'Cave softly' and carry appreciation for nature's work
UPTON, Ky. -- When our caving guide turned out to be a garrulous guy whose operating handle was cavedog69, it seemed pretty safe to assume we were about to spend some time underground.
And so it went with Garry Coomer, public-relations officer for the Louisville Grotto, the local caving chapter of the National Speleological Society.
Chapter motto: "Cave Softly."
Ahead of us, just down a grassy slope near where a spring-fed stream splashed across rock loomed the entrance to the grotto-owned Lone Star Saltpeter Cave.
The Louisville Grotto is one of about 10 Kentucky and Indiana caving chapters in the national organization that are filled with men, women and children who enjoy, preserve and protect the quiet wonders beneath our feet. Check www.caves.org for Louisville Grotto meeting times.
Seeking a permanent home, the chapter in 1998 bought 67 acres of cave-burrowed land about 60 miles south of Louisville. That included the Lone Star Saltpeter Cave -- into which grotto members regularly invite individuals, youth groups, adult groups, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, etc., on guided tours only.
It's about to hold the 36th annual Kentucky Spelofest on Memorial Day weekend. Hundreds of cavers from around the country will squeeze into Upton to climb, scramble, rappel, dive and paddle into the area's many water-carved holes, passages and labyrinths.