Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sinks of Gandy

Ok, so this is more or less the opposite of a highpoint - the Sinks of Gandy is a cave. My friend Micha calls it "lowpointing". I think I might see if I can visit the lowest point in each state once I'm done with the highest.

Anyway, I like caves, and this one was near the Spruce Knob Lake Campground and is relatively straightforward so I thought I would visit it. Basically, the Gandy River got tired of going around a few hills, so the river bored itself a wide tunnel straight through. The cave is about a mile long, and both entrances are privately owned by different people. Technically trespassing to get there, but no one seemed to mind. The cave is surrounded by cow pastures, so if you go just be mindful that you're on private property and don't litter or mess with the animals.

The southern entrance to the Sinks of Gandy.

Just as we were getting to the cave entrance, a cow came out. I guess that makes him a Cave Cow. The cows were everywhere, but they weren't the real danger...

Cave Cow.................................Cave Cow Pies

The cave itself was a nice 50 degreesish, the water was about the same. Cold, but you get used to it quickly once you're waist deep. Most of the time I wasn't any deeper than up to my knees. There were plenty of dry dirt beds and rocks to climb over, making this overall a fun cave. The constant burbling of the water made us think that there were other people in there with us, but we had the place to ourselves.

The cave is also more or less a straight line without many side passages so it's pretty hard to get lost.

If you ever wondered what a cave looks like in the dark, here you go:

One of the best parts of a cave (I think) is finding wildlife inside. We didn't see any bats, but we did find a cave crayfish!

What we didn't find, though, was the north exit of the cave, so we had to backtrack a mile back to the southern entrance. It took us about an hour to get to the end, and about 45 minutes to get back.

We made our way back to the car and changed out of our wet, muddy cave clothes just before another truck pulled up and dropped off three locals who were going through the cave. I told them I couldn't find the exit, and they offered to take us through with them, but we were already changed and decided instead to go overland to the north exit and wait for them there.

The north entrance was also on private land, and we had to hop another fence and cross another pasture.

We ignored these signs.

The path down to the northern entrance. You can see the Gandy River, and the cave itself is behind the trees on the left.

Somewhere in this mess is the northern entrance. $20 if you can find it. Another $20 if you can also find Waldo.

This was as far as I got. Pretty, but not a way in.

Eventually the three locals showed up, exiting from about halfway up the hill from the "dry exit". There is also a "wet exit", but both are hard to find. The locals said this was the first time they'd found the dry exit, and they'd been coming here for years. I guess I don't feel so bad for not finding it. After some talking with them it seems I was only about 20 yards away from the dry exit. On our way out, we accidentally entered a side passage, realized it wasn't familiar and turned back. Had I kept on going, I would have found the northern dry exit. Oh well, next time.

Trail halfway up the hill leading to the north dry exit.

On our hike back to the car we discovered that cows had moved onto the trail. Seeing as how it was their cowpath to begin with, we gave them a wide berth.

Overall, a very wonderful cave and a great time. Next time I'm finding that other exit!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the pics and details about your quest! I'll be watching.