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Monday, May 23, 2016

Into the depth's of the earth

Sue and I about to enter the depth's of the earth
I have never gone spelunking.  Although frankly the idea of caving has always appealed to me.  The idea of seeing something unique, or something that very few others have seen fascinates me.  However I learned long ago, when I explored an underground pipe system with some friends as a young man; is that I hate being wet, cold and in the dark.

So given the chance to take a rare free weekend and go caving in Florida's only open air cave, I would jump at the chance.  Sue and I drove about five and a half hours north into the panhandle of Florida.  Some 40 million years ago Florida was covered by a shallow sea, and this resulted in limestone being deposited.  The limestone is raised up and then water seeps into the limestone, slowly dissolving the limestone and creating a cave.  This is known as a Karst formation.   

These caves can take million of years to form and each one is unique in it's own way.  They grow and change, admittedly very very slowly, over time.  Each one can, and often does, support a fragile ecosystem.  As such very little of the cave was open to the public, and my few attempts of photographing it, do not do it justice.  You can see the full album of the caves on my Facebook page  (please note there are two different albums).  

nom nom
We also decided to explore the nearby town of Marianne, Florida a bit as well.    The panhandle of the state was the first part of the state that was "truly developed" as plantation owners in Georgia and Alabama expanded southward into what was then Spanish territory in the early 1800's.  

As such the town had a variety of historical buildings and styles throughout it.   From the Spanish influenced post office building to the antebellum southern style of the early to mid 1800's.  The rest of the state would be developed after the Civil War when the railroads started to push south along the coasts. 

Sadly we went exploring on a Sunday morning/early afternoon and the city was pretty much empty and shut down.  Still though we managed to find a few things of interest and plan on making another trip somewhere different soon.  

It feels good to be getting back to exploring my adopted state and all it has to offer.  

"straws" and an example of "cave bacon" in the upper right corner
a pool filled with water, so still it appears as glass would

Example of the Spanish style I love so much

Not technically Antebellum but lovely still


Canajun said...

I've been in caves, tunnels, and mine shafts and must admit I'm never really comfortable underground, but some caves - like this one - are worth the discomfort to see. Thanks for sharing.

Deb said...

Interesting and I never knew Florida had caves. "Open air" sounds good too as I am very claustrophobic. You might enjoy this "cave adventure" novel: "Blind Descent" by Nevada Barr. You'll feel like you're right there in the dark of a deep, dangerous cave exploration.

Shane said...

Looks like a great trip, thanks for the share!

Trobairitz said...

Fun!! We have caves here in Oregon, in a place called Cave Junction no less. We still haven't explored them but maybe this will encourage us.

Conchscooter said...

On my list now. I too was unaware Florida had caves.
PS I think you need to be nominated for the Bush challenge on FB. Seven days of two wheelers in nature. Get ready.

Octoberstudios said...

I have to admit, they thought of extreme spelunking terrifies me. One of my phobias is falling into a hole head first and having my arms pined to my side with no way of getting out. Seriously, it scare me to no end.

However, an open air cave sounds like fun. Where my wife is from in NE Pennsylvania there are numerous coal mines under the town where she grew up, as well as the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton. I’ve been to neither, but would love to go one day.

Thanks for sharing the pics!