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Our caving trip

We've been back from our caving trip for a while, and we're finally caught up with all of our chores and have just sorted through all of the photos from our trip. We took a few hundred of them! Some highlights from our trip:

The view from our campsite was absolutely incredible. The campsite belonged to a caver who owned a summer cabin on the property. Just a few feet from our tent was a sheer drop off overlooking the small town below, and it faced west, so we witnessed some gorgeous sunsets.

It was very very cold during our entire trip (in the 20's and low 30's most of the time). A fire was absolutely necessary, not just for keeping warm, but also for cooking. Most of our meals were cooked in a dutch oven, a large cast iron pot heated with coals.

The first cave we went to was Rusty's, an absolutely gorgeous cave, with something like a sixty or seventy foot drop to get into it. Since neither Taylor nor I are particularly excellent with our vertical gear, Cole and Stephanie are always there to help out. Here Stephanie is on a bottom belay, ready to yank on that rope if Taylor or I slip on our way down, which would effectively stop us in our tracks.

This isn't to say that we're absolutely horrible with our gear! We've been practicing for the past few months, and hopefully one day we'll be able to take a rope-climbing class.

Rusty's cave is noted for the absolutely gorgeous formations. In many caves, a lot of the formations have been damaged by careless people not concerned with cave conservation. This cave, however, has most of the formations intact, and they're absolutely stunning.

The bats are always cool to see. Most of the time they're just clinging to the ceiling, but occasionally you'll see them flying around.

Climbing out is always a blast too. Frogging (the system we use) is fairly easy, but I always seem to have trouble whenever we're climbing up through a relatively tight opening. Balancing against the rock while still climbing is a bit tricky.

Here we are in Howard's cave, a horizontal cave that receives tons of visitors each year. There's graffiti on nearly every wall, lots of litter, and most of the formations are dead and damaged.

After caving, we headed over to the east part of the state, and camped out at Tallulah Gorge. Our original plan was Blacktop Mountain State Park, but it was further up the mountain, the temperature was predicted to be in the single digits. Instead, we slept in the cars down on the valley. The condensation on the inside of the windows was frozen in the morning, so it was still very very cold.

We also visited the Foxfire Museum. It was really awesome to see the way that people used to live in the area. I liked the antique spinning wheels (the lady that works at the museum as a spinner/weaver wasn't there which was a total bummer). Taylor had an absolute blast playing around on the stilts with Cole and Stephanie.

Our trip was wonderful, and wouldn't have been possible without Dennis and Philip taking care of our chickens, rabbits, and garden, or without Stephanie and Cole there to help us out on our caving adventure. Thanks guys.


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