About Nikki


Originally from the flatlands of Nebraska, I’ve has lived from coast to coast, and all in between, I used my profession as a photojournalist for the main means of my traveling. I’ve lived in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, California, North Carolina, Kentucky, Brazil and Mexico since high school graduation.

From all my travels, I’ve learned I’m a mountain girl. Currently, I’m in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where I can access all the outdoor activities I love within 30 minutes from my house.

My true passion is caving. I first got underground when I moved to Appalachia in 2002 while living in Kentucky. When I relocated to Virginia, my thirst for caving adventures has only grown. I am very active in project caving, especially with my life partner, Chris Coates, where I explore, push and map new caves. It is the modern version of walking on the moon — I can go where no one has been before. Cave photography has, obviously, been an interest, as well as vertical caving and long rappels — such as Bridge Day, El Capitan and Mexican deep pits.

 You can see my cave photography and order prints here.

I volunteer a lot of my time in the caving community. I am the NSS Safety and Techiques webmaster and the Madison University Student Grotto (MUSG) co-advisor & webmaster. Since 2006 I’ve also been the webmaster for Front Royal Grotto (FRG) and have redesigned the website three times. Since January 2017, I’ve been the Eastern Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission (erNCRC) webmaster. I also am the editor of VAR’s Region Record for the past four years.

In 2008, I self-published a book featuring my cave photography called “Going Down . . . Underground.”

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