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  • Deep within what was once the famous American outlaw Jesse James' hideout the earth takes on a different form. Missouri, which is also known as the cave state, is home to Meramec Caverns, one of over 6,000 caves in the state. Located in Stanton, Missouri off the historic Route 66, it is seven stories high... or should I say deep and has the largest cave formations in the world.
    These caverns have been a part of my life since I was a child and I have long been fascinated by their beauty. In the 1960's, throughout the Midwest barns along highways were painted with signs advertising Meramec Caverns. Most of those barns are either gone or the advertising has faded away.... faded to billboards.
    Each year I try to travel to these magnificent caverns and absorb their beauty all over again. As you step inside to the temperature of a constant 58 degrees, you will find stalagmites and stalactites that have taken millions of years to form. They will continue to form drip by drip while you are there... experiencing the ever changing landscape of the underworld.
    One of the biggest attractions is the Stage Curtain. It is a 70-million-year-old, 70-foot tall, 60-foot wide and 35-foot deep dripstone wall that resembles the curtain on an enormous stage and is the largest calcite formation in the world.
    My favorite formation is one of Ragonite, the rarest and the largest formation of its kind in the world. It is called Wine Table and soars two-stories high. It's name comes from the formations surrounding it that remind you of grape clusters.
    I hope this has peaked your interest enough to put this on your bucket list. It is well worth the experience ... and floating the Meramec River is a great way to top off the trip.
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