Yesterday the land lord of our current home base came out to do some maintenance on the house. While he was here, he told us about a cave that was about 3/4 of a mile away if you followed the river bank. I could not hear about a cave like that and not go exploring. It does not have a name, as far as I know. But it is on Green Creek so I call it Green Creek Cave. I know, very original.
Ethan is visiting with friends, so Noah and Trevor geared up and we went exploring (leaving Mama Nomad at home curled up with a book). We traversed down the embankment behind the house to the river and navigated upstream, crossing from time to time. We came across dozens and dozens of trees that were either gnawed through or gnawed around. Only one animal could do that…beavers. We kept our eyes out but never saw one.
We came to a fork in the river. Our land lord did not give us any indication about this or which way to go. So, we relied upon our Nomadic Explorer Intuition and followed the fork that went parallel to the nearest road. Continuing on, we came to another fork. We stuck with the one that had the largest water flow.
Within a few hundred yards from that fork, we noticed a darkening on an embankment. It was about twilight, so we were not sure if that was the cave. We walked towards it and it was just a ledge. However, a few hundred feet to our left we saw the massive opening of a cave. It was at least 60 or 70 feet tall and equally as wide. By this time, it was pitch black with no moon or stars in the sky. We explored what little we could in safety. We could not go far because the river actually came from within the cave.
We decided to pack it in and go back to home base and return with more daylight. We hiked up to the road and Mama Nomad was kind enough to come pick us up. We ate and called it a night.
The next day we had some friends, who live in Nashville, that were coming to visit. Funny enough, when I first met them, they were Nomads of the truest sense. They lived out of their car and traveled across the US. They would camp in farm fields and do odd jobs for money. They are the Tillinghasts and were explorers themselves.
After the Tillinghasts (Adam, Becca and Baby Oliver) arrived and we caught up on what the latest was, I asked Adam if he wanted to go explore a cave. Before I could get the words out of my mouth, he was geared up and ready to go. Well, we had 5 or 6 inches of snow fall since they arrived. So, we decided to drive to a field near the cave and hike down; rather than hike the river bank.
We parked Ebony on the side of the road, near the field and off we went. We hiked down, in a zig zag pattern. We could not see the ground because of the snow. So, we had to traverse carefully. We finally got to the bottom of the hill and came upon the mouth of the cave. This time, it was even more magnificent. There were 4 foot icicles hanging from the edge of the roof of the cave, snow covering all the boulders and ice forming on the boulders reaching upwards. It was truly breathtaking.
We hiked along the river’s edge to get to the mouth of the cave. After hopping over small, shallow streams and climbing over snow dusted boulders, we were in the cave. This thing was big enough to house a small apartment building.
We went as far back as we could on rock ledges and boulders in the water. We wanted to go even further, but we ran out of rock steps and ledges. The water looked to be more than 3 foot deep. And, with the temp outside the cave being in the 20s, we decided not to wade through. From what we could tell, it seemed like the cave went back and into a greater room and bigger opening.
It took every ounce of restraint and good sense to not do something dangerous and continue on. We saw a small belly crawl opening that looked like it may lead to where we wanted to go. However, again, it seemed unsafe to explore. The thought that kept hitting my mind was one of us falling into the water and then trying to hike back to Ebony in 20 degree weather, through tall snow. More rational thinking prevailed and we exited the cave.
As we exited, I noticed another crevice at the mouth, on the other side of the river. So, of course, we had to cross the river and check it out. Since we went in the daytime, I did not bring a flashlight, so it was difficult to see. But, I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. It was fur, on the ledge. I took a picture of it, with the flash, so I could see it better. We identified it as black bear fur and it was near some scat. So, we immediately backed out of there, crossed the river and we decided to head back to Ebony.
Along our journeys, it is always real cool to find gems like this that people drive long distances to see and hike miles and miles to get to. But this one not many people are aware of and it was almost right under our nose.
When Ethan returns, I know we are going to have to go back because he loves caves. What a great day it was and I even got to explore with a former Nomadic Explorer. Thanks for accompanying us Adam. Safe Travels.