It is a vivid memory of more than 60 years ago.

I packed my lunch and boarded a school bus with my little 6th grade friends and we headed to Howe Caverns (60 miles away) for a field trip.  When we arrived, we all grouped together as we were herded into a large elevator and we descended to the center of the earth (about 150 feet down, but it seemed A LOT farther).  Once in the chilly caverns below we were dazzled by the stone "icicles" which have been dripping from the stone roof for over a million years.  The cavern was beautiful with all different colored lights behind the rock formations.

And, then we boarded a boat!  An underground boat ride is not something you readily take in New York (or anywhere).  At the end of the Lake of Venus cruise, our tour guide told us about the geological wonder we were inside of.  And then he dramatically turned off the cavern lights to let us experience absolute, total darkness.

Yes, I was scared!  In fact it was the first time I ever held a girl's hand.  Little Barbie J., sitting next to me, grabbed my hand in an iron grip.  The lights could not come on fast enough.

It was an amazing, totally unforgettable field trip, and a visit to Howe Caverns is still a rite of passage for school kids from all over the Northeast.

And, now some six decades later, I have taken my own grandchildren to Howe Caverns.  Believe me, the underwound boat ride still amazes.

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