We have all heard of a rainbow. But how many of us have heard of a moonbow? Well, I hadn't until this weekend when Sri told me about it. A moonbow or a lunar rainbow is a pretty rare phenomenon and how lucky for us that Cumberland falls where a moonbow naturally occurs, is only 1.5 hours drive away :-D. So that called for a quick trip to Corbin, KY.
The tript being pretty short, not much was planned and we left on Saturday 7th October 2006 afternoon. As the moonbow occurs only during full moons and you guessed it right, there was a full moon that particular day, we headed to Corbin. A moonbow obviously requires moonlight and night, so we had considerable time after we reached Corbin. So we made a quick visit to the place where the famous KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) began. The place is just another KFC restaurant but has all these memorablia of Colonel Harland Sanders who is credited for all the recipes of KFC. It also features the old kitchen of Colonel Sanders with all of the original equipment. So it was kind of nice.
Thats me with Uncle Sanders :).
Some memorablia scattered all over the place and this is the kitchen below:
Well, as we are pure vegetarians we couldn't really taste the so-called delicacies there. But we did have some potato wedges and a corn on the cob (thats plain boiled corn) :). We had to contribute somehow to the place as they didn't really charge us anything for the "museum" viewing :-p.
Then we headed to the Cumberland falls. By the time we reached there, though it was dark, it wasn't totally night yet. The moon was slowly coming up. We saw the falls and there was lots of mist being generated by the falls. That was good because it meant that there were more chances of the moonbow to appear. But it was really cold there brrrrrrr.
As we were watching, the moonlight covered the falls and the moonbow just formed. It was simply breath-taking! It formed surrounding the falls and it was like a pale white dome glowing around the falls. Its something I never expected to see in my life simply because I never knew something like this existed. It seems Cumberland falls is the only place in the western hemisphere where such a phenomenon takes place.
The only sad thing was that I just couldn't take any photos. At all!! Nothing was visible from the camera, though I did try taking several pictures, all came out toally blank. Here I had this absolutely beautiful sight in front of my eyes and I had no way of capturing it :(. The others were also clicking away, but I peeped into their digital camera screens (>:) :-D) and couldn't see anything there too :-p. I did find the following photo on the internet, but I am not sure whether its a natural one taken on some powerful lens camera or some photoshop manufactured one :(.
Seems rather artificial. But this is how the moonbow looks. Only in our case the moonbow was over the falls. Its kind of a grey version of the rainbow. Its extremely rare because of some main points. Firstly, as I mentioned before, it requires full moon and absolutely no other city light interferences. That explains why its not seen in Niagara falls :-p. Also, the moon has to be in some angle to the raindrops or in our case, the mist. In Cumberland falls, the criteria are all satisfied and the result is fabulous. We stayed there till about 11PM in the night and saw the moonbow from various places and angles. Then went back to the hotel toom to rest for the night :).
Sunday 8th October 2006 morning, we drove to a place called Stearns where there was a scenic railroad trip available. We thought it would last for an hour but turned out it went on for 3 hours. Well, 1.5 hours of the 3 hours was spent in a station which had an old, now unused coal mine :-p (as I've said 100s of times, the Americans are capable of making anything a tourism point :-p). The train was an old steam engine train. But it was fun basically because there were lots of toddlers in the train. The kids were so happy that it turned out to be fun for us too :).
This is the train and the here is the coal mine. It was not the complete mine, but only kind of a museum view :-\.
There is autumn slowly creeping in Kentucky. So the train ride also provided some colourful tree glimpses :).
Once we were done with the train ride, we went back to Cumberland falls to see the falls in daylight :). With the moonbow still fresh on our minds, the falls was a little bit less impressive than the night before, but beautiful nevertheless.
We even walked down a trail to see the falls a bit closer (we did this the previous night too).
That was it. We returned home after 1.5 hours drive back. The best part is that we can go anytime there is a full moon, as its really near to us. But again, whats the fun when I can't capture any photos!!
Then again maybe some things are not meant to be captured....