May 01, 2014
We woke up a bit later to make sure we were as fresh as possible for the days trip. One of the cavers stayed back to relax from the trip yesterday so we set out to go to a beautiful pit and go to Butler Sinks afterwards to enter Paul's Cave.
We drop the entrance and made it down this beautiful cave and I got some great shots of the pit from the bottom up. The sun beams came through as everyone climbed out of the Pit. This was one of the more beautiful pits I have been to in TAG.
Soon after we left this Pit, we made out and way over to another location and our sites were dialed in to visit an with large waterfalls. I looked at the map and it appeared to be a crawl that gradually got bigger until the 300ft drop was encountered.
We parked the car and had to hike over a mile in the woods to get to the waterfalls Sinks area. This place was beautiful! There was a lot of water just pouring over ledge from above and that was impressive in itself! Where the hell is all this water coming from? and where is it all going? We drop our packs and look around for the entrance. I find some other entrances that lead to drops into dome rooms under the breakdown piles above and I continue to wonder if there are other cave systems that feed into this cave due to these passages. Eventually, we found the entrance to and climb down into the river system. This passage will be serving as a natural filter or a body compressor due to how tight it was to contort our bodies just to get to the stream passage crawl.
The crawl turned into hands and knees than opened up to walking over boulders to get to the DROP! We made it. This drop is 300ft to the bottom which can either be dropped from the water fall using two bolts over the falls or a traverse into a small room away from the waterfall. This room, the waterfall, and the system itself IMO was extremely impressive!!! There was a waterfall drop with a climb around and some breakdown that you had to walk over in order to get to the exposed climb so we rigged a hand line to ensure nobody would fall into the pit below us. After come challenges we had the hand line established and continued to rig the drop. We were not prepared for this flood of water that we encountered so we did not have our wetsuits available to us which was a concern for some of the cavers so what we decided to do was to drop down to the ledge which was only 60 ft which would avoid the waterfall. This was the majority ruling and it was thought that the waterfall would be hammering everyone at the bottom.
When I got on rope and rappelled onto the ledge, I looked up and saw the pic above me. I was at eye level of the waterfalls second lip as the water came crashing down and over the second ledge down another 230 ft. I got back on rope, climbed up, and we ended up de rigging to exit out of the cave. I took an oath to return with proper equipment and flash bulbs for the drop. We hiked back in nightfall through the woods and back to the car to hangout before our last days trip.
|From the bottom looking up.|
ALABAMA PIT FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/exploration-worldwide/sets/72157644477894663/
BUTLER SINKS PAULS CAVE: https://www.flickr.com/photos/exploration-worldwide/sets/72157644024344098/