southport chronic cavers grotto
"What a great weekend! A big thank you to Buddy and Mark, the food, beer, fireworks, and most of all the great gathering of friends." - Carl Bishop, on 'PorterFest 2005

Licks Creek Cave

On April 2, 2005, Carl and Casey Bishop, Buddy Baldwin, Joe Douglas, Robert and Matthew Sewell visited Licks Creek Cave on the Western Highland Rim. The entrance is about 25' to 30' wide and 6' high in the base of the rock cliff of a small hill. A 2 to 3' stream flows out of the cave from a passage on the right, but this passage would require a wet suit, and is not necessry for entering the main part of the cave. To the left of the stream is a low passage about 3' high with about a foot or more of water. We had to duck-walk through this for about 60 feet, then crawl another 30 feet through very slick mud and a few shallow pools before it opened into the main trunk passage.

The rest of the cave is walking passage through the trunk. Its stream meandered throughout the cave, sometimes crossing the trunk, other times going under the walls into new passage for future generations to explore. The only side passages were where the stream flowed, but nothing we could investigate. Unfortunately, the cold, wet entrance wasn't daunting enough to keep out the locals, who left a lot of spray-paint on the walls and some flowstone formations. On the bright side, it obviously wasn't enough to keep out Native American explorers, either. An abundance of cane torch stoke marks and charcoal was found throughout, indicating that they had visited this cave often, or in large numbers. Joe had a great time photographing the stoke marks and collected a few charcoal samples.

Plenty of pips were found hangin about. We didn't count them, but I'd guess we saw 50 to 60 scattered throughout. We thought we saw a gray hanging inside one mini-dome in the ceiling, but it was too far away to be sure. There were plenty of speleothems distributed throughout, mostly regular flowstone, stalagmites and stalagtites, but also including some small stalagmites and lacey rimstone of moon milk.

This was a really fun cave. From there we traveled into the next hollow to check out Jones Cave. It was another stream cave with a low-ceiling for the first 30 feet. Carl and Joe crawled through water up to their chests until it opened up into walking passage. They continued on for 300 feet before turning back. This is one to come back to in drier conditions.

entrance.jpg robert.jpg casey_bishop.jpg matthew.jpg
buddy.jpg carl.jpg joe1.jpg cane_frag.jpg
joe2.jpg stoke1.jpg stoke2.jpg pip.jpg