Monday, September 11, 2006

Blue Springs

This past Saturday was the August grotto trip to Blue Springs. After a 2 and a half hour drive to Tennessee, Tommy, Michelle, Mark, Ohad, Andrew, Jack, Ethan and I met Kelly (our brave Dogwood City tour guide). Blue Springs is the longest cave in Tennessee at a whopping 32+ miles - and held the largest, fantastically pristine formations that I've seen to date. After poking around in the main trunk for a bit we back tracked and explored the "New Formation Area," and I think the Cathedral Room. We didn't even make a dent in the 32 miles! But what a great trip - can't wait to go back there again one day.

I played around a lot with hand stitching photos - I found that I'd taken quite a few brackets without even knowing it. The more I stitched the more I found that I could stitch and give the viewer a better sense of scale. Don't forget to double click on the photo if you want to bring up a larger version.

Here's everyone at the register on the way in (left to right): Ohad, Kelly, Ethan, Michelle, Mark, Tommy, Andrew and Jack - who seems to be hiding.

Here's Jack on the bridge. Did I mention that this cave comes equipped with its own suspension bridge? How cool is that? We got to meet one of the guys that designed/installed this bridge when we were about to leave - and I was able to ask him what the mesh material used for the floor of the bridge. My best guess was some sort of conveyor belt, but apparently its somehow used in fertilizer spreading.

Here's a little gypsum flower that I discovered while we took a break for lunch.

After climbing a mountain of flowstone and squeezing up through a little hole between flowstone and rock we arrived at the most fantastic pond. The ceiling and walls dripped with formations, the still water mirroring calm but for the sporadic drops falling from the 'tites. (Kelly told me it was called a "reflection" but I much prefer "exact duplicate.")

But we had to break the calm to continue. Mark, Michelle, Ohad, Ethan and Kelly are carefully making their way around the edge of the pool.

Here are the rimstone pools that looked like stair steps from across the way.

Here's a bit that was in the next room. (Tommy would want me to tell you that this portion of the program is brought to you by Kripsy Kreme.) This is a combo of two photos.

Here's Ohad next to another section of Krispy Kreme formations. This one is another double photo. I had one picture of Ohad in focus - but not the formation and then vice-versa, so I combined them.

Here's a wall covered in formations. And a good photo for a sense of scale - this is a combo of two vertical photos - and with my tiny little flash too they were kind of crappy - but it does give you an idea of how many pretties there were.

From my perspective, this formation was just to the right of the previous photo. I was able to combine two photos yet again. I'm so fascinated by the drapery in the back - that never had a ceiling or wall to drape from.

Here's a tall combo - this was one of the formations against the wall. Take a close look at the draperies at the very top - they corkscrew twice before they drop down at that gravity-defying angle to feed the column.

Here's some more pretties. These were way up past Mark on the large combo photo off to the left hand side. Fantastic bacon on the left hand side.

Here's my last panorama of the trip. I lagged walking back to the cars because I was taking pictures of the cave door and was greeted by this view as I stepped out of the woods. It had just rained and the mist was rising off the pasture. If you look closely you can just see three cavers past the tree on the right, walking around the corner almost out of sight.



At 9:54 PM, Blogger xwoz said...

Some of the very best caving photos you've shared with us - and _you_ took them. Thanks so much for sharing


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