Huntsville, AL area question

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Huntsville, AL area question

Postby sjm4268 » Mar 29, 2016 9:30 pm

I live in Morgan County, AL and have access to some of my father's land. A fellow named Van Swearingen used to explore/cave this property. Over the years I have been in the four cave entrances that I am aware of. One was actually mapped back in 1972 by members of a Decatur Grotto which apparently no longer exists. I can't find the info online, but the printout I have says Thomson Cave ALI427. I have entered this cave with my son and my son's friend several times, but we can't descend the pit (apparently there are two pits, but I can only make out one) being amateurs, not to mention a non-ideal group of just 3. Two of the entrances are no doubt connected, a large sinkhole with a waterfall that I'm sure is the source of the water coming out an entrance right at the mountain base directly beneath. Thomson Cave was the 3rd cave I discovered as I got older. However my question is a 4th cave near this Thomson Cave. I never really went back in it because I was always alone and there was a log lodged in the passage. Well, a few weeks back I took my son and his friend in there with the intent to find out more. Well, the log has disappeared. Upon going a little further my son stopped and said there was a pit (the passage has running water). I came up to look and, sure enough, the water flows eerily over a ledge. We were kind of apprehensive about getting up there. I don't know if the pit is 5 feet deep or 50 feet or 500 feet. We also have discovered a pit/hole on the side of the mountain nearby that we really can't see into. It takes a while for a rock to get to the bottom though, and we hear a big splash of water. Someone, perhaps Van Swearingen because I was told he claimed their were 2 deep pits just sitting up on the "west side," had tied pink ribbons around this pit/hole to mark/warn of its presence. Anyway, I, my son, and my son's friend...we are curious about all this, but we are outright amateurs without training. Are there any folks who are professionals in the Huntsville area that might be interested in checking these pits out?
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Huntsville, AL area question

Postby Ernie Coffman » Mar 30, 2016 10:38 am

There are a lot of cavers in the Huntsville area and I highly recommend that you contact them. Go to the NSS webpage and find an address or email contact and introduce yourself. If you are close to the NSS Office, go there and get info on the next meeting and meet some of the cavers there. As for Van Swearingen, unfortunately he passed away at too young of an age a few years ago. You did the right thing in stopping and not going farther into your cave; and, you didn't say how old your children were, so...definitely wise to make a contact here. Try this email addy: jimcnees@knology.net and that will put you in contact with Jenny McNees. Her phone number is 256.658.3584. If Jenny isn't around, give Michelle Vaughn a message at ladycaver55064@gmail.com , for she can introduce you to folks at the NSS property/office, etc.

Welcome to CaveChat and maybe we'll hear more about your caves.
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Re: Huntsville, AL area question

Postby CaverScott » Mar 30, 2016 12:14 pm

I used to cave with VanSwearigen. He was a good friend who passed to early in life.
The Huntsville grotto is a good group of folks. They have numerous qualified folks would would love to check out your area.
I could suggest some locals who belong to the grotto or drive up myself since I am often in the Huntsville/Madison area on the weekends.

Please free free to email me scottfee AT bellsouth DOT net.
www.caverscott.com
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Huntsville, AL area question

Postby Ernie Coffman » Mar 30, 2016 1:08 pm

A lot of good folks in the Birmingham Grotto, along with Scott, also. I would have recommended that grotto, but sjm4268 is closer to Huntsville, but...get involved!
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Re: Huntsville, AL area question

Postby sjm4268 » Mar 30, 2016 10:24 pm

I found out a little more about these caves on my dad's land. My dad has a thank-you-letter and some photos from Van Swearingen. The photos name one cave as Jordan Cave and I found a map of it in an online PDF of a book about caves in Morgan County. Jordan Cave (No. 193) and it was mapped by a J. Tench from the Huntsville Grotto all the way back in 1966, about the time my dad bought the land. One is Thomson Cave AL 1427, mapped by a Philip Malone, Larry Bumpus, and Glenn Watts in 1972. As for the mystery cave, I actually think I have a name/map for it from the book as well. One of the appendixes grouped the caves by location info. So, I found the two I was certain of, and noticed that there was also a "Horn Coral Cave" (No. 1355). I think it is the cave in question. My son thinks it is another cave. However, I don't see how I could have missed another cave in 30+ years of walking that cove. I think the drawing is just a little bit off is all. Anyway, I don't know all these symbols, they vary just a bit, but I think the mystery pit might be 18 ft. if I read the map correctly (and if it is the map of this cave). If it is 18ft., then according to the map another 70 ft. from that bottom leads to a 33ft. pit. Anyway, thanks for the responses and I just might be making some of those contacts.
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Re: Huntsville, AL area question

Postby GroundquestMSA » Apr 2, 2016 11:02 am

Here's a topic wherein you can find examples of the most commonly used cave map symbols. Pits are usually shown by a line with hashes, and the depth is usually listed within a square.

http://www.forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1968
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