Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Moaning Caverns

Finally got the pictures to make this post.

On the Saturday of Halloween weekend, I went with a couple of friends to take the “Adventure Tour” of Moaning Caverns . This cavern is one of many natural caverns in the northern part of California that are privately owned. The main advantage of private caves is that they are easy to find, and you they provide guides so you can explore with out worry of getting lost. The big disadvantage of course, is the price they charge. Many owners also make the claim that private caves are preserved better than ones on open federal land, a claim that in all honesty might be true. (In general, I find the libertarian idea that privately held land is a more efficient way of environmental protection as complete BS.)

Before going in, and sitting around at the bottom

Moaning Cavern is quite the spectacle. Instead of being a normal limestone cave formed from carbonic acid seeping down a crack in the bedrock and slowly eroding a passageway, this was instead formed by a geyser of water shooting up through the rock. The result is a vertical cave, with an enormous cathedral like chamber with a ceiling towering 150ft above the floor. This allowed just as large rock formations to develop untouched from the ceiling, some of which are the largest in the world. From the base floor, the cave creeps and spirals down into more fun crawl spaces.

Carina, Steve, me

Rock formations and the bottom of the cavern. You can see the old sprial staircase put in place put in place many years ago, and still used for the walking tours

Tour choices consist of :
$15 walk down the 150 spiral staircase, and see the caver, walk back up.
$50 rappel down into the cavern to look at it, walk back up the stairs
$50 walk down the stairs and get a cool spelunking trip into the bellows of the cavern
$100 Adventure Tour, rappel down, take the spelunking tour, and then walk back up.

We took the pricey Adventure tour. They use high friction setups to dumb down the rappel; causing you to spend the entire time tending to the belay and getting stuck in spots. The spelunking tour was really fun, and our guide actually spent a couple extra hours with us, possibly to make up for the two hour delay we had. Overall, I’d recommend it if you’ve never done anything like it before. Its worth doing the walking tour, and if you like spelunking do that also. Only do the rappel if you’ve never done anything like it before.

Dinner at Firewood, a great restaurant in Murphy that our guide recommended. It has authentic Mexican and good American food, all cooked over wood.


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9:40 AM  

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