The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kayaks and Caves

All aboard !
 While it seems everyone I know is chomping at the bit for winter to get here, I'm still holding on to fall, and some warm weather activities. Although I could go kayaking in the early winter and caving is definitely a good activity to do in the colder months, there is nothing like a cool, sunny, insect-free, fall day.
This sand bar out in the middle of the lake would be a good spot for some fat-biking

This spot, where Steve is sanding in the middle of the lake, would be good for fat-biking in the summer.
 Steve and I got together on Saturday for a half-day kayak trip with a short exploration of several caves. The weather was crisp when we put-in, and the parking lot full of duck hunter's trucks and trailers. I wasn't too concerned about the hunters,since we were just starting out as most of them are finishing up and heading in for the day. Our planned trip was to check out a large widening of the Mississippi River, and the multitude of small islands that we would like to camp on in the future, or ride out to, with the fat-bikes this winter.
Lunch spot, sand, sand, sand 

This guy outweighed us by a million tons so we moved out of the way
 On the map the surface area doesn't look as big as it is to paddle, consequently we were not able to get in all the exploring I was hoping for. Lucky for us, that just means we have to come back. On a fat-bike it looks to be quite doable if the water body is well frozen and we avoid any deep, flowing channels or springs. Thus lies the problem, where are the deep channels and springs ? I guess we'll have to be careful!
There was very little wake from such a large mass moving through the water

 After about four hours in the boats, minus the 30 minute lunch break, complete with hot chocolate, I wanted to show Steve "the caves". A short drive in the cars and were ready with headlamps. No, I didn't wear a helmet, but I did bring it,  the caves are so short and we weren't there to spend any amount of time in them. I took my young lads there last week and had a good time, I also wanted to look for one other cave I missed out on. First, we went to the one that I had been to the previous week and then moved on to locate the other. On the way we found another cave with a small crawling passage. I willingly crawled in to to see if it went anywhere, it terminated about 30 feet in, with a space only large enough for a raccoon to continue forward. I backed out and a few minutes later we were in the mouth of the third cave. 

 We had fun rooting around and exploring the vast 70-100 feet of combined chamber between three separate caves. I've always been fascinated by caves, and even though these are short, I still think they are cool. I won't speak on it much, but the last cave has historical significance,  it appears many people have been there recently and left trash behind, and I don't want to add to it's demise, but it was really neat being there sort of like this.
Steve found this un-burned torch, made from a log and leaves and sticks held together with a sock, most likely left by native inhabitants hundreds of years ago.

The floor of the cave had lots of bones.
Surprise it's me !
I had a great day exploring, but what I also get out of trips to unfamiliar places are ideas. Ideas for bigger, longer, stranger trips, as well as the desire to bring others back with me to check it out for themselves and have some fun. There are so many different ways to explore an area with all types of gear. Right now Steve and I have several different trips we would like to do in the area. Next time, are YOU coming with ?

The only thing missing in this pic, is a fire at the mouth of the cave, and a UFO whizzing by

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