First Experiences/What made you become interested in caving?

TheShadowGuy

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When was the first time you went in a cave or the trip that got you hooked on them?

Personally I've always loved caves and I went on many a guided tour as a kid. The history, the formations sculpted by time, and the ecology was always quite fascinating.
 

scout24

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Only tour I went on was Howe Caverns in NY many moons ago as a kid. Haven't been underground since! I agree they are fascinating. I lived vicariously through my Uncle's exploits with cave diving. He was a certified SCUBA instructor, and went cave diving all over Mexico, the Caribbean, etc.
 

Kestrel

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... or maybe those trips and experiences that forever banished all interests in caving? lol

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When I was a kid our family vacationed in England every so often; we did a few visits to Kent's Caverns a few times which was fun.

There was also this adventure camp thing where one of the days' activities were guided trips (participants: teenagers etc) inside a complex of rather wet limestone caves in Devon not that far from Dartmoor. This was back in the days of carbide lamps etc. What a mess. :)

Carlsbad Caverns a number of times when I was in New Mexico for college. The last time I was there, I clearly recall that it was exactly 114F outside and ~58 (of course) in the caves - a dramatic contrast for sure.

The Jenolan Caves in Australia. I confess that I can't remember much about them, but was impressed at the time certainly.
OK I was 16 at the time and had just found out that I could get all sorts of drinks served to me at the Aussie bars. :rolleyes:

During a rather long (;)) bicycle trip, Hidden Cave (NV) and Mammoth Cave National Park (KY).

A really fortunate collection of caving experiences growing up really.

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But what was really memorable, not for the scenery but for the crazy level of danger, were the old abandoned smithsonite mines near Kelly, New Mexico.
http://www.rozylowicz.com/retirement/kelly/kelly.html
http://northwestrocks.blogspot.com/2013/02/kelly-mine-new-mexico.html

Off-limits, entry prohibited, mines in a partial state of collapse, etc.
I have all sorts of stories, but the short version is now that I have some sense, you couldn't pay me enough to go back in those. :eek:oo:

Edit: And since this is a flashlight forum, the ?trusty? AA Mini Maglites lead the way in those. :rolleyes:
 
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smokinbasser

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My family camped quite a bit in mid Kentucky where there are several well advertised caves and as a boy scout my dad/scoutmaster located smaller non publicized caves to take the scouts in that didn't have the sidewalks and permanent lighting that let you feel you were exploring new territory!
 

Str8stroke

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Some of the cave systems you guys are talking about are amazing. I found a small, lesser known system by accident in Sonora Texas. I stopped by and took the family for a tour. This was PL times. Pre LED. So I carried my trusty 3C Mag. Me and the tour guide were the only ones with a light. I can remember thinking my light (which had fresh energizers) was far superior. I also felt like the King of the Darkness. I so would enjoy going today. :)
We were there a few days after the Butterfly was vandalized by a rouge college student.
If you have never heard of the cave take a look for yourself.

http://cavernsofsonora.com
 

magellan

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Have been to most of the limestone caves in California such as Shasta Caverns, King's Canyon, the several in the Gold Country such as the one in Copperopolis (don't remember the names of the two others we visited but they were similar). Have also been to Carlsbad, the lava tubes on Hawaii (Big Island), and at Lava Beds National Monument in California a couple of times. There's a small rock cave (actually more like a tunnel) in Pinnacles Nat'l Monument near Hollister, CA. Finally, have been to a couple of the "glow worm" caves in New Zealand which are really cool. Still need to get to Mammoth Caves.
 
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