|A nearly empty New Melones Reservoir and the gray marble of the Calaveras Complex.|
|Oak woodland in the vicinity of the caves|
When we have a group of newbies who have not explored wild caves before, we do some training on safety, both for the explorers, and for the caves themselves. We stress the importance of exploring in least intrusive way possible, not touching the rocks, and not disturbing any life if possible. We crawl through a short cave with a few narrow passages in preparation for entering the much larger cave to follow.
You have no doubt noted that I have not provided the names of the caves we explored. If you want to get involved in cave exploration, you should contact your local grotto of the National Speleological Society. They provide instruction and training, as well as chances to clean and rehabilitate caves that have been damaged by vandals and overuse. They are great people. And don't forget, the tourist caves in the Mother Lode are wonderful. They are safe and easy to explore. Check them out!
This post is a highly altered version of a post based on our trip in 2014. If you want to see how badly I plagiarized myself, check out the original post here: http://geotripper.blogspot.com/2014/11/to-explore-wild-cave-underground.html