If you've noticed things are a little quiet around here, it may be because we're on vacation, doing the grandparent circuit in Utah for a couple of weeks.
Yesterday the kid and I went with my sister and her 3yo daughter to Mt Timpanogos Cave, which I'd last visited as a kid on a grandparent roadtrip.
As caves go, it's nice but not really spectacular, but it's definitely convenient--a 40-min. drive up a canyon from Salt Lake City. The only catch is that it's a 1000 feet up the mountain, at the end of a 1.5 mile trail. Takes about an hour and a half. The Park Service has paved the trail and keeps it nice and easy, so easy that they have to post "No strollers on the trail" signs everywhere.
The kids were troopers, though, and they hiked the whole way up and back. From our ranger guide's standpoint, the kid's main reason for going was to try and stump him with questions.
First question upon stepping into the entrance after the long hike up: "How, exactly, do you get electricity and lights into this cave?" [they run a wire, which she proceeded to point out along the way.]
"Is this a fault? Were there earthquakes in this cave?" [yes and yes]
"How, exactly, does the water leave the stone behind to make stalactites?" [the dissolved solids get left behind wherever the water evaporates, and the speed and volume of water determine the shape of the formations.]
"That can't be the real heart of Princess Timpanogos; hearts are just the size of your fist." [calling BS on the Indian legend some white guy made up in the 1920's]
When we got back out into the sunlight, the ranger asked me where the kid gets her questions, "What do you DO? Do you work at a university or something?"
I was all, "Yeah, we don't know either. Her mother works at NASA, but this is just how she is."
Halfway down the trail, the ranger and his buddy passed us, which gave the kid the chance for one more question that'd been eating at her, and which I could only answer 2/3 of: "If iron makes some rocks brown, and calcium makes some rocks white, what made that one section blue?"
"Nickel." And then he turns to his colleague and goes, "This is the one I was telling you about."
If you go, reserve timed tickets in advance. It's worth the 50 cents: Timanogos Cave National Monument [nps.gov]