If You Only Look Hard Enough
This week I visited Moria. It was dark, located in a mountain, and had a lot of stairs carved into rock. You my know it as Lewis and Clark Caverns. For those of you who don’t live in the mountain west, the Caverns are located somewhere between podunk nowhere and hickville in the great state of Montana. Interestingly enough, the two intrepid explorers never set foot in the impressive nature-made middle earth-esq caves. Nope, Montana and her neighboring states just have a serious obsession problem with good ol’ Meriwether and William. That’s what happens when your only other claims to fame are a large poisounous hole in the side of a mountain and the home of choice for a crazed mass murderer.
But I digress. Back to the proof of my Lord of the Rings obsession. At the entrance of the caves I ‘amused’ my new husband with quips such as ‘Speak friend and enter,’ and ‘You must travel into the depths of Mordor.’ I also brought up some of the finer points of the movie The Descent, and even had a fun conversation with our tour guide about which character she fancied herself to be (I chose the crazy axe-wielding, friend-betraying Asian girl. Hey, know thyself).
In all seriousness, the Lewis and Clark Caverns are a fun place to visit for anybody who is a mega fantasy nerd. Sure, the overweight American tourists (is it weird the only four people I liked on the tour were Canadian?) sort of tend to take some of the sparkle away, but in general it feels as though you’ve been dropped into one of your favorite novels. While Moria was my favorite imaginative wandering of the 2 hour tour, I also couldn’t help but think about the caves that the White Court used as a meeting place in The Dresden Files, and I even partook in a short musing about Wampas (there was no ice, but still).
I’ve always gotten a bit of good natured ribbing from my non nerdy friends for my geeky obsessions, but in general they tend to make life pretty exciting. When the tour guide turned off the lights to show us just how dark it gets 240 feet under the surface of the earth, I leaned in and did my fairly creepy impression of Gollum coughing his own name for my ever-so-lucky husband. Which is truly creepy enough for him to squeal in a somewhat unmanly fashion and tell me to stop doing it immediately. At the end of the tour you end up walking through a very long tunnel lit by the modern version of torches, and the tour guide finds it hilarious to slam the door behind everyone and create a booming noise that scares the living daylights out of everybody. My response? “They are coming.” God, I love being me.
If anyone is ever making the very long drive across Montana on I-90, I suggest a slight detour at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. It really is an amazing sight, even without movie references. Nature pretty much rocks.
More importantly, remember to find and embrace your nerd no matter where you are. It makes life oh-so-interesting and fun!
I’d love to hear any stories you may have on finding your geek in unexpected places!