Wot Dabney goes West
The first thing I did when I arrived in the colonies was to visit my love sick friend Francesca (a Brooklyyn babe) in one of the high skyscrapers on 3rd
After giving her and her friend a Cadbury’s Flake each(?) I
extended my flight departure from 3 to 5 weeks. Unfortunately, Francesca than informed me that she had changed her mind about
driving down to
A trip to
It was in
The second cave we did not complete, mainly because my caving partner pissed me off big-time and I threw a wobbler for several very good reasons. The next night I dossed down at a luxury hotel free of charge called the Knoxville Mission Rescue for Alcoholics and Drug Addicts, not by choice I might add as it was RAF. I met some interesting people here whom I had to shower with and no prizes for guessing who dropped his soap and left it there!
Having survived the previous night without sleep or food I
decided to hitch to the
Hitching back to
“Cheers mate!, I replied, (as anything was better than the Mission Rescue).
This man with the facial hair was Bernie from
Hamilton County Cave Rescue, a
real SWAT style team. Meeting Bernie was when my holiday really
took off and we had many a good laugh, trips to the Cactus Moon Bar and
met some great girls. Through
Bernie I met Dr Dan Twilly, a top caver with plenty of bad habits. Needless to say we got on
like wet carbide on fire. Dan
and Bernie decided to throw me
in at the deep end and do
Next was Moses Tomb, a 220ft entrance shaft which seemed to feel much deeper. It seemed to go down and down until it eventually reached the sandy floor. Virtually all the walls in the shaft were completely covered in calcite curtains and flowstone. A photographers dream in real hillbilly country. A few days later Bernie, Dan and myself did numerous open shafts, the most spectacular one being Valhalla, an open pot twice the size of Alum Pot. It’s big even by American standards and I hope to go back and photograph it this Christmas.
Eagles Cavern was another good pot, a bit like Notts Pot (from what I’ve seen of it, (Two-ropes-short-of-a-tackle-bag Chaz). Great classic pots with adjacent shafts underground. At one point we had to swing into a passage about 1OOft from the floor. It was proving a little tricky and I eventually resorted to prussiking up to a narrower section and then abbing down swinging like Tarzan. It was well worth the effort as the passage led to a big chamber with magnificent rimstone pools, I couldn’t venture any further however as they were very fragile.
Well those are the highlights of my trip to the States and I would like to thank Bernie and his family for putting up with me and to Dan Twilly for some excellent trips above and below ground (and for sharing his bad habits with me!).
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