SERA: The Trip Brian Freyling Didn’t Attend

Friday, June 10th:

Just past the eastern time zone my cousin Doug Lake and I arrived to the campsite in Sewanee, TN at 10am central time.  The weather was fantastic!  Once registered, we began inquiring for cave information.  We quickly were welcomed with southern hospitality and provided an ad hoc hand drawn map to a location of 4 caves.  We rounded up a former VAR caving partner from North Carolina and one of his fellow grotto members from South Carolina and headed out to Big Mouth Cave.  Attendees included Doug Lake, Nick Frantz (North Carolina), Mike *Pulling a Brian Freyling here* (South Carolina) and Adam Lake.  We explored Big Mouth Cave which lived up to its name:

This cave was mainly stream passage.  The coolest attraction was the fish and cave shrimp, very cool!  I also found a neat, tight, sewer passage that snaked down under the main passage.  As Nick and I made our way through the tight crawl, to include a little pulling from myself to get Nick's slightly stockier body through a few areas, there was a little voice in my head the entire time.  It was the voice of Ms. Keely Owens saying "All I ever hear about the TAG is how incredibly clean and pristine it is, it's just straight clean caving!”  Hmmmmmm:

The next cave (Big Room Cave) to include the same attendees was across the street.  At one time this cave was part of Big Mouth Cave’s system, but it’s since been divided due to breakdown.  This was another cave which lived up to its name.  No pictures were captured, nor could they have truly comprehended the size of the room (80 feet by 900 feet). 

Friday night SERA included open mike night, a keg of Shiner Bock, a tiki bar, and a nude hot tub.  Further details shall remain undisclosed.

Saturday, June 11th:

Doug and I ventured off to visit a
highly recommended cave called Gourdneck.  We first found a cave nearby while looking for Gourdneck.  We explored it only short enough to figure out it wasn't Gourdneck, but long enough to find a beautiful 60 foot waterfall.  We then left in search of the true Gourdneck cave.  Once discovered, we entered into this highly sought after cave and suddenly that little voice in my head is speaking again, "All i ever hear about the TAG is how incredibly clean and pristine it is, it's just straight clean caving!"  AH! This is what Keely was talking about:

Gourdneck was an incredibly beautiful cave, and lived up to every bit of its reputation.  Doug and I could've spent more time in Gourdneck admiring its pristine condition, but we had a date with Nick and Mike to drop 120 feet into Martin Springs High Hole.  So on we went.

Last cave of the day was called Martin Springs High Hole.  It was a 120 foot sink hole to include various negotiations (a re-directing overhang and a re-belay) on the way down.

This cave included a lot of breakdown and a nice stream passage.  The highlight of this cave was the biggest room of the cave, which was filled with huge mud dunes.  The bottom of the dunes had the slipperiest mud I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing, just under the top layer of sediment.  We enjoyed ourselves sliding down the dunes on our feet, butt, and back.

Saturday night SERA included two separate bands, rum infused watermelon, tiki bar, dancing around the campfire, nude hot tub, and of course my introduction of cool whipped flavored vodka to the south!  Further details shall remain undisclosed.

Sunday, June 12th:

Doug, Nick, and I woke up, beat and battered.  Deciding to take it easy, but still wanting to be inside a cave, we headed to Lookout Mountain above Chattanooga, TN to visit Ruby Falls.  Ruby falls is a 145 foot waterfall 1120 below the top surface of the mountain:

                                                             What intrigued us cavers the most is that they still don't know where the water comes from.  Even after various dye tests.

Sunday, June 12 at 3pm eastern time, although hard to accept, it was time to begin the long trip home.  All and all, I had an amazing time and look forward to my next visit.

For more pictures see this link:

-Adam Lake