Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Trip 8

            On this day in history many important things happened, but the most important thing for our purposes happened during 2004 when we went to the Indian Caverns and the first parts of Nationals.
            The Indian cavern is a limestone cave of considerable size.  Indians, and later various white people, used it for winter quarters.  One chief was buried there and many arrowheads etc. were found.  In one room radium deposits glow, the Indians thought that the green spots were the eyes of evil spirits looking at them.  In another room a rock gives out a tone when hit, it is probably a metallic substance.  But throughout the tour I kept in mind Tolkein’s wisdom.  “The dangerous part about caves: you don’t know how far they go back, sometimes, or where a passage behind may lead to, or what is waiting for you inside.”  A rather sobering thought as the cave is quite large and the tour only visits a small fraction of it.  There are several large holes that shoot off in various directions, including one that goes down a long ways to an underground lake.  The tour guide said that the cave had been mapped out by Penn State, but I have my doubts about the completeness of the survey, as the depth of the lake is not known.  Oh well, no reason to obsess over it.  The visit was very nice.
            After we ate lunch we headed to the campus to begin the contest.  When we arrived at the team tents we discovered that they were arranged in the shape of the Periodic Table.  Being Iodine, we were positioned in the non-metals.  Soon it was time to line up for the Parade of States, where several members of each team marches through the stadium with banners and various flags.  Although this is considered an honor, you get the privilege of waiting outside for two hours on a 95-degree day.  When it was our turn we discovered that what would supposedly be marching music was actually Mummer’s “music,” which amounts to syncopation with several different instruments.  Usually, the school band plays real marching music, but Juniata is so small it doesn’t have a band.  To tell the truth the campus is only slightly bigger than Clark College, something that I will probably rant about in the future.
            After the parade of states was the opening ceremonies.  The keynote speaker is a guy who works on cooling the atoms in atomic clocks.  So he gave plenty of demonstrations with really cold stuff, otherwise known as liquid nitrogen.  Although virtually everyone there knew why he could stuff nine balloons in a very small cooler it was rather nice all the same.  
            As soon as the Opening Ceremonies were over they announced that a thunderstorm was coming in.  This meant that we could not use the team tents for the Swap Meet, a treasured Science Olympiad event.  So they shuttled us off to a gym that doesn’t happen to have air conditioning.  Believe it or not, several thousand people can heat up a room very quickly so the temperature spiked to above one hundred degrees.  Later that night we discovered that Mrs. Goss had heat exhaustion.  So the entire Swap Meet was a bit of a disappointment for some of the people who hold it in deep respect.
            On the way back to the cabins Kevin managed to pull a light stick apart and splatter it on his eye.  So we washed it off with bottled water.  But he informed us that it still hurt.  So after seeing many policemen, nurses, a chemical shower and a doctor we managed to get it all out.  We did not go to bed very early that night.
            As I said above, the Indian caves were nice, the first part of nationals was fair, and we had some late night excitement.


  • At 4:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Goodness, Sky! Anyone who looks at this will think that either: You are a homeless person with a whole lot of money and a interest for travelling, or: a member of a travelling circus!;-)


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