and I've never seen a cave before, so there were many firsts.
C's dad gave us an old tent of his so we chose to try the new-to-us tent rather than use the car tent. (The car tent is in the trunk so we always have it around in case of emergencies.) It was the first time I ever did proper tent camping and I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed it more than the car tent for sure.
The one thing that really blew me away with our camp site was how dark it was. I went out of the tent in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (they had flush toilets nearby, thankfully) and was shocked at how pitch black it was. I looked up and was amazed at how many stars there were; I just stood there looking at all of them until my neck hurt.
Ah, but true darkness is in the cave itself. They have most of the cave lit-up with flood lights when you go by certain sections. The lights are turned off behind you and when you finally reach the end of the tour, our guide turned off all the lights. Holy moly–you have no idea what darkness is until you are hundreds of feet underground. I kept waiting for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and then I realized...there is no light for my eyes to adjust to.
The Onondaga Cave is lovely and we had a great tour guide. The site itself is doing a great job of preserving the caves after years of misuse under the old owner and the camping sites are very well kept up. If you are in the area, I would suggest a stop by the park.
We have two more camping trips planned for this year, so we will be making-up for the lack of our road trip. I even was able to convince Donovan and Dillon to join us for one of the trips!
*For those wondering: The tent C's dad gave us is no longer made in the version we have. L.L. Bean still makes the model, but it no longer has a hexagon footprint, which is one thing we really liked about it. They changed the floor to be square and adjusted the way the rain fly is attached. We liked that the tent hade a screen skylight, similar to that of a yurt. If we didn't have the rainfly on, it would have made for lovely star gazing.