What is Wild Caving Tour?
Wild caving tour is a guided tour on rough underground passages, which had been explored and mapped by cave surveyor. During the tour, you’ll be on your hands and knees, crawling and squeezing into tight spaces in various awkward positions to facilitate your movements. You’ll also be climbing up and down over the pits, walls and rocks.
How do you know if Wild Caving Tour is for you?
Wild caving tour is not for everyone, even if the person is enthusiastic about it.
A big frame person like my husband is not a good candidate to fit into tight spots inside the cave. He has a thick chest and wide shoulder, which is good for bodybuilding, but not for caving.
Small body frame person like me and majority of my friends are good candidates for wild caving tour. Nevertheless, in my opinion, tall and slim body frame is the PERFECT fit for it since they are tall enough to reach out further when tackling rock climbing obstacles and yet, slim enough to fit through tiny little holes and cracks.
Call the park office to figure out what the body frame requirement is prior to your visit.
What do you need to prepare?
The park usually provides basic equipments such as headlamps, helmet, elbow/knee pads, fanny pack to carry food/drink and an extra pack of battery. You are responsible for preparing gloves, boots, long sleeve shirt and pants. However, due to the White Nose Syndrome disease, some parks will provide caving suit; in that case, long sleeve shirts and pants are not required.
Other than protecting our hands from sharp surfaces/objects, gravels, mud and scratches, the main purpose of wearing gloves is to conserve and preserve the cave natural habitat. There are millions of microorganism living inside the cave; we’re required to cover up our skin to minimum exposure so we do not leave the dead skins behind as a foreign food source for the living microorganism. Moreover, the accumulation of body oil will contaminate the cave in the long run.
Note: ¹Some parks, such as Mystery cave, are more strict about it; others like Mammoth cave are more lenient. ²Gardening glove is good enough for caving.
Wearing boots can prevent ankle injuries. During wild caving, often time you’ll climb and hike on various type of terrains inside the cave. There’re uneven rocks, gravels, hills, cracks, holes, even mud inside the cave; therefore, there are high possibilities you might twist and sprain your ankle during the activity. In addition, the cave will not be 100% lit; hence, wearing boots is necessary for your own safety and protection.
Long sleeve shirt and pants
The temperature inside the cave remains around 50+F. Minimizing our skin exposure to the cool temperature is required to prevent chances of getting hypothermia, especially if you have to stay inactive inside the cave for a long duration. A good example is you were lost, stuck or injured inside the cave, waiting for help to come. It takes hours for the medical help to come in and brings you out of the cave.
A full coverage outfit will also prevent direct skin contact to the cave surface, in other words, it helps to conserve the cave.
Click here to read Part 2: Wild Caving Tour – What to Expect?