Wild Wild West Virginia

From time to time I long for some crazy adventure. One of those times was a wild cave expedition in West Virginia. I’ve always had this unexplainable fascination of caves or pretty much anything underground located. Organ Cave is a national historic landmark located in Ronceverte, West Virginia. What is most notable to me is the cave’s history. It was where over a thousand Confederate soldiers hid for three winters during the Civil War. The cave has over 70 miles of mapped passages and over 200 more leads that have not been mapped and surveyed.

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I expected it to be rough and dirty but I didn’t expect it to be literally WILD. The expedition was probably one of the craziest adventures I’ve had. I’m just glad my friends and I made it out alive after five hours underground! We’ve climbed, crawled, slid, jumped at every crevice. We did all these in pitch black, with nothing but our headlamps on. If you are scared of the dark and is claustrophobic, this adventure may not be for you.

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You have to wear comfortable clothes and sneakers, and I must say, pick ones that you don’t mind getting dirty in. I mean REALLY dirty and muddy. The helmet, headlamp, gloves and knee pads were provided by the tour company. Our guide, Phyllis is an Organ Cave expert and has done the expedition so many times. She taught us how to use our body the right way, how to climb over rocks or crawl underground. For someone short like me, I had no problem with the constant ducking from low hanging stalactites or crawling in small passageways. The challenge was when it came to reaching onto something or walking over a ledge. “You have short legs and arms”, Phyllis pointed out to me many times.

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This adventure was truly unforgettable. It was a lot of fun and very challenging physically, emotionally and mentally. It was a bucket list moment and I’m glad I did it. Would I do it again? We shall see!

Have you been on a wild cave expedition?

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Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created Angel of Wanderlust as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.