All About Caves
Contrary to popular belief, most caves don't have any treasure hidden in them. Unless of course you consider one of the earth's more subtle and magnificent ecosystems to be treasure enough in itself.
But then, that would make you a granola-munching geologist who's never known a day of real work in his life and won't as long as his grant is renewed, wouldn't it?
Chip Bannon, the smug tour guide for the National Park Service, never has any trouble remembering which are the stalactites and which are the stalagmites. This is mostly because he's smarter than you, but partially because he knows a handy little memory trick that he's more than happy to share:
Stalactites have to hold on tight to the ceiling.
Stalagmites might grow up big and tall if they eat healthy and remember to take their vitamins and minerals.
The latter being extra clever, as Chip hastens to point out, since they form from the calcified drips of mineral-rich water.
Well, what Chip Bannon doesn't know is that for the last few minutes I've been mentally killing him in just about every horrifically gruesome way imaginable involving stalactites and mites. And that if he reminds us one more time that cave ecosystems are very fragile and we must stay on the designated path, taking only pictures and leaving only footprints, then I'm gonna beat him to death with his helmet lamp and feed him to the cave slugs.
Contrary to popular belief, cave slugs don't attack unless provoked. And rarely grow much longer than a foot or two.
(You're thinking of the Paraguayan Devil Worm.)
When Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher's last candle burned out after they became hopelessly lost in McDougall's Cave, Tom Sawyer found Becky's lips in the darkness, kissed them tenderly and told her everything was going to be all right.
Which is quite lovely.
Well, when I clicked off my flashlight and tried to kiss the woman next to me as our group gathered on the bank of some boring underground river that Chip claimed was a geologic masterpiece, she broke my nose with a cave rock and then Chip was furious because apparently that cave rock took something like a billion years to form... and now it had my blood on it.
Contrary to popular belief, farts do echo in caves.
Quite resoundingly in fact.
There are many types of caves. Two main ones are Volcanic Caves, formed by lava flows through rock, and Solutional Caves in which water erosion through softer (soluble) rock produces the passages and chambers. Limestone caves are a common example of solutional caves.
Chip Bannon claims there's no such thing as a Wizard Cave--that twisting maze of scorched granite, blasted deep into shear cliff walls by the lightning-tipped staffs of levitating wizards. But Chip Bannon is an asshole and a liar.
Contrary to popular belief, caves aren't scary to walk through alone. Well, not all of them. Okay, most are but there are a few that aren't.
Okay, fine, even those are pretty spooky.
Chip Bannon will always politely thank everybody who paid the four dollars to take the National Park Service's crappy tour through the smelly cave, but he becomes significantly less-than-cordial if he discovers your pockets are stuffed with endangered cave newt carcasses.
Contrary to popular belief, your dead relatives can still see you if you touch yourself in a cave.