X is for Xi Cave

There are not many good X-Y-Z caves in Alabama! Of course, some would point out my alphabet caving is TAG, not just Alabama, but I only have access to the Alabama Cave Survey so it is easiest….and there are not many good X-Y-Z caves in the others either. (Yes, I know, Xanadu, I just…it’s hot. I don’t like long hikes to caves. Especially in the heat of summer. Also, getting a trip there seems to be difficult.)

Anyway, in an effort not to stay stagnant and finish up this year, I happily found Xi Cave (as in the Greek letter) in the ACS. It had a crawl, with dot-dot-dots! I like dot-dot-dots! On old surveys it usually means something went, but it wasn’t worth it back-in-the-day to push.

Xi did not disappoint. Alexander and I headed off to find it at 0930. After about a 20-min walk, we started down the mountainside. We were not sure how accurate the coordinates were and we looked everywhere, walking the sides of the wash looking for the cliff it was described to be in.

Puzzled and hot and wanting to cool off we decided eventually to check out the wash itself. It really is beautiful.

We found where the water sinks into silt. There was indeed more bedrock down here.

Below it, we found cave! I would not describe it as in a cliff, but I suppose it was about a 5-6-ft cliff when you looked down at it. But the tops and edges were covered by boulders, so it did not give your typical cliff appearance.

We felt air.

We saw animal tracks.

We started to survey, and then realized as we cleared out some debris to make the passage easier we were disturbing a ground hornet nest at the entrance where we were tossing things.

We quickly left it alone! Being stung in a cave is not on my bucket list!

All in all an amazing trip and I can’t wait to return… 😉

Amata in the entrance of Xi