By Bill Walker
On 3-10-06, Adam Scherer and I drove up to TAG for a long weekend of caving. The most interesting aspect of the trip is that we had no plan for the trip. We didn’t know which caves we were going to do. We didn’t know where we were going to stay. We didn’t even know what state we were going to.
We just started driving north.
For some people, this deliberate lack of planning would cause massive amounts of anxiety. Those people are called planners. Adam and I are not planners. Sometimes people can plan all of the fun out of an adventure. There is a certain joy and freedom in not being restrained by a plan or even a set notion of what you’re going to do. Flying by the seat of your pants and making decisions as they come is the ultimate in freedom.
When we got into middle Georgia, we had at least decided where we were going to stay – the valley at Moses Tomb in Alabama. When we got there, we set up camp and headed up the mountain to bounce 235′ deep Moses Tomb. Later that evening we drove over to nearby Talley Cave. Talley cave is an interesting cave with a culvert entrance. We spent a couple of hours poking around in here. This was our Alabama cave.
The next morning we woke up and the owner/discoverer/caver of Moses Tomb was on the property with a small group of cavers, including Mudpuppy – who we had never met before. They were going to Byers Cave, so we tagged along. Byers is a TAG classic and it’s been called a “cavers cave.” It has a little bit of everything – big booming horizontal, vertical, formations, waterfalls, streams, and very tricky and dangerous climbs. This was our Georgia cave.
After the trip we still didn’t know where we would go for the rest of our weekend, so Mudpuppy invited us to stay at his house over in Tennessee that night. The next morning – still not having any idea what we would do, we just happened to hook up with some other cavers that lived on top of the mountain – Anne Grindle and Monty Keel. We traveled with them to Crownover Saltpeter Cave in Tennessee. This of course would be our Tennessee cave to complete the trifecta for a proper TAG caving trip. Crownover is a large, dry cave with some interesting side passages. After Crownover we hit Sherwood Mountain Pot which is located on the side of the road. This is about a 90′ pit and Adam and I dropped it several times, trying to climb as fast as we could. Using my new Petzl Pantin, I frogged out in just under a minute.
The next day we got up and decided to drop Cagle’s Chasm before the drive home. Cagle’s is a massive 190′ deep open air pit near South Pittsburgh, Tennessee.
The best part of the trip was that everything just seemed to work out – without any planning at all. We did six caves, found a place to sleep each night, and met a bunch of new lifetime friends.
- Adam Scherer in the culvert entrance to Talley Cave
- Adam Scherer at the bottom of the culvert in Talley Cave
- The walk up and over Fox Mountain to Byers Cave
- Bill Walker rappels in the 80′ pit in Byers
- Mary Hibblebottom gets off rope at the top of the 80′ pit in Byers
- Bill Walker and Adam Scherer at the entrance to Crownover Saltpeter Cave
- Bill and Anne Grindle in Crownover
- Adam and Anne cross the street to find Sherwood Mountain Pot
- Adam Scherer drops Sherwood Mountain Pot
- Adam Scherer at the lip of Cagles Chasm (note the awesome placement of rope pads!)