The opposite of Next Level Caving

I’m not sure whether other people are as introspective as I am, but I often wonder what will I do when I can no longer do canyoning or caving?  I thought cave surveying would fill the void, but not sure I want to be belly-crawling through squeezes trying to measure to the next feature for much longer.  Nor do I want to go to the effort of keeping fit enough to do SRT caves and the type of canyons that I like.  So, what’s next you ask?

Well, I think I’ve found my niche!  Cave cleaning.  I’ve always been a good housekeeper, in fact I’m quite pedantic about house-cleaning – almost obsessive about it.  Cave cleaning is perfect for me. So far, I haven’t had to do any squeezes or crawls, everything has been horizontal, and I only have to do it until I’ve had enough for the day.  What more could one ask for?

I went away with some cavers who are right across cave cleaning and I can’t believe the number of new skills I’ve learned.

I went through one cave picking up rubbish. In the caves that I usually enter, you don’t find much garbage, but in caves that are easily accessible, all manner of rubbish builds up. Sticks and leaves that don’t belong there, even a balloon and a baby’s dummy.

This is from a different cave – I peaked under rocks and formations and you wouldn’t believe the stuff unearthed.

One of the definite “don’t do this in a cave” things is “no eating the type of food in a cave that could crumble and leave crumbs behind”. Crumbs can attract rats and other rodents, and then you end up with rat scat all over the formations. We did find a lot of rat scat in one cave. If rat scats are left on formations, they turn into a nasty black fungus, so, you have to spray with water, then do a bit of scrubbing, and the water is vacuumed up. Here’s David with a spray bottle and a scrubbing brush, that’s me with the vacuum.

We found a footprint on a nice white piece of formation, again, scrubbing brush on the job, spraying it with water and vacuuming up the water, and voila, nice white flow stone again.

Me in one of the caves where we were picking up rubbish/sticks, the other nice thing is that with no crawling I didn’t have to wear less-than-attractive cave overalls! (Photo: David S)

I enjoyed myself so much, I’m seriously considering buying a good wet/dry vacuum and my own set of scrubbing brushes.  My biggest concern now is that there wont be enough caves available for me to clean!

Banner:  little bush rat we came across in the area.
Thumbnail:  nice white formation after cleaning off rat scats.


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