Caving with "Mom"

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LAG Recreational Trip
Location Wind Hicks, Doc Brito, Jurnigan, Parks Ranch
Author Lee Ann Dean
Date May 21 - 23, 2010

May 22nd Brian was trip leader for Tammy, William, Lee Ann, Whitney, Derek, Michael and Chance for Wind, Doc Brito, Jurnigan and Parks Ranch. I was excited as my college age daughter had not been caving with me for about 3 years. She came home and we had a mom-daughter trip down memory lane. We slept in the car, ate oat meal and reminisced about the trips of the past. Evening entertainment was provided by watching the fires, smoke and spreading of the fires on the other side of the Guadalupe Mountains.

We had three fairly new ???newbie??? cavers all about the age of my children. I kept wondering what they thought about traipsing about with ???mom.??? I really felt pass?? when Tammy and I attempted to use the outdated step logs to find a couple of caves. Small words make such a difference like, ???near a medium size juniper tree.??? It was actually a tree that probably died about 20 years ago and only retained a couple dead branches. And park AFTER going through a maze of rocks in the road when it should have said before. And ???park at the end of the road??? when the road actually went much further than the topographic map showed. We have for many years speculated that the step logs are actually made to give incorrect information to prohibit cavers from actually finding the caves thus reducing impact. I kept thinking that the young folks wondered why we just did not use a GPS and high tech devices to find the caves. Would that be ???sportsmanship-like??? in the caving community?

I can add testimony on why to buy a Toyota. But I would add that the ground clearance could be a little higher. I???m tired of trying to explain to my mechanic why this little old lady needs to replace the skid plate or why the bolts under the running board are bent or why the axel is broken.

Regardless, Tammy and I gave it our best efforts hiking hours in hundred degree temperatures. Brain graciously later guided us effortlessly to the caves we had sought. Due to a ???guardian??? rattlesnake at the entrance of Doc, we never did get to explore in the coolness. Jurnigan was disappointing in its size but scaling into the hole was a challenge and satisfaction in itself. Tammy graciously gave her spot into Wind to a new caver so that we could keep the permit number legal. After a long day of heat and wind, Tammy did show me that even Parks Ranch caves were cool, interesting, fairly pristine, and worth the exploration.

Camping, fires, hiking, snake, caving, good company, searching, spending a weekend with my daughter???..priceless.