Philly Grotto was heading on down to West Virginia with Troop 178 to do a little caving at Dead Dog Cave. I guess we've never done this cave in the winter before because I don't remember the walk to the cave being so cold. By now we don't get lost in the field looking for the hole they way we did the first couple times. But it's still a good ½ to ¾ mile walk from the cars to the entrance of the cave.
This was not their first caving trip with us. They had done some in NY as well. We all entered without any incidence and started poking around. There are parts of the cave I've been before and other parts I'd like to get too. With the size of this cave I still have not seen the whole thing, much less in one trip.
There is a fair amount of climbing and squeezing. It is a strenuous cave to crawl around inside of. We let the boys lead a good bit and discover what passages they could find. There was passage that they found that I didn't think looked worth while to squeeze into at that time. But now in hindsight, after I've looked over the map, there seems to be a good amount of passage past that point. I just need to loose a few more pounds to get past that hole and maybe rig a hand line for the return, just in case.
But we managed to cover a fair amount of the cave on that trip. We tried to make sure we didn't return on the same path that we entered rooms and passages. That made it a bit more interesting and we got turned around a couple times because of it. Just kept pushing until everyone was tired and ready to exit the cave.
Getting out usually a chore, especially replacing and locking the gate. In the past this has taken up to an hour to get it right. Today, with the cold, we were motivated and got it in place in 20 minutes. Then there was the long walk back with the sun low in the sky. We did get changed and packed up and back in the cars before sunset and headed back to Pennsylvania.
The day didn't stop there. The Grotto members and Troop 178 stopped to have dinner together and talked for a few more hours about caving and Scouting. We agreed to get together again real soon and do this again in the summer.