CacheCrazy.Com: Ohio Caverns Take 2

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ohio Caverns Take 2

By Big AL

I'm continuing the Ohio Caverns story from last week. Things got cut a little short, so here it is.

We left off last week visiting the Fresh Water Farms of Urbana, Ohio. We had gone outside to see some of the tanks of fish they had there. I've never seen so many trout in my life in one place. These fish were a really nice size and I wouldn't have minded catching a few of them.

                                      Outdoor Ponds

                                       Trout Pond

                                     Koi Pond

                                     Albino Catfish

                                     Snapping Turtles

                                    Water Lilly

We really enjoyed seeing all of these fish. This family supplies fish to a lot of restaurants all over the place. If you visit there and want to pay for a guided tour they will also treat you to some fresh smoked fish. We opted for the free tour. When we were done here we headed for the Caverns.

We drove over to the caverns and after paying we were told we would have about a 20 minute wait for the tour to begin. This made sure we had plenty of time for shopping.

 This Geode is on a base that is about 3or 4 inches tall. Notice my son is not standing up all of the way.

           We couldn't quite scrape up enough change to buy it so we just took pictures of it.

They finally called our group number and after a few rules we began our descent into the ground.

Here is a little history on the Ohio Caverns: The tunnel system known today as the Ohio Caverns was discovered August 17, 1897 by Robert Noffsinger, a seventeen-year-old farmhand who worked on the land. After a heavy rain, Noffsinger found a sinkhole in the woods and, curious, decided to investigate. Noffsinger dug a few feet of soil until he hit the top of the ground’s limestone layer. After finding a crack in the limestone, Noffsinger broke through this rock as well. Immediately feeling the caverns’ fifty-four-degree air, Noffsinger was even more curious. He returned later with an oil lantern and a rope and lowered himself into the ground, making him the first human in the Ohio Caverns.

Noffsinger informed the landowner, a farmer named William Reams, of his discovery. Reams himself explored the cave and then decided to open the cave to the public. Advertised under the name Mt. Tabor Cave Tours, the business brought in hundreds of Ohioans during its twenty-five-year run. These early tourists explored just over a quarter-mile of the system but virtually destroyed it by removing crystal formations in that area and writing their names on the walls and ceilings.

Reams sold the land in 1922 to two brothers, Allen and Ira Smith, who hired an unknown number of workers to help them excavate the rest of the caverns. The team spent three years digging with an array of spades and shovels to remove mud left in the tunnels by the underground river that eroded these tunnels. As they went, the Smith team strung 60-watt light bulbsfrom the walls and ceilings to help them see. These lights were powered by a Fordson tractor on the surface, as the area did not get electricity until the mid-1930s.
Four new exits were dug, one of which contained a horse-drawn wooden freight elevator. The group mapped approximately three-and-one-half miles of tunnel and decided on the best route for a one-way tour. They closed one of the exits permanently with a crude rock wall and planted a tree over it. The elevator also was filled in with rocks, and a concrete wall in the cave now seals it shut. Keeping the style of entrance that Reams had used, iron doors were built at the two ends of the new tour route. A small entrance building was built over one end of the route, and thirty-eight steps descend from the ground floor of the building through the basement and into the cave, thirty-five feet below the surface. At the other end, a single flight of sixty concrete stairs was built. Reams' iron door and the current exit door have developed holes large enough for bats to enter the cave, and today some little brown bats and eastern pipistrelles take shelter in the cave, primarily in the winter.

If you have never been to a cavern I highly suggest you go when you can. It is truly an awesome experience. So we descended down into the cavern and these are some of the sights we saw.

                     This is not the inside of my dogs mouth because I don't have a dog. It's rust in its true form.

Do you know the difference between a stalactite and stalagmite? Read on if you don't.

     Stalactites: They hold "tight" to the ceiling. 'C' for ceiling.

   Stalagmites: They "might" reach the ceiling. 'G' for ground.

Now that our geology lesson is over lets get back to some amazing pictures. We have now descended to 63 feet below the surface of the ground.

                                                 White Fangs

                                                    So close, but yet so far.

                                                    A waterway

                                        The Cocoon

                                   Let your mind imagine; a double heart

                                                 Hanging by a thread

Now we are at 103 feet below the surface. From here it's only upwards. And did I mention that it is only 54 degrees down here all year long no matter what the outside temperature is? Very true.

                                  The mighty King of stalactites (center)


And finally the only thing your allowed to touch while you're down there besides the handrail.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of the Ohio Caverns. We sure did. When we got out, which was 62 steps straight up, we came out to ground level again. As we walked back to the gift shop to buy our gifts we saw something I always like to see; a TB sticker on a car. That made my day. Now that we are out it's time to go find some caches. More on that next time.



Dude, caves give me the creeps but that tour looked pretty cool. I love all kings of geological formations and how the Earth has formed over many, many years.
Great mini series, nicely done.


I finally read through this entire post and man, you could have easily made a part three and maybe four out of this information packed post! Wow, that's a lot to write BigAl and very well done I might add. I'm happy I read it all!Thanks!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Very interesting and cool. I've been in caves before but this one was exceptionally beautiful.

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