Photos by Cara Gentry
Report by Kristen Boyesen with
additional notes by Jim Sprague and Cara Gentry
Two days after Christmas FSS members Mike, Kitty, and my daughter, Cara led Jim and me into the magical world underground at Jennings Cave. We were visiting from Cleveland and had this treat as part of our tour of the area. Neither of us had ever been in a cave that did not have a walkway, handrails, and a light show, so it was a totally new experience.
Descending into a pit by knotted rope (with Mike belaying us using safety gear, of course) was an exciting way to start the experience. Kitty descended first, found the lock on the gate had been cut, and removed the broken glass that vandals had left behind. Jim and I found the toeholds and made it down just fine. Cara followed, and last down was Mike.
We explored the many passages, posed for photos under the claw, scooted down the slide, discovered fossils, lamented over the new graffiti and the destroyed scientific equipment installed by USF researchers, looked up to see the portrait of Jennings, saw roots from the surface dangling into space hunting for moisture, and marveled at the nooks and crannies washed out by water over the years. There was no water in the pool, so we did not see the crayfish. Neither Jim nor I care for really tight places, so did not try the wormhole. Jennings is a great cave for newcomers to be introduced to caving.
It was lots of fun, and thanks to Kitty, Mike and Cara for the opportunity!
- Mike prepares to enter Jennings Cave
- Kitty prepares to enter Jennings Cave
- Kristen descends by knotted rope
- Jim follows
- Into the hole
- Checking out fossils
- Watch out! Jim, Kristen, Cara
- Kristen climbs out
- Jim climbs