Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sharing One of My Favorite Caves With My Grandsons

A Little Background History

There is a pair of caves on a property that we use to go to regularly. Because of their beauty and the fun trips we had they were very special to me. A few weeks after the last trip there many years ago one of our Grotto members had driven by and there was a “No Trespassing” sign posted with a chain across the drive. The property had been sold and the new owners didn’t want anyone on the property any more.


Several years had gone by with some negotiation with the land owner and a tentative Memorandum of Understanding was being considered. Then the land owner sold that piece of property to a farmer and new negotiations had start up.

We Have A Caving Trip

Almost five and a half years later and we have a tentative permission to enter the property and the two caves that I’ve missed exploring and sharing. Jumping at the chance I secured a date and received permission to enter. I invited a few of my friends from Philly Grotto and Dragon Breath Grotto plus a couple people from another Venturing Crew. We have a caving trip in the making.
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One of the caves is not very technical, but for some people the entrance is a bit tight. I wanted to take my two grandsons to see this cave, at least this once, in case it gets closed again. We divided the group into two different groups. One had the younger kids, Andy and I lead that group. The other had the older, high school aged, kids. Amos and Marcy lead that group. The original plan was to swap caves after we had finished exploring the one we were in. Funny how plans don’t always work out.

Getting Inside

I started my slide into the 12 inch entrance with 4 kids stacked up behind me and another adult in the rear. Once inside I was getting the kids situated and comfortable I hear a lot of discussion at the entrance and Andy came in. Two of the adults, who will remain unnamed to protect their anonymity, decided the entrance is just a little tight for their taste.

How Young is Too Young to Start Caving?

PICT0009 PICT0008 Andy and I are in the cave with another adult, Sandy. This was her second cave and she was loving it. We had my two grandsons, Zahne (9) and Aidan (5). This also was Aidan’s second cave. Zahne has been caving with me for about a year and a half and is very comfortable underground. This was Bridget’s (5) and PICT0007 PICT0006 Dominic’s (8) first caving trip and they were both very excited and wanted to see everything. A little later we picked up Kevin from the other group as he was a little uncomfortable with the more technical entrance of that cave.

For Those Who Think Caving Is Too Scary and Dangerious for Kids.

102_0720 You would have thought it was Christmas the way these kids were acting. They were so excited about seeing every part of the cave and sharing it with each other. One of the things I like about this cave is there are no real dangerous drops or holes they can fall into. We can let them explore and experince being the first one in a dark passage without worrying about them. There is also a good variety of formations that they could discover and look at up close. Little drips coming off the “soda straws” and moisture on the columns. They got to see, feel, smell and hear what a cave really is like, first hand, up-close and personal. And they got their picture taken a lot.

Finally Done

We eventually did work our way out and back up the entrance. Of course the adults had a little more difficulty than the kids getting out that little opening. We were generally all tired and it was starting to get a little late. We decided to skip the cave swap and call it a day.

Some from the other group were already out and waiting. A little while later the rest of them came out tired but excited. This is why I like to take people, especially kids, to see these caves. They are spectacular and leave a long lasting impression on them how fragile and beautiful the cave eco system is. Now we just need to plan when we can get back and swap caves.

Want more pics?

Here's the rest of the album. Andy's album is here. Amos's album from the other group is here.

Please leave a comment, subscribe to YOUCave and share this with your friends.

Thanks,
Allen

3 comments:

  1. Excellent article Allen! We'll help you draw some more attention to it.

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  2. Its good to know that others are encouraging the next generation of budding cavers out there. I live in the Uk (Somerset) and regularly take my 2 children caving on Mendip.

    I think its important to show children that there is more to life than sitting in front of some dammdable games console - afterall when we were children those things didn't even exsist WE had to go and make our own fun! - building dens, lighting fires, drinking from the hosepipe etc, we used to call it "playing out".

    These days children are wrapped up in cotton wool and not exposed to the outdoors. Is it any wonder that the world is getting fatter, heart desease, diabetes, astmah etc is on the increase?

    Good for you, only by doing can we encourage!

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