Lost Creek Cave Overnight Trip Information

Hi, I’m Jimmy.

What to expect on the Lost Creek Cave Overnight Trip, April 18:

Lost Creek Cave is a novice wild cave.  That means no electricity, no restrooms, no McDonalds nearby.  Not even much of a road leading to it.  Dad says leave the Lexus at home, bring the Explorer, but regular cars can make the trip.  Our van has been there several times.

Like most Tennessee caves the temps will be about 56 degrees.  It could be colder, maybe down to 48 degrees like last time we camped in there.  It is damp.  Some places are muddy.  There is a shallow creek inside parts of the cave.  There is a waterfall outside the cave and another couple inside the cave.  This cave doesn’t have a lot of formations except some flowstone.  We usually see some bats scattered throughout the back of the cave.  We shouldn’t touch the bats but they are neat to look at, and they scare the girls.  Don’t expect to see much other wildlife in this cave.

The cave has a big mouth and big passageways mostly.  No need to crawl.  We will backpack into the cave.  After we shed our packs and setup camp, most of us will want to check out some tighter passageways that do require crawling, maybe even slithering on our bellies like snakes, lots of fun.  If you don’t want to crawl, you don’t have to go to those optional areas, but I bet you will want to check them out with me.

OK, you might guess that the cave is rocky, don’t expect a smooth level path.  At times we will be stepping from rock to rock (rock hopping), and making our way over and around larger boulders.  Not much climbing required, never any ropes required, but there are times we will all be helping our Buddies.  Dad says if you can climb stairs while wearing a backpack, you can explore this cave and we are never in a hurry.  Much of this cave looks like a dry creek bed with lots of scattered rocks, but it is a live cave.  That means you can hear water, dripping some places, flowing other places, noisy at times.

This is a multi-level cave so I guess you could get lost for a little while if you really wanted to, but you would have to work at it.  All caves can be dangerous.  There are times when you really have to watch your step.  Use common sense and pay attention.  We will guide you.  If the leaders say “Stay to the left thru this part”, stay to the left.  Simple.  Dad calls that discipline.  Dad says that the two most important things for high adventures like this are having Qualified Supervision and Discipline.

Angelo is a Tennessee State Park Ranger and is joining us to lead this adventure.  He does this kind of stuff all the time and he is used to leading groups on cave tours, hikes, backpacks, canoe floats, kayaks, climbing and rappelling.  He has Tennessee State Park training for these kinds of activities plus he has BSA Climbing/Rappelling Training.  Angelo has emergency medical training and is very experienced at all the activities we have planned.  Mr. Charles K. and my Dad also have BSA Climbing/Rappelling Training and they hope to learn more from Angelo.  BTW, Don and Daniel M. are coming with us and they are probably our most experienced cavers.  Bet they can teach us all some neat stuff.

Ropes are not required to explore anywhere we are going, but we still want to offer some instruction about Climbing and Rappelling for our Climbing Merit Badge.  We will inspect ropes and harnesses, learn a knot or 2, discuss safety and offer, as an option, a beginner 40′ rappel that looks way more difficult and scary than it really is.  It has a easy cliff to back off and a level landing zone.  No one has to try the rappel unless they want to, but it is a great opportunity.  Once we leave the cave some might want to head home.  Try to leave your schedule open so if it is pretty weather we can do some other stuff.  We may setup some rope exercises outside the cave when our tour is done.  I hope we do some Tree Climbing which is different and a lot more fun than you might think.

We will always stick together as a group unless a part of the group breaks off to skip crawling or rappelling, etc.  If we break into 2 groups, we will assign leaders for each group.  Within those groups we will all select Buddies to stick close to.

The camping area is not so rocky, fairly level.  We will not use tents.

We plan two hot meals for the group.  We will carry a couple of small stoves to heat simple meals for supper and breakfast.  I’m in charge of the meals so don’t expect a lot.  We plan beef stew for supper, instant oatmeal or grits for breakfast.  We can also heat your water for hot chocolate.

Dad adds: “Leave No Trace”, we will carry out all our trash.  We won’t be the first group to pee in a cave.  However, I suggest that you bring toilet paper and a plastic bag as an emergency portable pottie kinda thingie for any solid waste you might generate, and pack it out.  Yuck.  Or we could do the latex glove, pick up after yourself, place into plastic baggie thingie.  Double yuck.  Or as a wise 2nd Class Scout recently told me, “I eat a lot of cheese on a campout so I don’t have to go til I get home”.  Just one night and we won’t be that far from the cave entrance that small supervised group expeditions to the outside world could be permissible for pottie breaks if needed.  That still means finding a place in the woods.

If you haven’t paid your $15, please bring it to the next Troop meeting.

A Backpacker’s challenge is to bring everything he needs without overpacking.  Try to arrange your stuff so that your hands are free while backpacking and exploring.  Make sure you can climb stairs with the load you pack.

You will need:

  • at least 2 reliable light sources to carry at all times, a LED headlamp is great.  Minimag lights are too fragile, they burn out bulbs when bumped, LED flashlights are preferred, fresh batteries
  • water or sports drink, about 2 liters
  • bed roll or sleeping bag, hopefully not one that is the size and weight of a propane tank.  Now might be a good time to get that small, light, expensive sleeping bag you have always wanted.  We will be doing more backpacking.
  • water proof ground cover, poly sheet or tarp, these might be shared so that not everyone needs to carry one.  Please prearrange.
  • sleeping pad, for warmth and comfort
  • backpack or similar to carry everything to camping area, can be rented @ REI
  • spoon and cup, messkit if you prefer
  • paper towels to “wash” your dishes
  • a small pack to carry your essentials while exploring
  • energy snacks
  • toiletries
  • plastic bags, various sizes, ziplocks, etc, to separate clean from dirty, wet from dry, edible from unmentionable, carry out trash

Clothing:

Exploring a cave can be hard work, it is best not to be overdressed while active.  Expect your clothes to get dirty but remain serviceable.  Cotton is seldom the best fabric when active, but long jeans and a long sleeve T shirt or sweat shirt may be all you need while exploring.  But when inactive you will need to layer up for warmth.  Ideally you would wear undergarments that wick away perspiration keeping you warm, dry and comfy.  Any good hiking clothing will do great.  Waterproof hiking boots with non slip soles are ideal.  You can probably do OK with sneakers if you are really careful and not get them wet.  Extra socks.  Gloves, knee pads, helmets, etc are optional but not generally needed.  A change of clothes can be left at the vehicle to wear on the way home.

Optional stuff to consider:

  • first aid kit
  • extra batteries
  • hiking stick
  • hat
  • stove & pot
  • extra food, something to share
  • camera
  • gourmet chocolate to share with your favorite leader ….   I meant me.
  • glow stick
  • candle
  • stool
  • sunglasses    …..   just checking to see if you are paying attention, but actually could be nice to have when we reemerge squinting.
  • rope or cord
  • thermometer

Get your questions answered before we head to the cave.  Let me know if I left out anything important.

Thanks,

Mike & Jimmy

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