I visit this cave—owned by the Nature Conservancy—as a part of being a staff planner for the Gainesville Land Acquisition Committee (they are considering purchasing the cave at this time). I arrive at the cave with six to eight others on the Committee. We donned helmets with miners lights on them, put on gloves, unlock the gate at the entrance, and “chimney” down a tunnel (with a rope) approximately three stories in depth.
It turns out to be a spooky experience—particularly for a non-caver such as myself. At times, I am able to explore on my own, and find that if I crawl far enough down a tunnel that I would be in a jet-black area in which there is deafening silence. It is rather unsettling, especially when I have to literally squeeze through a passageway that features a 30-foot long hole that just barely allows me to slither through.
The cave contains 18,212 mapped feet, surveyed by the Florida Speleological Society from 1961 to 1966. Formations include such colorful names as Virgin Rooms, Flat Room, Pit Area, Monster Room, Dune Room, Fame and Glory, Mud Section, Third Squeeze, Crystal Crawl, Sand Room, Long Haul, Runway, and Infernal Triangle. See map at left.
It is Florida’s largest cave, and still contains unexplored labyrinths.