Over the long weekend, we took a nice ride through northwestern Georgia, northeastern Alabama, and a days' dip into Tennessee to visit the lovely town of Chattanooga.
We started out by heading across the north end of the north Atlanta suburbs, culminating in a late lunch at Two Brothers Pit Barbecue,
then westward towards our initial destination, Scottsboro AL's Sauta Cave, also known as Blowing Wind cave.
Sauta Cave is known for being a bat colony; every evening, about 300,000 gray bats exit the cave en masse in order to feast on mosquitoes on nearby lake Guntersville. In the morning they return in a shower of guano, and spend the daytime napping in the depths of the cave. This is a maternity cave, where these endagered bats raise their young each year. This is what we came to see:
Around 8:30 or so, as it was getting dark, we saw a few bats, then several more, and soon there was a flood of bats coming over the top of the grate covering the mouth of the cave:
The most amazing thing about this bat exodus is the sound
they make, a great and neverending whooshing as though you were standing next to a river, and the breeze from the rush of the bats' bodies is eerie. Although it is very dark in the cave and there are thousands of bats traveling at a high rate of speed within inches of eachother, the bats manage to avoid the midair collisions you'd expect under the circumstances.