but certainly prospective leads. After a brief
stop to drain water from our boots, a carbide change and the usual
caver bantering, I began to set my standard for the day with not one,
but two mistaken connections. Both times announcing that I was sure
this was it when in fact I had found well…. nothing. This is new
passage to Peg and me, of the new length of 8.57 miles of passage we’ve
seen about 2100 ft of it!
We reached a breakdown pile blocking our obvious direction of travel.
We all had no idea what the sump looked like, so we arbitrarily decided
this was it. Gary dove into an opening in the breakdown while I
clambered up a small, slanted climb on the left side of the passage.
(Editor’s note: Remember you also found the bottom of the big dome-pit!
That was before you went up the little climb to the breakdown chamber.
And don’t forget my pesky barkabarkabarking that threatened to bring
the ceiling down in an avalanche upon you. (SORRY!)) Peg contented
herself by throwing rocks and mud clods into a pool! Narrated by the
sploosh of Peg’s entertainment I squeezed through a narrow crack and
found myself staring at a familiar unstable ceiling. At the same time
Gary and I tried to keep a conversation going about the NSS numbers
he’d found smoked onto a rock in the breakdown pile, punctuated by the
occasional sploosh. Then sometimes Peg would be the relay-person since
Gary and I couldn’t hear each other! I continued into the breakdown
chamber, moving as rapidly as I could out from under the deck of cards
ceiling. I had the foresight not to announce what I’d found until
confirmed it by finding our last survey station. Contented I tried to
convince everyone to come up the climb so I could show off our find to
Gary. Gary didn’t bite, but I smoked an X at the top of the climb to
mark the connection. And we headed out, goals met, competitors bested,
and a slew of other
Big Lebowski quotes later, up the rope we went out
to a freezing cold winter day and two running trucks warming up!
Dunbar Cave State Natural Area
One and a half miles northeast of downtown Clarksville TN
(BGG & KEEP
Dunbar Cave got ‘demoted’ from State Park to Natural
Area status a few years ago, but it is alive and kicking. My son Oliver
Renwick and I visited Dunbar recently, as sister/daughter Peggy Renwick
is an interpretive tours staff member there this summer.
Peggy and husband Ben Currens have been regaling readers of The
Kentucky Caver with their adventures in exploration and mapping of new
parts of Dunbar, and she showed us that entrance – a locked concrete
box in long grass at the bottom of a shallow sinkhole on the edge of a
housing subdivision. Then we got back in the truck and drove around to
the front ‘historic’ entrance, where a small visitors center provides
shade and bathrooms and natural history displays while people wait for
their tour to begin. Takes about an hour, costs $4.00 a person, and
people must bring their own flashlights, as the electric lights have