Great Spelunking

Great Spelunking

Get Inside A Mountain

If it's raining outside and your outdoor adventure plans seem all washed out, don't despair. Underneath the mountains, weather is always the same.

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Of all the outdoor adventures available in the North Carolina mountains, the least known is the subtle sport of spelunking - better known as caving.

The Southeast is full of caves, mostly on the western side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The granite that makes up the bedrock of western North Carolina is too hard for nature to make an abundance of caves but Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia are full of locales where water has eroded the soft limestone in between granite shelves to make underground labyrinths. In fact, the area where these three states meet is so rich in caves that it is referred to as the "TAG" area by journeymen spelunkers. And Huntsville, in northern Alabama, is the home of the National Speleological Society.

In the High Country most spelunkers travel to Tennessee for their adventures. Tennessee is home to such famous caving sites as England Cove Cave, Bee Rock, Xanadu, Robinsons and Lookout Mountain. Appalachian Challenge Guide Service of Banner Elk actually got its start in the guide business in the field of cave expeditions. They continue to take both novice and experienced spelunkers to caves all over the Southeast.

Experienced cavers tend to be environmental zealots, and with good reason. Many of the most beautiful caves in the country have been vandalized-mostly through unnecessary graffiti and the pilfering of stalactites, stalagmites and other natural formations. These natural formations are the result of minerals in the water and grow at a rate of less than an inch every thousand years. So follow the caver's motto: Leave Nothing But Footprints, Take Nothing But Pictures, Kill Nothing But Time!

So get out, get dirty, and get underneath a mountain.

High Mountain Expeditions:Great Spelunking
3149 Tynecastle Hwy
Banner Elk, NC 28604
Phone:1-800-262-9036, 1-828-264-7368
Fax: 1-828-262-0572
Email: i...@raftingnc.com
Web: http://www.highmountainexpeditions.com

The National Speleological Society:
2813 Cave Avenue
Huntsville, AL 35810-4431 USA
Phone: (256) 852-1300
Email: n...@caves.org
Web: http://www.caves.org/

Wahoo's Adventures:
PO Box 3094, Boone NC 28607
Phone: 828-262-5774
Toll-Free: 1-800-444-RAFT
Web: http://www.wahoosadventures.com/wa/

Edge of the World Outfitters:
Phone: 828-898-9550
Web: http://www.edgeoworld.com

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