Took my 11-year-old daughter on her first wild caving trip Tuesday (she's homeschooled so available on weekdays for fun trips). Pomepey's Cave is a few miles down the road from my house and I needed to scout it out (I hadn't been there in a year or so) for a group I'm leading in on Friday. The entrance to Pompey's is in the middle of a dry creek bed.
In the middle of the creek is a hole, about 12 feet down with a wooden ladder. Here's me on the way down (you can tell it's not the way up since my sweatshirt isn't muddy). Dorky-looking caving helmet but given that I frequently bang my head underground it saves some brain cells (I don't have many left after 30 years of hard living!).
Not many pictures from underground (I didn't really have the lighting for it). The cave is a passage which follows an underground stream (the one that once flowed on the surface). The ceiling is mostly high enough for walking upright and the walls are about 12 feet apart in places. The only "problem" is that you have to walk in the stream (shin to knee height water) and you're getting wet.
My daughter underground. No helmet for her (she's young and has extra brain cells to spare). She did great in the cave, and showed no fear, which means I'll have to get her gear too since I'll be taking her to others now.
Twigs and leaves wedged up in the roof of the cave. This cave has no bats because it completely fills with water after heavy rains (which is why I went caving this week - it hasn't rained for a while and the water level was relatively low). If you dawdle in a cave like this during a heavy rainstorm you will die a miserable death.
Neat flowstone. The occassional flooding means that stalactites don't get a chance to form.
Me underground (not very photogenic, am I?). My daughter was up on a ledge looking down on me. The only real tricky part of the cave was negotiating up (and then back down) a 5 foot high block.
Lots of breakdown in this cave to climb over. My mind always starts thinking about those car-sized blocks of rock and wondering when the next one will fall from the ceiling. Hopefully not when we're in the cave climbing around.
The cave has some neat geology, and there's a lot I could write about karst, but that's for another time.