Caving…5th grade style

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Wednesday before Spring Break means one thing in my school…the 5th grade caving trip!  Last week, we took 71 kids and 37 parents caving in Southern Indiana.  The trip takes a ton of planning, but is SO worthwhile!  

Before we go on our trip, we spend about three weeks learning about how caves form, different formations (speleothems) that the kids will see, and different types of cave life that they might witness.   

The cave we visit is four and a half hours away, so the day begins with a report time of 4:40.  Everyone was on time, so we were able to leave a little before 5.  Our bus got lost on the way there, so we ended up getting there half an hour late (around 10).  Then it was time to split into five groups and go exploring!

My group toured the two commercial caves first.  They are absolutely beautiful, and even though it’s my sixth time going, I see something new each time.  We were lucky enough to see several bats this time.  They are still hibernating, so they are super tiny, and just hanging from the rocks.  The kids are always amazed by the formations they see.  We’ve learned about all of the different speleothems, but actually seeing them is an exciting experience.

After the commercial caves, it was time to explore the “wild cave.”  A wild cave is just a cave that is still forming.  This one has a stream running through it that you have to walk through for about 90% of the tour.  You also climb over rocks, crawl through a rather tight passage, and have the opportunity to walk through the “bathtub” (a waist deep area of the stream).  The kids come out of the cave wet and muddy, but they love it!  They even love the process of being hosed down to get rid of the mud!

After a long day at the cave, we loaded up the buses and headed home.  We got home around 9, and everyone was picked up by 9:15!  It is a long and exhausting day, but worth every minute!


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