Sunday, August 26, 2007

We are Trogloxenes

This week's schooling here at Backyard Academy had a spectacular close! Our Co-op is so lucky! We have a daddy among us who is a real life Spelunker! He agreed to take us to Carter Caves and show us some stuff that the public doesn't get to see!

In preparation for this, we studied caves all week instead of Botany . Here are some quick facts:

  • Most caves in our area are limestone caves . (page down, it's really interesting)

  • Stalactites hang from the ceiling

  • Stalagmites form on the cave floor

  • Flowstones form around things like walls and other rocks

  • Columns form when stalactites and stalagmites meet

  • Straws are tiny columns that are hollow

  • "Speleothem" refers to all cave formations

  • Troglodytes are animals who live in caves full time and have adapted to their environment

  • Trogloxenes are visitors to caves (they hang out in there part time,, like us!)

  • When you touch a "live" cave formation, the oil from your hands will kill it. NEVER TOUCH!

  • Bats are really cool (and tiny too!). We would only exisist 6 months tops if all the bats died today. They are very important to our ecosystem. Never touch a bat when it's hibernating. It will die.

  • Caves stay about 57 degrees all year round. We were very greatful for this on a 100 degree day!

While we were waiting for a few more people to join us our head spelunker took us off the beaten path (to say the LEAST! LOL,,, there was whining, oh yes there was) to see an entrence to the cave that had yet to be gated off. We were glad that we toughed the trail out because it was REALLY cool.

Ok, get your gear on, it's time to go in the big cave!
This is our whole group before the hike. Well,, just the kids and our fearless leader (minus Steven, he was hiding). Including the parents I think we had 42 people?

We entered in a part of the pay cave. The difference between a pay cave and a natural cave is that the pay cave has electricity!

A hole in the ceiling from drip erosion.


An underground reflecting pool in Cascade Cavern

Columns. We also saw straws here and LOTS of bats!

This is how we felt after the hike. BLAHHRG! we were dead.

The obligatory daddy and kids shot.

The books we used were:

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