- December 4, 2017
- Posted by: Topher Morrison
- Category: 49 Things Before I Turn 49
I stumbled upon this adventure when I was renting a car and looked over at those display cases of all the touristy activities and saw a postcard for Florida Caves. My immediate thought was, “We have caves?!?!” Turns out. We do.
In fact, this is a brand new attraction created by one man – Bryan Booth, PhD. He is a certified Florida Science Instructor, Environmental Scientist, and Geographer who has specialized in the study of Karst landscapes. His PhD. is in Karst. Yeah, that’s a thing. Karst is a topography formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. Apparently we have a lot of that in Florida.
Bryan created Florida Karst & Cave Tours, and when I called him, he had been open for only 2 weeks and I was to be his 3rd customer.
Bryan rolled out the red carpet for me. We were supposed to meet at the parking log of Bahama Breeze and then all go together as a group, but I was the only person who had booked that day and when he found out where I lived, he said, “I can just pick you up on the way.” Yep, door to door service!
For me being his 3rd customer, he’s put a lot of thought into his tours. He was filled with all sorts of facts and entertaining stories about the formation of the FL landscape. He had DVD’s available for m to watch to learn more about the caves, but I enjoyed his company so much, I didn’t watch them. I just drilled him with questions the whole way and he was more than happy to answer them.
Because these caves are located in forests, not national parks, dogs are allowed, and it’s completely safe for them as well. The majority of the caves you need to lower your pet into the cave, so if your dog is too big to lift, they may have to wait outside, but for Macie, we just handed her down the cave, let her off the leash, and let her run wild and explore where ever she wanted.
Their are several caves to explore during the tour, and you don’t climb so deep that you run the risk of getting lost, but you go deep enough that headlamps attached to hard hats are needed. And the hardhats will become your absolute best friend during this tour. If I wasn’t wearing it, I would have had 3 places where stitches would have been required, but instead just enjoyed the sound of thuds against the helmet instead of my skull.
You only have to climb as deep as your comfort level allows. I personally like to push the envelope and go beyond my comfort zone. So I told Bryan that I had no problem getting dirty and climbing through tight spaces. So he found a cave that went pretty deep and required a lot of laying down and scooting through the dirt. He lead the way, and when I saw the tiny hole he was trying to climb through, and how tight of a fit it was, I could feel the claustrophobia creeping in. Just as I was about to see his feet disapeer he shouted back that the sediment as too bad and blocked the opening and we would have to turn back. And honestly, I was damn relieved because I was borderline freaking out about climbing into such a small space.
Bryan brought a nice selection of snacks and didn’t even try up selling you with outrageous prices for them. He just opened his rucksack and let me eat whatever I wanted. And he had all the water I could drink as well.
Overall, I would definitely do this tour again, and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a half-day adventure that is off the beaten path.