I need to find the right cave. I don't think I want to join a spelunking society, and I don't think they'd have me either. Bats inspire a terror of rabies. I am afraid of heights and had a nervous breakdown the one time I went rock-climbing when I was 19. Fortunately, I was with some fantastically patient and compassionate people. But rappeling into immense darkness appeals to me even less than doing it blinding daylight.
Then why on earth have I been searching the world for the proper cave?
I have a photograph in my head and I need to make it in a cave. Other requirements complicate it, but the first is finding the cave. And I am not particularly looking to have it be a so-called "show" cave, all decked out in colored lights.
New York is not a cave wonderland although there are a few. I started to look Upstate a year ago, but my friends who have a house in the Catskills reminded me that in the fall, other creatures actively look for caves as well. Kevin and I drove all over the southeast Catskills asking about one hole in the ground, finally finding it. It was intensely dark inside although I did kind of like it.
In the Philippines a year ago, I actually managed to obtain my delicate and expensive props, for cheap because it's the Philippines! Four of us, Kevin, our friend, her friend who was a professional guide and myself set out on scooters in Bohol to see a cave that this friend promised was stunning. It seemed perfect and I was very excited. Then Kevin and I had a little motorbike accident and I spent three hours at the private hospital desperately hoping the needle was clean as the doctor gave me a tetanus shot and stitches.
Several months later, the friend, Scott, died in a caving accident. He was 31 and a sweet, lovely guy. He had lived in the Philippines for some time and was very good to us. His death is a tragedy.
At the Grand Canyon residency last March, I thought that for sure I could shoot something in a cave there. The only problem was obtaining my delicate, and expensive, props which were not available in the national park. Upon arrival, I also learned that the park forbids entry to any and all caves in the Canyon. The residency coordinator (Rene god bless you, your're amazing) told me that her electrician husband had installed many video cameras at cave entrances in order to keep people out.
You think that's a waste of taxpayer money? I bet it's cheaper than a search and rescue mission, or prosecuting grave robbers. Yep, to this day, disgusting excuses for humans steal Native American artifacts and even more disgusting people pay a lot of money for those artifacts.
So, no caves in the Canyon. I didn't think I could handle the fine.
I am in Southern California now. Holla if you think you can help me with an attractive, accessible (a hike is fine), cave with a fair amount of entrance space.
entrance to an underground river near Ellenville, NY
© 2009 bridget batch