The Catalyst Cave
When I was in college, I toured my first wild cave as part of a geology field trip. It was part of a larger excursion to look at rocks and when we stopped at Strangford Cave in Western Pennsylvania, I had no real expectations even though I’d been in a ‘tourist cave’ on occasion. But something took a hold of me when I entered it and like an overexcited golden retriever chasing a ball, I sprinted to the back of the cave, to the front of the cave again and to the back before a single classmate made it to the back even once. It was cave lust.
That trip led me to get heavily involved with the local caving club – the Loyalhanna Grotto, which in turn led to rappelling, rock climbing and a numerous other adventure sports. So, that simple cave trip was a watershed experience for me, and to the degree that I’ve involved others in adventure sports, that day rippled out like water from a pebble in a pond.
Photos in the Not So Dark
Wild caves are my preference, but I love all caves – even lighted tourist caves. And so it was that this last weekend, a group of friends and I were on a camping and climbing trip in Seneca Rocks West Virginia when we found ourselves rained out on Sunday. We took the opportunity to visit Seneca Caverns. As I’ve said, lighted tourist caves are fun but I greatly prefer wild caves but a tourist cave does have the benefit of being well lit. So it was that I was able to shoot photos without a tripod or complex lighting setup. I was on the timetable of the tour group (and almost always found myself at the end of the line – squeezing off just a couple more shots) and so I was forced to shoot on the fly.- Hold your breath, brace the camera and shoot.
Without further ado, I present one of my shots from the tour.
The mystery is what prompted men to leave caves, to come out of the womb of nature.
– Stephen Gardiner