On hands and knees, with only a headlamp illuminating the path in front of you, you slowly creep through a narrow passage of damp rocks and continue to fight as the passage narrows to the point where you crawl. The only sounds are the tiny drops of moisture dripping from the ceiling, gently bumping into the stones that surround you, the muffled shuffling sounds of your hands and feet along the passage, and your shallow breathing. For some, that sounds like a claustrophobic nightmare. For others, it's an adrenaline rush unlike anything else. Welcome to the world of caving.
Ken Moore, an electrician at Johnson State College, has over 27 years of caving experience. He has toppled all over New England, as well as other parts of the United States, including as far west as Texas. During the Spring Breaks this semester, from April 7 to April 1
Caving, sometimes known as caving, is the exploration of natural cave systems. "Most speleologists like to push the limits, learn how far the cave goes, where it leads," said Moore. "You're pushing your own personal boundaries, and there's definitely a personality type."
Moore has been an adviser to the Faculty of the JSC Club for 13 years. He has undertaken a variety of speleology trips during his years as a club adviser, including tours to caves in Albany, New York, and weekend camping trips to the Adirondacks, where participants had to walk to caves.
"It gave me a place to give young people a chance to experience nature," Moore said.
Planning for this trip began in October 2017. Moore oversaw the planning of the logistics of the trip, while Kendra McGuire, the president of the JSC club, oversees and organizes student attendees. Moore was also responsible for choosing the location and securing the accommodation during the trip, and he will provide transportation. There will be 15 participants – 13 students, Moore and Professor of Biology Robert Genter as a second employee.
Moore describes the location in Lewisberg as a "cave Mecca" because of the size and size of the caves. One of the caves the group will explore has over 15 miles of passages somewhere from 10 feet high and 20 feet wide to 80 feet high and 100 feet wide. Everywhere in the cave, there are more difficult areas where cavers must crawl through passages and cracks that are only 50 cm wide.
"I want to tell people that half of the caving is mental, if you're physically fit, you can do it, but it's your brain that says you can not do it," Moore said. "Claustrophobia, it's a survival instinct, so falling into a small town can make you a bit shaky."
The caves offer a unique ecological environment with a wealth of natural mosses, microorganisms, and small mammals and amphibians. The caves have a temperature of 34 to 45 degrees and an average humidity of 95 percent regardless of the season. The most commonly found in caves are bats, salamanders, cave crickets, blind cave fish and small crayfish.
Moore is the current president of the Vermont Caver's Association, a "grotto" or chapter of the National Speleological Society. Speleology is the scientific exploration of caves and their surroundings and includes a variety of other disciplines such as geology, hydrology and biology. The VCA is an organization made up of spelunkers and non-speleologists who want to protect, locate, map, explore, and explore caves throughout Vermont.
"There are people I've known and collapsed with for 25 years, I see them maybe two or three times a year, but when we get together, we'll continue right where we left off," he said Moore. "Social barriers are leaving. I have been researching with NASA scientists, extremely wealthy people, carpenters, cooks – the whole spectrum of our society. When you are in a cave, these barriers have disappeared. It's a unique community like this. "
The exit association is hosted by an organization called the West Virginia Association of Cave Studies (WVACS), which is heavily involved in the Caving Project in West Virginia, where they map cave routes, and the cave that the organization is currently mapping has nearly 20 Miles of passages already charted WVACS recently purchased a lot in Lewisberg and built a few buildings on it, which have a fully equipped kitchen, bunk houses and showers Accomodation for travelers Speleologist is only $ 7 a night.
Moore said that many The caves in the Adirondacks and across the Northeast are some of the most difficult for caving.While the caves in Lewisberg are generally easy and involve many underground walks, the caves in the northeast are usually smaller and narrower and require much crawling on hands and feet Knees and stomach crawls.
"I'm also a bit of adrenalin junky, So it's a good hurry, "said Moore. "In addition to the physical training, which can be fantastic, there is also a spiritual experience, you crawl into Mother Earth, you can not get much closer to nature, it is a very calming place to go to."
Moore has also clearly stated that caving is obviously a dangerous sport and carries a variety of immediate dangers. These may include hypothermia, falling or loose rock injuries, falling into open pits and pinching, or injury in tight spots. Because of these dangers, a common rule for caving is to go in groups of three. Moore said that an incredible amount of links between speleologists takes place during cave experiences.
"We always respect each other and we always encourage each other," said Moore. "So if a person has problems in a tight place, I'll say," Alright, Bob, slow, breathe. "Tell them a stupid, dirty joke or something to make them giggle and laugh, something, You get a very close, personal bond with them. "
Despite these dangers and the usual fear of claustrophobia, Moore encourages everyone to leave their comfort zone and try speleologists. He believes that you are not only aware of your fears, but also the new power to accept other challenges in your life.
"I want people to understand reality, I never gloss over it, I tell people it's dangerous," Moore said. "A person who is willing to take on the mental and emotional challenge, voluntarily and enthusiastically, can do so." Everyone can learn to do it. "
Moore said that every single cave excursion is unique, with each one new and different experienced speleologists react differently. In all the years he has undertaken and guided cave excursions, he has noticed that caving often provides a way to change people and their view of nature.
"This is my favorite part about taking students in. You see it right away," Moore said. "It extends people's opinions about themselves and the world around them, it's a unique experience."