The Longest Cave- loved it!

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The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby JR-Orion » Oct 27, 2009 2:36 pm

By Roger Brucker and Richard Waston. This was one of the first caving books I read, and it was a great read. I felt like I was there. The library had an old hardcover that I went through a few times over a couple of weeks, but I will be buying this one.

The Longest Cave tells the story of many years worth of exploration as cavers tried to connect the Flint Ridge and Mammoth Cave systems.

The parts where they are out beyond the Candlelight River just felt so remote. Same where they were trying to knock rocks out of a breakdown pile at station Q87. It was hours and hours of travelling to even get there, then the work started. Then you had to get back out!

Another thing that I found interesting, as a new caver in 2009, was the gear they used back then. We have fancy lights and helmets, protective suits, special packs, GPS above ground, com systems below ground, and so on. The carbide lamps and overalls don't sound quite as nice as the gear we have today.

The moment where they made the big breakthrough / connection was really well written. I felt like I could understand the odd psychological "flip" and mental disorientation that would come from knowing that its over 12 hours to get back out the way you came, to all of the sudden seeing a tourist rail in front of you.

Must have been a very exciting time to be a caver.

:grin:
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby wyandottecaver » Oct 27, 2009 4:41 pm

LOL I remember my first impression of the book was respect for the determination of the established cavers and disgust for how they treated newbies...."hey wanna go caving?" 14-24 hrs later the poor sucker stumbles to the surface never to cave again.... and they apparently did this over and over and over.....
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby Wm Shrewsbury » Oct 27, 2009 4:47 pm

Hi Jasen,

I, too, found it to be an incredible book and enjoyed it immensely! As I read through it I would always remember Q87. It took me 15 years of caving before I got to that spot and can't begin to tell you how historical it felt. I almost looked around for the tour guide, it was like I had been there before! In a way, I guess I had because the author described the system better than a paper map. I returned my copy to the library late, then went and bought two copies - one for the Grotto library and one for myself.

BTW - The NSS Bookstore sells it in softcover: http://nssbookstore.org/index.php?mode= ... er=01-0104

Glad to see someone else read this magnificent book and get all fired up about caving!

Wm Shrewsbury
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Cave Softly and Carry a Long Rope - TAG!

Wm Shrewsbury
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby wyandottecaver » Oct 27, 2009 5:11 pm

JR read under plowmans floor by red watson....you wont be dissapointed.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby rebelfirefighter » Oct 27, 2009 7:58 pm

Several years ago I saw a special on tv that was about making the flint ridge mammoth connection. I would love to see it again. Does anyone know what it was called or where I could find it again.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby JR-Orion » Oct 28, 2009 3:06 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:LOL I remember my first impression of the book was respect for the determination of the established cavers and disgust for how they treated newbies...."hey wanna go caving?" 14-24 hrs later the poor sucker stumbles to the surface never to cave again.... and they apparently did this over and over and over.....


Yeah, that would have been overwhelming. Many times through the book they'd say something like, "and that was his first and last trip into the system." Ouch.

And feel free to thow out more book recommendations. At the moment the caving section of my bookshelf is bare, but that's going to change in the near future. :)
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby JR-Orion » Oct 28, 2009 3:11 pm

rebelfirefighter wrote:Several years ago I saw a special on tv that was about making the flint ridge mammoth connection. I would love to see it again. Does anyone know what it was called or where I could find it again.


Maybe National Geographic's Mysteries Underground?

Also, I did a google search for flint ridge mammoth cave TV special, and this thread came up as the 8th result from the top.
We're famous. :big grin:
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby rebelfirefighter » Oct 28, 2009 7:18 pm

JR-Orion wrote:
rebelfirefighter wrote:Several years ago I saw a special on tv that was about making the flint ridge mammoth connection. I would love to see it again. Does anyone know what it was called or where I could find it again.


Maybe National Geographic's Mysteries Underground?

Also, I did a google search for flint ridge mammoth cave TV special, and this thread came up as the 8th result from the top.
We're famous. :big grin:




Thanks, thats it. Found it on amazon.

"Closet spelunkers, don your helmet flashlights and rejoice! Mysteries Underground from National Geographic is your personal tour guide of the vast worlds that exist right under your feet. Venture across both time and space, from the failed 1925 attempt to rescue caving legend Floyd Collins from Kentucky's Sand Cave to a claustrophobic retelling of 1972's pioneering Flint Ridge-Mammoth Cave connection to the 1986 discovery of New Mexico's 60-mile-long, 1600-feet-deep Lechuguilla. Plummet far into the inky blackness that is the world of caving, where explorer's footprints endure as if they were made on the moon, and where the surroundings seem just as alien. Witness the treacherous beauty of underground ice formations. Learn about the intricate cave food chain based on nitrogen-rich bat guano. Spy ancient cave paintings, eyeless fish, and albino salamanders. It's a thrilling hour you won't forget. It's also bound to make wherever you live seem a lot larger and brighter than you previously thought. --Bob Michaels "

:cavingrocks:
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby JR-Orion » Nov 6, 2009 10:15 am

Wm Shrewsbury wrote:Hi Jasen,

I, too, found it to be an incredible book and enjoyed it immensely! As I read through it I would always remember Q87. It took me 15 years of caving before I got to that spot and can't begin to tell you how historical it felt. I almost looked around for the tour guide, it was like I had been there before! In a way, I guess I had because the author described the system better than a paper map. I returned my copy to the library late, then went and bought two copies - one for the Grotto library and one for myself.

BTW - The NSS Bookstore sells it in softcover: http://nssbookstore.org/index.php?mode= ... er=01-0104

Glad to see someone else read this magnificent book and get all fired up about caving!

Wm Shrewsbury
NSS-OVP
NSS 22677, RL, FE


So how does a person get to Q87? I know Mammoth offers wild cave tours, but if you want something that wild, do you have to get with a local grotto and put a group together?

Also, did anyone ever break through Q87, or find out what was on the other side?

I feel really lucky that I'm only an 8 hour drive away from Mammoth. Can't wait to get there, maybe this spring or summer.
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby Squirrel Girl » Nov 6, 2009 10:32 am

JR-Orion wrote:So how does a person get to Q87? I know Mammoth offers wild cave tours, but if you want something that wild, do you have to get with a local grotto and put a group together?

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Why limit yourself to something you read in a book? There's a gajillion caves out there, and a few that have not yet every been explored. Open your horizons and go for it!
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby Komebeaux » Nov 9, 2009 8:48 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
JR-Orion wrote:So how does a person get to Q87? I know Mammoth offers wild cave tours, but if you want something that wild, do you have to get with a local grotto and put a group together?

Cave Research Foundation

Why limit yourself to something you read in a book? There's a gajillion caves out there, and a few that have not yet every been explored. Open your horizons and go for it!



I first read that book when I was 12 and for 20 years now I have had a dream of visiting some of the parts of the Flint/Mammoth system that Brucker (and Borden) have written about. I have been fortunate enough to visit several caves that are considered 'closed' and limited access by way of being in the right place at the right time or simply knowing the right people. I have explored virgin passages in others and dug open new ones. However, a trip into Floyd Collins Crystal Cave would trump those or anything else I could ever achieve as a caver. I can see where he is coming from.

JR, The Mammoth wild tour I have heard is just a passage that follows closely along one of the tourist trails. I think places like Q87 only really have been visited by CRF members and they control access to all or most of the Flint/Mammoth System entrances. I don't know how freely CRF accepts new members, but I imagine they have their pick of the litter.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby Komebeaux » Nov 9, 2009 8:49 pm

Oh, and JR, I suggest you read Beyond Mammoth Cave also. It picks up a few years after the 1972 connection with the further expansion of the Mammoth Cave system.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Nov 10, 2009 10:43 am

One of the best ways to see places in the book is to take one of the Western Kentucky University courses held each summer. Specifically "Exploration of Mammoth Cave" by Stan Sides, and "Speleology" by Roger Brucker will take you to miles of cave. In Roger's class, I did not make it to Q-87, but did get to see Turner Avenue, Argo Junction, Brucker Breakdown, and the connections between Colossal-Salts, and Salts-Unknown. Highly recommend these courses.

Of course, in the very limited surveying I have done at Mammoth I got to see Left of the Trap and Floyd's Lost Passage. Work continues all over the cave, and you can still survey with CRF just like in the book. I love seeing those places come alive after reading about them for so many years.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby Komebeaux » Nov 12, 2009 8:45 am

That sounds great. Too bad I am not in good proximity to that area to take the classes, nor a CRF member.
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Re: The Longest Cave- loved it!

Postby JR-Orion » Nov 16, 2009 3:29 pm

OK, just ordered my own copy of The Longest Cave, along with Beyond Mammoth Cave, and Fifty Years Under the Sinkhole Plain.

I forgot about Under Plowmans Floor... will have to grab that on my next shopping trip.

Should be some good reading.

:big grin:
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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