April 30, 2014

Driving into the night to go caving in TAG from Chicago has always been a great way to throw off your sleep cycle especially when going from work and driving straight to Huntsville with friends taking turns to drive.  Once we got to Huntsville, we went to Troy Fugua's house to crash out for a bit before embarking on our trip. The first stop we are making is to visit Guffey Cave. We got to Troy's house and he offered us to stay at his place instead of a hotel which was a huge help for us financially.  Troy also offered us beds to sleep on for a couple hours before going to Guffey so we could get some rest before we headed out to the Cave.  I had a back up plan to Visit Gross Skeleton cave and I was hoping we would be able to fit both caves into this day. After resting for a bit we headed over to the location to unlock the gate and enter from the main entrance.  I was surprised to see how alive we all were after the 10hr drive and the lack of sleep we got but everyone managed quite well in this cave. 

Guffey Cave Alabama
 The Entrance was gated so Troy had to drive to get the key the night before which was really nice of him.  We entered the cave system and down into a series of decently large rooms.  The cave reminded me a bit of Wolf River Cave with regard to the size of the rooms until we got to the sand and water crawl ( more on this in a bit).  After a few dense gravity climbs around exposed rock, we made it to a junction.  This junction was a decent size room with two passages, one left and one right. We took the right route first to get to the the Pisa Room, and The beyond the Beyond room.

Guffey Cave
We continue to a stoop walk through a passage, than we had to get on hands and knees to crawl for a bit which led us through an abundance of formations and flowstone features as we passed through this room. The Room opened back up again and we dropped into the Pisa Room
Formation in Guffey Cave
The Pisa room had a Stalagmite formation and a small crawl passage that was really tight and constricting but it lead us to the final sections of this faction of the cave. This crawl was really tight,  a natural Filter of sorts if I may say so.   We squeeze through this and dropped down into some breakdown with a waterfall, followed that to a few more passage rooms, and made it to The Beyond The Beyond Room. Well at least we made it through one section of the cave.  

Pisa Room Guffey Cave

We double backed and got to the art room where we were able to contribute to the wall of art where all of the artistic cavers that have travelled through this part of the cave left a piece of artistic memory.

Mud Art in the Art Room.

We exit out of this section of the cave and get back to the confluence room where the lower stream section goes to a Y section that splits to the Bex exit or a Pit where you can rappel into to make a through trip.  We continued down to the Grand central room which appeared to be the largest breakdown room in the cave.  There was a moderate amount of gravity working against us as we tippy toed around the sloping boulders and meandered our way to the upper level.  The upper passage took us to a beautiful spire room and the Art Room.  

Guffey Cave
 We continued back down into the stream passage and it quickly got interesting as the ceilings were lowered and the water level was lifted up a few feet.  Some of us went ahead and a few of us stayed back to take a rest but we all eventually got back together in the stoop walking sand crawl passage.  This went for almost a mile that eventually got us to the Y section where the cave splits.  The passage was bone grinding and joint bearing as we had to stoop and slide in the mud, sand, and water to get to the Y section. We decided to return back the way we came due to the camera equipment I left behind and the fact that it was getting a bit cold for some of us. It was easier to go back the way we came than it would have been to continue out of the cave and travel back through the woods to the car.  Plus the keys were inside the cave so we had to get them.  We traversed back through the sand crawl and made our way back to the confluence to exit the cave. That was a great cave system and I wish we dropped the entrance pit and made the through trip.  We got pizza afterwards and attempted to look for Trent Chasm, Narwell, Hawks Hole on Green Mountain but we were not successful as it was nighttime so we ended the search early to make sure we got some sleep for the next days trip into Thunder Hole.  

Guffey Cave

FLICKR:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/exploration-worldwide/sets/72157644478308623/

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