The Seeker in MA caver joins CaveChat!

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The Seeker in MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby The Seeker » Jul 29, 2013 7:08 am

:cavingrocks:

Greetings caving forum community of the interwebs! I joined this forum as I'm doing my best to return to the underworld of caves after a 2-year hiatus. Not that I ever stopped enjoying it but for many reasons (time, transportation, time, money, time...) I was simply unable to continue caving when I got to MA. I was introduced to caving in Kentucky where a pal of mine took me to Carter Caves on a weekend in mid-fall. No gear -just a set of old clothes, a headlamp, my hiking boots and optimism. I had such a blast that day and was so fascinated by the wonders underground that we continued making the trip to Carter Caves every other weekend straight into winter.

I finally may have an opportunity to return to the caves. I definitely wanted to this summer and I only have 4 weeks before the next college semester so here I am... :cavechat:. After talking with some coworkers where I'm interning who are into rock-climbing and the great outdoors in general, I want to give them a grand intro-to-caving experience. We talked about it last week and I've been trying to find spots here in Mass. I was recommended Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA and made the trip up there on my own to explore the lay of the land cause what I don't want to happen is get ready, have these guys get all geared up and then drive 2 hours somewhere only to be let down and it turn out to be a negative experience. If any fellow MA-NH-CT area forum members have recommendations I'd be super amped - this weekend's 0% chance of precipitation has me optimistic.

If I don't get any recommendations here I guess I'll head up to Purgatory Chasm again. I only found one cave close to the Lovers Leap rock wall. Any fellow cavers know about the caves there? I want to check out joining a grotto here but money and time are super tight especially as I need to find either another job or internship within a month as my current internship and only source of income ends soon.

Looking forward to discussing our shared interest for caving and if any of you MA area cavers would be interested in a trip together this weekend let me know!
Last edited by The Seeker on Jul 30, 2013 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby The Seeker » Jul 29, 2013 12:32 pm

Quick update on 'joining local grotto obstacles'... Just saw how much the yearly membership fee is and was pleasantly shocked - extremely reasonable!! Price is certainly no hang-up. Just need to make time for the next meeting although unfortunately it won't be before this weekend. I will keep seeking..
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Re: MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jul 29, 2013 5:45 pm

Howdy,

I think I have a book on caves in one of those northeast states that may interest you, Vermont maybe...nope it's New Jersey, nevermind.

Which of the Carters did you get to see? I've done quite a bit of caving in Horn Hollow in the past and made one unauthorized, after-hours trip through Cascade via the "back door" :shhh: Some of my very first vertical caves were the pits in Horn Hollow and along Tygarts.
I haven't done much down there in a long time, since all of the caves are now closed and I've partly grown out of my sneaky ways. Carter County is a nice place, I think, to be introduced to caving. Not so miserable that you hate it, and not so grand that it spoils "minor" caving in other areas.
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Re: MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby ctcavr » Jul 29, 2013 5:58 pm

Hello Seeker:

Which end of the lovely Bay State are you residing in? If you're in the eastern half, you should hook up with the Boston Grotto folks. If you are out west, you may want to consider tagging along with the Central Connecticut Grotto on some of our trips. For some readily accessible caving in New York, not too far off of I-90 (Mass Pike become New York Thruway) check out the resources of our regional caving land trust the Northeastern Cave Conservancy www.necaveconservancy.org.

I'm the in the Northwest Corner of CT and get out on occasion myself.
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Re: MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby The Seeker » Jul 30, 2013 1:59 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:Howdy,

I think I have a book on caves in one of those northeast states that may interest you, Vermont maybe...nope it's New Jersey, nevermind.

Which of the Carters did you get to see? I've done quite a bit of caving in Horn Hollow in the past and made one unauthorized, after-hours trip through Cascade via the "back door" :shhh: Some of my very first vertical caves were the pits in Horn Hollow and along Tygarts.
I haven't done much down there in a long time, since all of the caves are now closed and I've partly grown out of my sneaky ways. Carter County is a nice place, I think, to be introduced to caving. Not so miserable that you hate it, and not so grand that it spoils "minor" caving in other areas.



I have heard good things about the caves in Vermont and definitely hope to make some trips there - perhaps sooner than I thought. I spoke to one of the guys I plan to bring along for his first caving adventure and when I mentioned caving in VT he said he'd definitely be up for it as he makes the drive there almost every week as his girlfriend goes to college there.

To be honest I really didn't know the names of most of the caves I explored. The guy who I went with knew the place extremely well and we would go from cave to cave without having to spend much time seeking them out. The names I remember are Laurel, Saltspeter, Horn Hollow for sure, and H2O. Where you ever able to go down Boundary Cave? (I believe that was the name), it was at the bottom of the valley, there was a pool of water right around and in front of the entrance that was chest-deep (and very cold that day in the fall) when I attempted about 3 years ago. I tried making my way into it but it was just too clogged up with tree branches and other organic debris that I gave up after starting to wonder if this was even a cave. I later learned the details of a tragic event where a 22 yr old guy lost his life in Boundary Cave.

One of my favorite caving experiences was at a cave whose name I never found out and I don't believe my experienced partner knew the name either (I don't believe he had ever been in it). We decided to "cave hunt" and just try find something new and I suggested exploring some of the land to the right of the road that leads up to the park before one reaches the Welcome Center. It wasn't very far from the road and was very easy to find again once we found it the first time. Whatever quick description I could attempt come up with would certainly not do it justice. It involved a fairly wide (about 5 feet I'd say) keyhole shaped passage with a stream of water running through the bottom. At first you could travel along above the water by clambering above the water extending your arms and legs along the sides "crab style" (could add pics later). The further you got eventually you would have to begin trudging and later crawling on your knees through the water which reached waist depth (I got stuck the first time in this cave when I came upon a passageway that branched off to the right above the water line that did not have water running through it [that day anyways] but was much much narrower, [may post about that experience in a future thread]). What blew me away was that this watery passage opened up to a large-ish (my opinion about "large" caverns is probably still quite limited) that contained a beautiful 2-tier waterfall that one had to climb up in order to continue one's journey up out of the cave that led out to a large opening higher up on the hillside. We did this one on a cold winter day so after emerging we walked down the hill around to where we had entered the cave which was a surprisingly short walk and removed our frigid, soaked clothes "Bear Grylls style" and made a small fire to regain sensation in our fingers and toes.

I agree Carter Caves is certainly a great place to be introduced to caving -- seems to have a little bit of everything.
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Re: MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby The Seeker » Jul 30, 2013 2:15 pm

ctcavr wrote:Hello Seeker:

Which end of the lovely Bay State are you residing in? If you're in the eastern half, you should hook up with the Boston Grotto folks. If you are out west, you may want to consider tagging along with the Central Connecticut Grotto on some of our trips. For some readily accessible caving in New York, not too far off of I-90 (Mass Pike become New York Thruway) check out the resources of our regional caving land trust the Northeastern Cave Conservancy http://www.necaveconservancy.org.

I'm the in the Northwest Corner of CT and get out on occasion myself.


I am definitely planning to join the Boston grotto that meets at the MIT campus. Hope to attend their meeting next Wednesday. Anything I should know/bring ahead of time? What is the structure of a typical grotto meeting?

This is off-topic but I'm a little curious as to how many posts it takes before a member's posts don't have to "reviewed" before showing up on the forum. Which I think is certainly a great protocol imo after having seen rarely-moderated forums suffering from spam-attacks and the like.
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Re: The Seeker in MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jul 31, 2013 9:45 pm

The Seeker wrote:Where you ever able to go down Boundary Cave? (I believe that was the name), it was at the bottom of the valley, there was a pool of water right around and in front of the entrance that was chest-deep (and very cold that day in the fall) when I attempted about 3 years ago. I tried making my way into it but it was just too clogged up with tree branches and other organic debris that I gave up after starting to wonder if this was even a cave. I later learned the details of a tragic event where a 22 yr old guy lost his life in Boundary Cave.


I've visited Boundary Cave a couple of times, but never very extensively. Wittenburg University Speleological Society has been working on the survey of Boundary for several years now. I believe that it's turned out to be quite long.
I spent two weeks in a class with one of the two young men who were with the victim who died in the cave. I believe that it was the first wild cave ever for the two survivors...a truly heartbreaking story.

The other cave you mention is probably Skylight Cave, though there are others nearby that could fit the description. Skylight was my first real solo cave. As is evidently common in the lonely quiet, I heard a lot of voices in that stream.

Have fun!
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Re: The Seeker in MA caver joins CaveChat!

Postby The Seeker » Aug 9, 2013 11:03 am

As a quick update on Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA:

The trip actually ended up being a pleasant surprise. I found what I would call 2 decent small caves for beginners. Both of the guys I brought along had a great time and expressed interest in exploring more challenging caves. There were a lot of small holes in the chasm where, upon descending down into, one would find themselves in a small chamber under a lot of rock. Although big enough to accommodate the three of us most of them didn't go much farther and one would exit from where they entered.

Aside from exploring the holes in the Earth like the crazy people we cavers are (several people stopped to ask us what the pads were for), we also did some hiking along the trails which led to a beautiful small waterfall. When we were first approaching it there was a hollowed-out concave dome of rock that we initially thought looked like a big water-cave entrance from a distance (and were consequently becoming incredibly excited about)! Wasn't a cave...haha. The concave curve of the rock and darker color due to being wet had created the illusion we had been giddy about before getting closer.

Although these were certainly not anything close to extreme or extensive caves it was nonetheless a great time, and the stop at Red Robin afterwards for one of their delicious burgers (a medium-cooked Berseker burger for me) that come with their bottomless fries deal and a creamy Blue Moon/Cointreau shake made for a fantastic finish. :grin:
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