Category | Trips

Twin Rivers – Caving Before The Storm

Posted on 03 September 2004 by admin

By Donna Richards

With Francis about to hit, Simon and I knew there was only a remote chance to do any local caving in the near future. But there was one possibility: “Muddy Hole” in Twin Rivers State Forest.

We spent time this summer doing a fair amount of driving and looking for sinks and springs. One afternoon we hit a dirt road and followed an overgrown path to the Suwannee River. With the rain, the river’s flow was strong and in spite of (or as a result of) this, we saw some interesting spots. That evening, we concluded we were at the edge of Twin Rivers State Forest (We had suspected such, but this particular area wasn’t marked.), so hiking was on the agenda for the following day.

There were so many tiny holes (unfortunately, most only suitable for Caver Barbie) and depressions in line toward the river, that we stopped GPSing them. We also learned a valuable lesson: Don’t wiggle sticks into crawl spaces, unless you are prepared for what might come out (in this case it was a nest of unhappy yellow jackets). The walk yielded a small, water-filled cavern. The water was clear and a catfish along with some tantalizing potential leads could be seen; probably nothing, but definitely worth a dive. It was filed away for another day–I was still puffed from the stings, and we didn’t have our dive gear. But the cave was the perfect place to explore before the storm.

Friday we dragged a couple 40s and the rest of our gear to the site. The cave entrance is approximately 15 feet wide, but a large boulder has fallen into the center, restricting entry. Either side is a short (five feet) drop into the water, but the left-hand side has the easier access. Muddy runoff was evident in the water, so a quick check was made first with mask and no tanks. Visibility was pretty much shot, but we were there with the gear, so we might as well take a look anyway…

Visibility improved after dropping five or six feet. The most enticing lead dead-ended immediately; close to it there was a much-too-small-to-enter hole in a breakdown pile. The eastern direction was probed, but with the visibility so poor it was hard to find any good tie offs and the risk of a line trap was too high. It is very unlikely there is a navigable eastern route, but maybe it’s worth another short dive when out in the area to confirm. Once again our dreams of dropping through a small opening into a classic Florida power-cave have receded. However we did see a very interesting sinkhole on the way home…