We went treasure hunting and found a cave. In a state with 8,000 registered caves, it should not seem such a great feat to find cave, but this was THE cave that we were looking for, and a lot of hunting was done to find it. It took a team of four people, much internet searching, topographic maps, regional maps, two Saturdays, cold feet, much hiking, and a lot of hoping to find this cave.
Yes, it is a registered cave, but it was found less than two decades ago, requires some skills to enter, is not yet fully explored, and people keep a tight lip on its location. But, it is also the second largest cave in the United States. Did you read that? The second largest cave in the United States. That plus the 200 foot rappel to enter the large room kind of peaked our interest. And thus the hunt began.
Last Saturday we hunted and left exhausted (see photo for proof). This Saturday we hunted for just over two hours before the cave was found by one triumphant team member (much rejoicing by all followed). Elated, we headed to the cave with our pack. One team member down for this part of the day (family duty called), we entered and saw, for the first time, the first part of our treasure.
Just after entering the cave there is an 85 foot rappel down to a little creek. Then you follow the creek through a tunnel / canyon that was about 30 feet tall and just the right width for us to fit through. The beautiful sound of water traveled with us the whole time as we braced ourselves against the canyon walls. Then we returned to ascend the rope those (seemingly much longer) 85 feet up and out. It was a first run and there is so much more to explore but we found our treasure. Not treasure that you can put in your pocket and show off to the world, but it is perfect treasure.
If things go well, we will do another test run in a month or so, and then take a larger team down to the large room (200 foot rappel) in March. So, you will be hearing more about this adventure as it continues to develop. And, who knows? Maybe we will find gold treasure deep down inside as well.
The top flashlight is the top of the rappel, the second is Joel descending.
Burton pulling Joel over after the descent so that he does not land in the little creek.
The canyon above the creek. Happy times.
A lot more exhausting to go up a rope.