June 10, 2014

Large Room Inside Donaldson Cave Indaina
Sunday morning we got up early to start off on going into two caves right on the property of Spring Mill State Park, Donaldson and Bronson caves .  We show up to the office where they keep the boats for their tours into upper twin cave and check in with the staff.  We continued down into the section where the two caves connect from the collapsed sink and to our left is upper twin and to our right is Bronson cave, or so I thought it was Bronson.  We enter this cave and continue down the passage looking back at the nice waterfall next to the entrance. 

Entrance looking out from Lower Twin Cave Indiana
 We start swimming in this water and eventually come up to a sumped out plug where there are huge logs and lots of debris clogging up the low air space.  We continue to search for a way around this and started to move the debris away from the cave and but this apparently did not work and there was too much debris in the way. 
inside Lower Twin Cave Indiana
We were confused by this and decided to exit the cave and go to the Donaldson entrance where we knew the cave was open.
Entrance to Donaldson Cave
We drove up to the parking lot and walked to the entrance of Donaldson cave where we first explored the side passages of the cave before entering the main river passage.  we climbed over a waterfall and got to a second waterfall that appeared to be a bit more challenging.

Donaldson Cave from the inside out.

Eventually we traversed the side wall and climbed around the waterfall to tie a handline for anyone else that needed to get to the top of the falls.  I should have attempted to climb the falls as later we found out they were quite easy to climb out. 

Donaldson Cave
We continue on crossing over some funnel falls and fast moving water until we got to another swimming section. 
Donaldson Cave

 This cave was a lot of fun as we got to swim upstream and around until we got to a walking stream passage that was mainly upright walking. After w awhile we finally made it to the large borehole room of Donaldson Cave, This room was huge!!! Prob the biggest room I have ever seen in Indiana and one of the biggest I have seen in the Midwest.  I was pleasantly surprised to see all this water fun, large rooms, and fast walk and swimming passages.   Lots of fun.

Large Room inside Donaldson Cave Indiana
We continue on upstream where at times we were swimming and at other times we were walking in stream passage.   

Swimming passage in Donaldson Cave Indiana

As we were walking upstream I could feel the air temp warming up and the cave started to smell like fresh flora, seconds later a dim light was peaking through the left side and it was an opening to a collapsed sink!!  We found ourselves outside and we were dumb founded as to where we were.  It turns out we were in the right cave but initially we though we entered Bronson cave but instead we entered Lower Twin cave.  We stopped and had lunch to think about where we were as hikers observed us on the wooden deck like we were apart of the feature..."look honey, confused cavers" I am sure they were thinking that.   So upper twin cave connects to lower twin cave which is plugged and must keep going to the exit we saw in the collapsed sink that we could have entered to reach the plugged sump on the other side which must be the Bronson entrance to Lower twin cave. 
Donaldson Cave
 Eventually we went back the way we came and snapped photos and swam out of the cave.  I was so pleased with the caves geological and karst features as well as with the DNR for allowing us restricted access into this and the other caves we ventured into.  To learn more about how to access these caves please visit the Spring Mill State Park website and contact their local office for more information.
Large Room Inside Donaldson Cave Indiana

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