All About Caving
What is caving?
Caving is the adventure of navigating or exploring a wild cave environment safely. It is only the first part of many other companions to the sport, which include photography, surveying (mapping), speleology (scientific study), and conservation. Spelunking is a term commonly used in the caving community to describe amateurs who explore caves without the proper gear or knowledge to do it safely. Hence the adage, “cavers rescue spelunkers.”
What is the appeal? Why do we explore caves?
Short answer is because they are really awesome and they are right in our backyard. Caves are a hidden world of underground passages that include beautiful canyons, streams, waterfalls, pits, and formations. There are features hidden underneath of a boring cow pasture that would warrant their own national monument dedication if exposed to the surface. Caves are also the last frontier on earth. The human desire to explore new places just seems to be natural for some people and modern explorers are making new discoveries underground all the time. If you are interested in exploring caves, the Louisville Grotto can help you learn what it takes. If you were interested in finding out why those crazy cavers want access to your cave, I hope that answers your question.
The initial wonder is what usually draws people in, but the preservation of these places is what directs some cavers to ongoing conservation efforts. Other cavers move on to scientific efforts in the field of Speleology.
Why are caves important?
They are fragile and irreplaceable. They hide an important water source that can be polluted out of sight. The ecosystem harbors many types of animals such as bats and troglobites that are sensitive and important to the environment. It is important for people to understand about the hidden world under their feet so that we can protect it from harm. More information about the importance of caves can be found here.
The caver community is very active. There are many organizations and groups for cavers to get involved with that achieve an array of goals. Cavers also hold gatherings and events all over the country, which allow for opportunities to meet people, learn, and explore caves almost
anywhere. The Louisville Grotto holds a regional event called Speleofest at the Lone Star Preserve. More events can be found here.