Seeking advice from those who know

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Seeking advice from those who know

Postby thom » Oct 16, 2018 10:24 pm

Allow me to share what I will about my situation. I am 61 years old and partially handicapped from an accident a little over a year ago. My slightly older sister owns the property, including our grandparents house, our parents house, several acres of land and the family cemetery where our parents and grandparents are buried. I have full access to the property.
About 35 years ago my late father told me about something that happened on the property about 65-70 years ago. The first house, grandparent's house was built sometime in the 1930s. Then mom and dad's house was built in 1946. Originally neither house had indoor plumbing. They carried water from a spring about 100 yards from both houses. About 1948-49 Grandpa, Dad, and a couple of our uncles decided to dig themselves a well to supply the two houses I mentioned and one other. It was, of course, to be dug by hand, as most wells were back then. It was a group/family effort. Now the part that you will take interest in. Dad said that after some digging, and unfortunately I can't remember how much he said, they broke into a very large open space. Dad said that the "cavity" was at least large enough to put the then two room hose inside of. They made no attempt to actually enter and explore the space. Knowing that it was probably not going to be a productive, water producing well they refilled the hole and dug the existing well about 150 yards away.
When he told me about it I did not ask for any more details or info, not even the exact location. I have since told my now 34 year old son about it. Fortunately one uncle that was in involved in the effort is still living at age 82 as still has a clear mind, if not a clear memory for details from 60+ years ago. I now know exactly where they dug first. With my sisters blessing, my son and I are planning, after watching some videos about DIY well drilling, to attempt to drill down to the required depth to access the "space". Plan A is to make a hole big enough to lower a camera down and explore it that way. If that fails, because we don't know what all they used to refill the hole, plan B will be to start afresh and hand dig a well like they did back then. I intend to find out more about this situation that I have wondered about for 35 years. Not being a geologist I wonder what we might find when we reach our goal. I have also wondered if there is access elsewhere to the "cavern". I have explored the adjoining property and can find no sign of an opening. Not knowing how deep we will have to go, what might we find? If there is no other opening, there should be no living creatures present, right? Does that even happen naturally , for a void to be deep underground, with no opening anywhere to ground level? There are no creeks or rivers anywhere near the site. Anyone ever explored a previously unopened void like this? Thanks for any response.
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby CaverScott » Oct 17, 2018 7:05 am

A city and state would give us a general idea of the area since many of us have expertise in certain regions. :cave softly:
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby trogman » Oct 18, 2018 4:59 am

thom wrote: If there is no other opening, there should be no living creatures present, right? Does that even happen naturally , for a void to be deep underground, with no opening anywhere to ground level? There are no creeks or rivers anywhere near the site. Anyone ever explored a previously unopened void like this? Thanks for any response.


Yes, it happens quite often. A couple of notable caves that come to mind are Caverns of Sonora (Texas) as well as Lechugilla. Another one is the fabulous Giant Crystal Cave of Mexico, which was discovered during a mining operation deep underground.

I assume from your other post that you are in North Carolina? Generally there aren't a lot of limestone caves in your state, although you may be in one of the areas that does have a few. One suggestion I would offer is that you secure yourself with a rope while you are digging. You never know when you may bust into that cavern and suddenly find yourself dropping into a void! :yikes:

As far as living creatures go, if there is indeed no significant opening to the surface then the chances are low that you would encounter anything of any size. However, raccoons are known to be quite the cave explorers, and are able to find the tiniest little entrances to access caves. Just proceed cautiously, as most animals you come across in a cave will try to avoid you. Be sure not to corner them, and you should be OK.

Be safe, and please keep us posted on your progress.

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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby thom » Oct 18, 2018 8:43 am

Thanks for the responses. We, my son and I, are really looking forward to the first look inside the "cave". I am trying to decide how to proceed with the dig. We might try first with hand drilling like some on the Youtube videos that I have watched and see how that goes. If necessary I will build a drilling rig using an old car rear axle housing and differential. We have access to a tractor to power the rig. The site of the old well is on a sloping ground so depending on which way the cave extends from the first access hole we might move to lower ground to dig a hole big enough to get us into it. Evidently the cave (or whatever the proper name) is partially under a one-lane, private gravel road that has been used since the 1930s, if not earlier. The gravel road is between where the first hole will be and the second, bigger hole would be. I will post any pictures that would be interesting.
I wish I had quizzed Dad when I had the opportunity years ago for more info. I suppose they must have broken into the space from the side, otherwise whomever taking his turn digging would have fallen in. Maybe the surviving uncle will remember some details that I don't know. He was a teenager at the time of the original well dig. He will be present when we start digging/drilling, I hope. I can't believe a teenager was not curious enough to want to know more about the situation. I sure would have been. Thanks again. :waving: :waving:
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby thom » Oct 18, 2018 8:46 am

Mr Moderator, please feel free to move this to the proper place, if you think you should. I realize now that I originally put in in the wrong place and might get more response in the correct place. Thank you. :doh:
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 18, 2018 9:15 am

thom wrote:Mr Moderator, please feel free to move this to the proper place, if you think you should. I realize now that I originally put in in the wrong place and might get more response in the correct place. Thank you. :doh:

Welcome to CaveChat. :bananabat: This is one of the Ms Moderators.

In a sense this isn't the right place, but because you're new here, this is your introduction and why you're here. We'll leave the thread in the intros and hope you succeed and post some results.
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby thom » Oct 18, 2018 8:13 pm

Please pardon me for the (Mr). Most of the other forums that I frequent are old car and truck related and as far as I know all the moderators are male. Again, sorry.
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby CaverScott » Oct 19, 2018 8:15 am

No worries. I would be shocked is Squirrel Girl is bothered. She is top notch!
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby caverdan » Oct 19, 2018 10:59 am

Welcome to the forum thom. They say "caves are many....entrances are few". How deep do you estimate you need to dig? How deep did they dig the other well?
Personally, I'd rent a mini excavator for the day and dig the first 15' or so with that. Nothing like power equipment to start a dig with. Good luck and be safe in your diggings.
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 19, 2018 4:21 pm

CaverScott wrote:No worries. I would be shocked is Squirrel Girl is bothered. She is top notch!


Hah, hah, hah. How little you know me (about being top notch, not about being bothered).

I hoped the dancing bat banana and good wishes would show I wasn't bothered. :waving:
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby thom » Oct 19, 2018 7:11 pm

I don't know until I talk to my uncle, the last surviving digger, how far down they got before they gave up. Not to deep, I hope. After all, they were hand digging with shovels and possibly picks. I believe that we will try to drill a small hole first, and drop a camera down. Then we will probably attempt to dig a hole big enough for us to enter. :thanks:
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby thom » Oct 24, 2018 6:41 am

Someone aware of my plans reminded me of Floyd Collins, and little Kathy Fiscus from years ago, 1925 and 1949, actually. There were ballads written about both and I remember hearing my mother sing them 50+ years ago. Google them if you are not familiar with the stories. They are interesting. Goodday.
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby thom » Nov 8, 2018 12:36 pm

The decision is made. We will redig the original hole to gain access to the cavern. The surviving uncle assures us that some junk was disposed of when the hole was refilled, so drilling might be a problem. At least if we encounter a Model T engine or something we can hoist it out and continue. I will post pics of the progress once we get started. :waving:
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Re: Seeking advice from those who know

Postby CaverScott » Nov 8, 2018 4:30 pm

Look forward to the pics! :kewl:
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