Monday, April 13, 2015

Going deep...

James M. Tabor defines "supercaves" as vast geologic monsters that are miles long and many thousands of feet deep; they are rare and as difficult to conquer as Mt. Everest. Their hazards include darkness, vertical drops, fatal falls, hypothermia, fissures, rock slides, hurricane-force winds, dangerous microbes, asphyxiation and poisonous gases. They also have turquoise pools, cascading waterfalls, beautiful water-carved limestone formations, and caverns immense enough to hold several Greyhound buses. I find them alluring and completely fascinating, but the thought of actually exploring one scares me to death. So I read about them instead.


In Blind Descent, James M. Tabor chronicles the stories of two men--American Bill Stone and Ukranian Alexander Klimchouk--two caves, and two quests to find the deepest place on earth. It's Cheve Cave in southern Mexico vs. Krubera Cave in the Republic of Georgia. Both are incredible supercaves, and both pose great risks to anyone who enters them. And Tabor does a masterful job of taking the reader on an incredible journey deep into the center of the earth. It's a memorable and well-written true life adventure story.





But my favorite caving adventure is told in William Stone's and Barbara am Ende's Beyond the Deep: The Deadly Descent Into the World's Most Treacherous Cave. This firsthand account of Stone's 1994 expedition into Huatla Cave in Mexico is 'unputdownable'. What the cavers experience is scary, and sometimes deadly, and very hard to forget. Talk about going where no one has gone before! Both of these bookish descents into darkness are compelling reads that I absolutely loved!




Happy Reading!

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad you are reading about this and not trying it yourself! It sounds crazy. I definitely do not have the urge to climb into a supercave or jump out of a plane or anything like that!

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    1. Yeah, I'm a little too cautious and safe to try anything like deep cave diving or parachuting out of planes. But it's fun to think about from the safety of my couch. :)

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  2. I like reading about someone else's adventures, and I KNOW I will never go explore deep caves. Sounds like a couple of good recommendations. Thanks!

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  3. Like you, I'm fascinated by caves and cave exploration - from the safety of above-ground. I'll go into shallower caverns on guided tours (Timpanogas Cave in Utah, Luray Caverns in Virginia, Carlsbad Caverns in NM) but I am not intrepid enough to try spelunking. I think reading Tom Sawyer at a young had a chilling effect on my desire to go underground! That said, both books sound interesting; most of my vicarious exploration has been via National Geographic and one or two other publications.

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    1. I love Timpanogas Cave...I've been there many times. But guided cave tours are as far as I go underground. Except in my imagination. :)

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