Exploring unknown, remote places has an incredible thrill. I mean, imagine exploring a place on this earth that is still very much undiscovered! Of the many places that have not been explored even in the modern word, caves rank at the top. There’s always something new, something great to explore in a cave. The sport of caving is growing in popularity and has a unique appeal that resonates with the most basic of out instincts…exploring.
Caving has that element of discovery to it. Although some cavers care more about the experience of utter solitude in a very different world than their own, others are attracted to the collaboration in such a physically draining challenge.
Caves can reveal fascinating information that’s scientifically very crucial in understanding the very evolution of life. Natural caves are studied by many professional cavers to gain knowledge in many scientific fields such as ecology, cartography, history, mineralogy, geology and many more. But it’s not just scientists and researchers you’ll find down there today.
Apart from those who enter caves for scientific or discovery reasons, there are many interested in these natural caves as tourists and visitors. This has led to the development of a very unique avenue of ‘cave tourism’. There are many companies that have started to offer tours and explorative activities in wild caves to the general public. These tours have given the average Joe, a chance to experience the vast and very different world of the caves. You’re no longer limited by a lack of experience or equipment or expertise.
Caving opportunities here in the US
With the popularity of caving, there are many opportunities open for a casual caver all around the world. If you’re a caving enthusiast or simply like the idea of exploring caves, there are plenty of opportunities for you right here in the US.
One of the most popular destination to explore natural caves in the States is Virginia. The Roanoke Parks and Recreation department in VA has developed a program that is great for absolutely anyone to discover and explore caves. But if you are those daring types who want more thrill, there are many other opportunities all across the word, from glaciers to lava caves. Iceland and UK are one of the best places to visit if you are seeking some immersive caving experience.
If you’re interested in caving, the most important thing to consider is safety. There are many caving clubs that offer special training and other resources for a successful and more enjoyable experience. Caving is a sport that’s best enjoyed in a group. Caving alone is extremely dangerous, even for the most experienced cavers.
Some basic things to be kept in mind while caving
There are some important things that every caver has to understand. These are important in ensuring your and the whole group’s safety, as well as preserving the cave so others can experience it too. Some of these things are:
- Always follow the established routes; don’t wander around
- Make sure that you’re not disturbing the caves in any way; your job is to explore, not leave your own mark on the place
- The ecosystem of the caves is very delicate; try not to disturb the flora or fauna of the caves
- Avoid touching any cave formations
- A good caver should never take anything from the caves or leave anything behind that wasn’t there before. All you should carry away from there are pictures, and lots of them!
A physical therapist from Canadian Back Institute, Beth Klinck, says that caving is like yoga with a traction. According to her, any form of exercise involving stretching, movement and strength will greatly benefit your muscles as well as your joints. And according to her, caving is a great all-round exercise for a healthy body.