Down Inside Ruby Falls

December 12, 2007
By Christine Tall, New Port Richey, FL

It was the summer of 2005, me, my mom, and Ray were driving down a boiling road, hoping and praying that soon we could stop somewhere to rest. The aroma of the dry air in the countryside was just beginning to overstay its welcome. As I looked far out into the distance I could see the barely visible cows grazing on the land covered with think green grass.

“Are we there yet?” I asked feeling a repulsive look distort my face. As we neared Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga Tennessee, the car took an abrupt stop. I was prepared to bolt out of the car, ripped open the door, and saw a sign with big bold letters on it that said Ruby Falls. “Mom,” I asked, “what’s Ruby Falls?”

She responded, “It is a waterfall inside Lookout Mountain.” Then I wondered how there could possibly be a waterfall inside of a mountain.

My ears were popping. It seemed as if we were moving at a snail’s pace. I then felt a chill in the air. Echoes repeated themselves all around and then the doors finally opened. At approximately two-hundred and sixty feet inside the mountain, I knew that the waiting was finally worth it! Limestone stalagmites and stalactites surrounded us as we slowly stepped away from the metal elevator doors. The cavern walls were moist and cold. Tiny glistening puddles of water were all over the ground.

The next thing I knew our petite middle-aged tour guide was leading us down various passageways As we passed by roped-off sections of the caves she recited remarkable facts about that area and why they are so interesting. People were gasping in astonishment as they passed by fascinating sights that took mother nature hundreds of years to create. We went by one section that said “Please Do Not Touch,” I lingered and waited for the rest of the group to pass. Then at the right moment I grabbed a miniature stone that was in a crevasse in the wall. The stone was smooth like marble and the edges were uneven and sharp. I jammed it into my pocket and then caught up with the rest of the group.

The air got colder as we were all led through a long dark and misty tunnel. I could hear the sounds of water splashing. The further we walked the louder the sounds got and then, unexpectedly, I saw a bright light into the distance and the echoes of the waterfall were now reverberating.

“What a magnificent sight!” Then Oooo and Ahhhs emerged from many other people in the group as they watched the splendor of the waterfall. The mist and spray from the waterfall left moisture on the walls and they all glistened in the light.

“This is amazing,” I stated to my mother as we walked behind the waterfall.

“Yes it is,” she responded, “and very cold too!” The walk back was long and silent. The ride up in the elevator was just as long as going down.

Back in the car, finally on our way back home. To this day the trip down inside Ruby Falls completely amazes me, and I will never forget the splendor of it all. “Are we there yet?” I said only being in the car for ten minutes. Everyone laughed and I put my head down on my nice and soft blue pillow and fell asleep.

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