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Caving is the recreational sport of exploring caves.

Exploring caves has been a hobby for thousands of years, but has changed considerably in recent years.

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Caving vs. spelunking

Clay Perry[?] wrote about a group of men and boys who explored and studied caves throughout New England. This group referred to themselves as spelunkers. This is regarded as the first use of the word in the Americas. Throughout the 1950s, spelunking was the general term used for exploring caves. It was used freely, without any positive or negative connotations.

In the 1960s, the term "spelunking" began to convey the idea of amateurs, using unreliable light sources and cotton clothing. In 1985, Steve Knutson[?] (editor of American Caving Accidents) made the following distinction:

..."Note that I use the term "spelunker" to denote someone untrained and unknowledgeable in current exploration techniques, and "caver" for those who are."

Modern caving

Caving today has become a hobby for many different reasons. Some cavers are interested in conservation. Others are interested in gathering hard data about caves (also known as speleology). Geologists explore caves for the purpose of learning about the formation of rocks, and formations. But, for most of the rest, the purpose of caving is just to have fun.

Getting involved in caving today is very easy. You can start by looking for caves near you by using the Caving Directory (http://www.rainierpubs.com/metro/caves/cv_links.htm). Helmets with mounted lights can often be bought in local shopping marts, or more deluxe models can be found from online distributors.

Caves can generally be explored during any season of the year. Most caves remain at the same temperature year round.

There are a relatively small number of animals who live in caves. While caving, watch for cave-dwelling newts, salamanders, fish, shrimp, insects, and bats.

Also, many cave formations[?] can be found in caves. These include stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.

Some common rules of thumb apply:

  • Always wear protective headgear.
  • Always check to be sure there is no danger of flooding while you plan to be in the cave.
  • Never go alone.
  • Carry a minimum of 3 light sources per person.
  • Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.

Urban Caving

Urban caving, or urban exploration, involves exploring man-made caves, such as drain-pipes. There are many websites which encourage you to post pictures of such excursions. Of course, check to see if such exploring is legal in your area before attempting.

See also: List of caves

External links

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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