Caving With Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Council 11-18-18

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Yes, they were at it again. This time there were two new Troops to introduce to caving. Eastern PA Council set this one up at the same time as the one in October. This trip originally had sixteen people, but one Troop backed out at the last minute. It’s a shame because they missed a very good time with these girls. Maybe they’ll come out again when they can. We have been having a tremendous amount of rain and unprecedented snowfall for this time of year. As a result the cave actually had a good bit of water in it.

I like to use this cave for beginner trips because it is stable. But I’ve never seen this much water in this cave. Parts that usually have a little sticky mud had water over the top of my thigh. I choose to avoid the lower parts of the cave. For most of the girls this was their first wild caving trip. I didn’t want to take any chances with them and I didn’t want anyone cold and miserable. But they all got very muddy, and had a blast. How could I tell? Watch the video. L…

So You Want To Try Caving

Ask Cavers: Which is the Best Wild Cave Tour?

Caving News asked cavers what their favorite “wild cave tour” is. For those Youth Group Leaders looking to try your first wild cave trip this may be a good resource to check out to see what others think of these commercial wild cave trips.


Planning Ahead
The commercial wild cave trip is an excellent choice for a first caving trip. They are easy to plan because they are already set up with guides and gear. These are usually in some of the best caves to see and experience. After all, that’s why they commercialize them. They have their own set of rules which are usually very easy to abide by. And sometimes they even have several trips of varying difficulty depending on age and/or ability.

Some thing to keep in mind when planning one of these commercial wild cave trips is to plan well in advance. Sometimes they are not open year round to protect hibernating bats. Sometimes the best weekends book up early. Either way start planning a year ahead of time. And ask the cave operator when you should make reservations by.

Review the rules of the cave with everyone going on the trip. If they want you to use their equipment, use their equipment. If they say no bags, then they mean no bags. If there is an age cut off, stick to it with no exceptions.

Get their mandatory equipment list and stick to it with no exceptions. I’ve had kids and parents say, “but what if I have a ….” or “ .. but I don’t have a ….”. If they ask for boots that cover the ankle, get boots that cover the ankle or don’t go. You don’t want to be waiting to start the tour and have someone called out because they are not properly dressed.

What about the non-cavers in your group?
Find out what other facilities they have. Sometimes they have camping and eating facilities that are great for your group. Get all the details and ask for their suggestions. They’ve done this before and know what to expect.

Find out if they have activities that others not participating in the wild cave tour can do. Some kids just don’t like caving, but they may like hiking or geology or some other activity provided by the commercial cave. Some commercial caves even offer advancement opportunities for Scouts and other youth organizations.

Brag about your conquest..
After you have done your wild cave trip, come on back and post your opinion. Let other group leaders know what you thought both good and bad. Be specific in telling what you expected and what happened and if you would recommend this trip for another group like yours.

Take plenty of pictures and post them. Sharing your experience with family and friends is a great way to show off how much fun you really had.

Uummm, Where??
Where do you find a commercial wild cave tour? The National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee has a web page for that http://www.caves.org/youth/Map.shtml. You can also ask other youth organizations in your area.

So go forth, plan, and get underground.

Please subscribe to the YOUCave email list. Tweet us at @youcave. Check us out on Face Book and Google+. And share us with your friends. If you ask a question in the comment section I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks,
Allen

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footsteps, kill nothing but time.” – cavers’ creed




National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee. The youth group’s connection to caves and caving.

Comments

  1. Thanks for advice! Caving has always intrigued me. I've explored some of the well known guided cave tours in Missouri and a few random caves found by hiking. I have not taken my youth group, but this would be a really cool experience for them.

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