|29 OCTOBER 2003
by JOEL JACOBS
On the last Wednesday of October '03 Harry Sowers, Alan Horn, Ted Nichols and Joel Jacobs drove south in two vehicles to the panhandle of West Virginia to visit Whiting's Neck and Indian River Caves.
We donned our caving outfits in the rain and hiked up the trail to the first entrance to Whiting's Neck. Alan took a GPS reading before we entered. We worked our way down to a wooden ladder at the bottom of a 20' pit and back up another ladder on the other side where we entered the main passage.
This cave shows the wear of being known for a long time but there are still some huge flowstone formations and columns and some little pretties that are there for those willing to look into all the little holes and crevasses. We nosed around until we came to a huge slope which Alan scaled by going up a fissure passage. Then he made it easy for the others by tying off Harry's 30' cable ladder for an easy walk up the slippery stone cascade.
We looked around and found the second entrance in a sinkhole by the path. While Harry and Ted photographed and recoiled the ladder, Alan and I moved some rocks in an attempt to open up more passage but there were just too many to do any good. We did find a rather interesting little den with some very nice white formations.
After exiting the pit into the sunlight, we followed the path past a house and a kennel with A grand Pyrenees, to which Alan introduced himself. We scurried around the cliff next to the Potomac River until we located the entrances to (Indian) River Cave. There is a little one over a large one. We all went in different directions in this small, but interesting warren.
There is one spot that could be treacherous where an open passage on top ends in a 12' drop. I traveled down from the top to the bottom through a window to the left. There were cave cricketes and even frogs at the end of the passage at the lower level. This bottom entrance gives a classic view of the Potomac which, after the rains was running muddy. The banks were multi-colored with fall foliage. One could imagine river pirates, Indian families, even prehistoric hunter/gatherers sitting here with the same, unchanging autumn view.
We got back to the cars and changed into our street duds in the warm sun. Alan & Ted headed out to get something to eat and possibly do more caving, and Harry & I drove north to pick up my daughter Cassie and call it a day.
The next meeting of the WEDCLUB is on November 19th, destination to be decided. Suggestions are welcome. Harry is working on getting access to Baker Caverns for winter or spring.