Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Surprising Cave

I've been doing cave-related things this way, so I thought it would be a good time to share a family trip to a cave from last month.

I had heard about this particular cave years ago, but was told that it was fairly small and a long hike, so not necessarily worth the trip. But for some reason I decided we should go check it out, especially since we would already be in the vicinity (meaning within 15 miles by high clearance two-track road).

This particular canyon has lots of caves, including the one above. We couldn't see the one we were aiming at, so we weren't totally sure if we would make it or not. But I thought we would (cavers are often optimistic, but I will admit that I've had to turn back from more than one caving trip because we couldn't find the cave entrance).
Desert Boy and I went ahead and located the entrance, which really wasn't that hard to find. Desert Boy really enjoyed climbing at the entrance!

While we waited for my husband and Desert Girl to catch up, I had fun taking some photos.

Soon we were heading into the cave. (Like Desert Girl's hiking attire? She really likes to wear dresses!)
We found lots of packrat middens and their oozy goo running over cave formations. Fortunately we didn't find a lot of dust, which made this cave rate high in my book. So many Great Basin caves are dusty with a putrid packrat smell that it really makes an impression when you find one that's not!

 It turned out that the cave passage kept going, so the kids had fun leading the way.

 I couldn't help but look for cave biota, and here the kids take a closer look at a tiny beetle.

 Not only was the cave quite a bit larger than I had expected, it also had a second entrance!

 The cave formations weren't super spectacular, and some had been broken off, but we still appreciated those that were left.

 We found another cave passage that led to some formations.

 Butterscotch flowstone!

 On the way back we tried for a family photo.

 After checking out a few more features, we could see light from the main entrance.

 We probably spent about an hour in the cave, going quite slowly. It was perfect for the kids, not too hard, but not too easy. I'm hoping that they will want to continue to go caving with me as they get older (perhaps a fun way to spend quality time with them when they're teenagers?), so going to a cave is a special treat. Fortunately this time it worked out well as a treat for us all.

After leaving the cave we still had the steep hike down to the vehicle. Fortunately Desert Girl was in a marvelous attitude and sang most of the way down.

Here's to fun outdoor (or underground!) adventures!


I Am Woody said...

I love the look of the flowstone - looks like melted ice cream :)

A said...

I think I recognize that cave entrance in the first photo? Is that the (dusty) one we went in? (Hiking through cheat grass all the way there, I might add.)

Neil Marchington said...

This was the 1st cave I did in that mountain range about 13 years ago. It was a part of my decision to move to Ely. I'm looking forward to the return trip for Convention this year.

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