In search of Rubies in 'Ruby Falls'--Tennessee, United States


(Ruby Falls)

Tennessee has the highest number of known caves in the entire United States and we got a good experience of one of the most fascinating and interesting one during our visit to this state. The best part of Rock City was Ruby Falls; the World’s longest underground waterfall…phew! When in Rock City, we were on top of the lookout mountain but when we reached to experience Ruby Falls, we were hundreds of feet down into the mountain. The rocky view through the glass doors of the high speed elevator was not a very comfortable sight. A cave guide accompanied our group of 40 and there were multiple such groups.
We followed her, walking past narrowest of passages; so narrow that two people could not stand side-by-side. Leaning on the walls of the cave, as much as possible, we let multiple groups pass by; 40 minutes inside the cave, halting occasionally to see some unique stalagmite and stalactite formations. Amid all the one-of-a-kind of formations at every corner, we spotted the cave flowers, the Anthodites. These are one of the rarest of cave formations and are only found in a few caves throughout the world. Those did look magnificent, like a bouquet of flowers hanging from the roofs of the cave. There was one thing that really made me sad. The interiors of the cave were so dimly lit that I could hardly get a photo of anything properly. I tried all possible settings of my camera but the pictures were either too dark or over exposed. I gave up and concentrated on the caves.


(Inside the cave)

We heard the famous roar usually associated with a waterfall. At first, it was unbelievable. There was no tumble, no cascade, just a shower like fall gushing out of an opening high above somewhere in the rocks and splashing into a pool below. No one knew what the source of the water was but the pool below led to the Tennessee River. It was a magnificent sight as the entire area was lit up with colored laser lights that changed every second from red to blue to violet…fantastic!  We walked up to the back of the falls from where we could get a view of the source of the water, high up in the rocks. I wish I could stay there for ages, just to admire the water and the colors but there were thousands of others waiting in the queue. That’s what I thought was very weird about Ruby Falls, we just had 5 to 7 minutes to enjoy this beauty. After that the lights were switched off and it was pitch dark. All we could hear was the thunderous roar. Never mind, I thought, I’ll stay on for a while. But the guide insisted that I come out and let the waiting group in.
‘Yeh dil maange more’ I thought and sadly came out. But there’s always a next time. Ruby Falls has a very adventurous ‘Lantern Tour’ where I could see the falls by lantern light; just the way it was discovered years ago. The excitement of hearing, feeling and seeing the falls in that light once the lantern is hoisted to the ceiling of the cave, made me happy and I left only to plan my next trip…soon.


(The Pool)