Tuesday, May 21, 2013

                                      CAVER DASH 2013

An especially unique event came into my rather routine life this weekend that I wish to share. That event being Alfred Crabtree’s (my son … says the proud father) now annual Caver Dash. Briefly, this two-day event is for the “cavers” (please not Spelunker!) in his grotto out of Cookeville, Tennessee, and any other cavers from elsewhere. It began with the folks arriving Friday evening at our home, Windsong Ranch, up on the Cumberland Plateau, adjacent to Fall Creek Falls State Park. Everyone pitched tents or parked their campers in the front fields, the orchard, and some around the compound. The scheduled events began early Saturday morning, which included a hilly bike ride of some five miles to the boat dock on the lake in the park. At that stage, kayaks waited for the participants to paddle a course around the perimeter of the lake, about four miles. Upon completion, they returned to their bikes and peddled up to Buzzard’s Roost for rappelling off Lookout Point (100 ft.?), and then a rope climb back up (50 ft.?) near a small waterfall next to the Roost. Wait … there is still more to do folks! For the now tired cavers, a rugged, but awesomely beautiful eight-mile hike down the canyon at the bottom of Fall Creek Falls (256-foot drop) awaited. After that, they returned to their bikes and rode back to the Windsong. Now comes a few additional rewards over the satisfaction of their having completed an endurance run of some considerable magnitude. First, a home built, solar, field shower for those weary muscles. Further, and all along, there lay in the Windsong fire pit, roasting for six hours, a succulent pig. Additionally, next to the pit sat a very large cast iron “smoker” preparing a goat (cabrito) for a mouthwatering experience. Plentiful side dishes, deserts, adult beverages, and the noble conversations of caver fellowship, all served from the Windsong Ranch residence. I would mention names of the staff that labored, planned, prepared, and executed these events without a hitch, but I would want to write all the names and I don’t have those capabilities anymore (everyone found out about my embarrassing problems remembering) and so the fear of omission is overpowering. However, there are group photos on Facebook under Caver Dash with names. Thankfully, the gods smiled on the event as even the downpour of rain waited until we had all eaten at the long table constructed outside. But those same deities have their limits; as the live entertainment planned for the sixty (my estimate) some folks up in the large fire pit area, in the front field of Windsong constructed over several days by a large diesel Caterpillar backhoe, did become the casualty of the rains. Oh yes, a new kayak was raffled off with other prizes and some door gifts. Of note, the furthest person to attend came from California, a high school friend of Alfred’s. I wish to share, that with all those folks coming through my home to get their meals and libations they showed every concern and caution, with politeness, and then afterwards offered to help with the cleanup. What a group of gracious folks those cavers and their friends are ... always, and will forever be, welcome in my home and Windsong any time. Thank you all for coming, you are a gracious and intrepid group …  you “cavers”.