No Karst Cave

(Edwards Cave)
by Devin Kouts
24 March 2003

No Karst Cave
Jeff McCracken emerges from the newly found No Karst Cave. Copr. D. Kouts - 2003

(Subsequent research reveals this to be in fact a known cave. Previously given the name Edwards cave, it's location had been lost to the caving community for many years. - DSK)

How did we miss this one? The old Germany Valley PSC field house is not far away. Harper Pit, a perennial favorite of PSC and other cavers is even closer. But there it was, an invitingly comfortable cave entrance, just like the kind your father used to find, back when you didn't have to dig so hard for your new caves.

On a recent weekend jaunt to Germany Valley I was joined by local caver Jeff McCracken and his son Patrick for a little geology walk. Their new puppy Karst came along for the walk as well. I was intent on studying the limestone that was exposed in the ravine downstream from their home near Seneca Caverns, a ravine we refer to as Bowers hollow.

As we wandered along all three of us kept our eyes glued to the limestone outcrops on both sides. Occasionally Patrick would scurry up the slope to have a look at a depression that both I and his old man were too lazy to chase after. On possibly the third or fourth scurry Patrick looked back and said "Come 'ere, hurry"!

No Karst Cave
Jeff McCracken and his son Patrick check out the entrance passage of No Karst Cave. Note the pipistrelles sleeping on the ceiling. Copr. D. Kouts - 2003
From down in the stream bed Jeff and I had spotted a likely looking depreesion at the base of a tree about 30 feet up the northern side of the ravine. I didn't think it likely that we would find anything significant in that ravine because it was so close to the old fieldhouse, and this area was notoriously well walked (or so they say). Having read a lot of the original literature available from caving sources about Germany Valley caves, and consequently ridgewalking extensively in the valley with members of the Germany Valley Karst Survey, I was really surprised to find a cave with such a large entrance where we did.

But here it was. Jeff and I joined Patrick to look down into a hole about two feet high by three feet wide that opened to a mudslope. The three of us used Jeffs little LED headlamp to slip down the mud slope and into a small entrance chamber about four feet high. The walls were three to four feet apart and the space was very comfortable. Signs of wood rat littered the floor and a hand full of pips adorned the ceiling.

Jeff pushed forward for about thirty feet to where the passage narrowed. Continuing would require a squeeze over flowstone into a crawlway sized tube. The flowstone looked very clean and unmarked by cavers. The tube bent around to the right and out of site. None of us were dressed to push so we backed out of the cave and marvelled at our good fortune.

From there we went on to have a look at the rest of the ravine and a swing past the Harper Pit entrance. As we walked back through the field toward Seneca Caverns Jeff and I peered through the trees and could just make out the dark outline of the entrance. This is a time when no leaves are on the trees. During summer it would be totally invisible. But still it's stunning to find a new cave like this where it is.