Caving is growing in popularity, as people are drawn to both the adventure of the sport and to the scientific wonders it uncovers. As most cavers know, underground caves are a complex underground ecosystem, one that must be treated with great care and responsibility. Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is a leader in introducing people to the majesty of the underground world, but also prides itself on educating cavers to respect and take care of the hidden ancient worlds as they adventure and explore.
If you are interested in becoming a caver, Cave of the Winds Mountain Park can point you in the right direction. Several organizations exist that encourage the responsible exploration of caves, while teaching how to keep fragile ecosystems intact. Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is always at the forefront of caving, both in getting adventurous souls involved with caving and in conservation efforts. If you are interested, it is important to know some basics as you move forward.
First, caving can be a messy sport. When you become a caver, or a sport spelunker, you may get a little dirty. Caves tend to be damp, dark, and muddy. This shouldn’t stop a true caver, it is just a reminder to be prepared!
Extra shoes, clothing layers, a working headlamp with fresh batteries, and plans for a hot shower are all important things for a caver to remember and plan for.
Second, safety is important while caving. Exploring caves will be an adventure unlike anything you could ever experience aboveground, and many moments will take your breath away. With that in mind, you will need to use excellent judgement while caving, making sure to be careful with every footstep.
As you learn more about the sport of caving, be prepared for anything. Study up, join caving societies, try to gain knowledge from more experienced cavers, and always be prepared. Most caving injuries happen with inexperienced or careless caver, so remember safe practices with every new adventure.
Third, real cavers respect the caves. The underground ecosystem is incredibly fragile, and good cavers do everything in their power to avoid upsetting the balance while they explore. Much like camping, try to leave no trace that you have been in a cave. If you see animals or insects, try to avoid touching or stressing them. Never take so much as a pebble from a cave. Each and every pebble and rock should remain in place. As tempting as it is to take a memento from an adventure, memories should be the only thing you take from a cave.
Use discretion when telling others about caves. Make sure that you share locations only with people who will treat the cave with the utmost respect. Vandalism of a cave, even carving initials, is devastating to the underground ecosystem, and should be treated seriously.
Finally, keep learning! Caving is both an adventurous sport and an exciting science. The more that you know about the history and science behind caves, the better explorer you will become. Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is a great point to start from, with several different levels of exploration.
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is a national leader in cave preservation and education. Cavers in the Colorado region can explore and experience great adventures in an area rich in both caves and in expertise.