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These three sites--Russell Cave, Ruby Falls, and Mammoth Cave--represent a range of karst landscapes that played varying historic roles in the southeastern United States. There's Russell Cave, which provided shelter to people for millennia; Ruby Falls, excavated only in the 20th century and opened as a tourist site, now renowned for its stunning formations and underground waterfall; and of course the incomparable Mammoth Cave, with its seemingly endless trails.
The rain was falling lightly, enough to ensure that I had the entire trail to myself. About half a mile in, the trail seemed to fall away at a bluff. I stood there in silence, looking out over a medium-sized lake framed by mountains, with a few tiny cabins in the distance. Join me on my journey as I Hike Horseshoe Lake of Denali National Park get lost in its quiet beauty.