After speaking with Outdoor Chattanooga, the crew and I headed out to a place they suggested known as Raccoon Mountain Caverns.
Along with our tour guides Patty and Michael we would be gearing up and going deep into the mountain.
But before we headed in, I needed some answers to alleviate my fears.
Patty: The rocks are pretty stable. Um the cave is really too cold for snakes. No bears. The only entrance big enough for any animal is through the gift shop, and they can't come through the gift shop.
Megan: So I'm getting very excited. Patty has calmed my nerves. I was a little hesitant about the dark spaces, not a lot of air but she has confirmed that the wind will be blowing and I'll be alright. And eventually I'll see the light so I think we'll be ok.
And so we headed through the gift shop to the cave entrance, and as Patty predicted, there were no bears.
Megan: Well it's really pretty right now with the lights on it but I'm starting to get a little more nervous.
I have to admit, I didn't expect a cavern to be this beautiful.
Patty: A little bit about the geology of the cave, like all the caves in the southeast this is a limestone cave so limestone is the rock you see on the ceiling and the walls.
Next we were heading into the part of the cave I had been dreading.
The point where there is no lighting, and our normal cameras are too big to use.
That's when the headlamps and our Go Pros came in handy.
I have never been more thankful for knee pads, gloves, and a helmet in my life.
Megan: Oh my word. Geez.
And though I didn't realize it at the time just minutes into the tour I had almost completely forgotten about the fears I had beforehand.
Megan: So we are about halfway through our cave tour and I have to admit it was really warm outside but in here it's almost refreshing, I haven't really broken a sweat and Patty says it stays like this…
Patty: …year round. it's sixty degrees caves will stay the average temperature of an area so Chattanooga we're about 58, 60 degrees year-round so you know if it's a hundred degrees outside and you want to do an activity, caving is awesome.
Megan: We are now in grand junction which is one of six locations in the cave where groups can actually come in, stay the night, have an overnight tour and that includes anyone of like families, church groups, school groups, and they can camp out here all night and have a great time.
By the end of our tour, I had gone from a nervous wreck,
Jacob: How are you feeling about this?
Megan: I'm just letting Michael lead the way and we'll all get through.
.. to having a lot of fun so far underground. With great people, and unique sights, I highly recommend Raccoon Mountain Caverns.