Sótano de la Golondrinas
Mexico Caving Day 6
Nikky LaBranche looks down while climbing out of Sótano de la Golondrinas (1,150 feet) during a triple-tandem climb with Chris and I. It was the most peaceful day of the expedition, with only the three of us in the pit.


Homeless six-year-old Chris Pentecost, the grandchild of Carol Green of Harrisonburg, plays with a basketball while waiting for the doors to open for his dinner and a bed to sleep in courtesy of the HARTS program, which gives the homeless a place to sleep when it’s cold outside.


My second trip of the year to Whitesides with Chris. Here Greg rappels the 650-foot drop in North Carolina.

During my last climb of the day, the clouds rolled in and this was my view looking up.

Here Todd climbs below as I wait to help him derig the five ropes.


John Guilday Cave Preserve
Went on one last cave trip to Trout Cave before it is gated and forever closed. I got an amazing photograph of endangered Virginia Long-eared bats!!!

Buy photo here.

John Guilday Cave Preserve
Here is Chris and I at the entrance. In a month, it will be gone and the awesome scenery will be replaced with cold, long steel bars to keep people out.


020908 Shovel Eater Bat
A beautiful bat hanging out on a formation in Shoveleater Cave.

Dwight Livingston took us there for our first trip into the vertical jungle gym and showed us how to survey. It was our first Germany Valley Karst Survey (GVKS) trip, where we went down two virgin pits and mapped it. Instantly, a beast was born. I loved every minute of it and the cave was awesome!
020908 Shovel Eater


Southside Diner
Goldie Bennett, who just turned 89 years old last December, looks out from from the kitchen for new customers. She has worked the graveyard shift, which is midnight to 8 a.m., as a waitress at the Southside Diner. “You never know how the night will turn out,” she said about customers and the snow-covered streets.