ST Rocks began the day by serving our community offering assistance in beautifying downtown Acworth by undertaking some landscaping projects. The city representative said that in 45 minutes the labor of our eight industrious students accomplished the tasks of a full time Acworth Parks and Recreation employee for a whole work day!
We then travelled to Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga for a rigorous caving excursion. Several students made spiritual observations derived from this amazing opportunity:
God’s glory was made real by the magnificence of the caverns which took thousands of years to form.
The cave excursion leader’s advice can be compared to God’s guidance in our life because without such guidance we would be completely lost and without hope.
The beauty of Raccoon Mountain Caverns is a testimony of God’s creation.
Others offered some advice and considerations for anyone considering a spelunking experience:
- Get physically fit BEFORE you go caving!
- Be prepared to be completely exhausted.
- We crawled through tiny spaces, stepped in lots of puddles, and got very muddy. It was tiring, but it was such a great experience.
And here are some interesting facts we learned today:
- Salamanders are amphibians; there is one special kind that has no lungs and breathes only through its moist skin.
- Stalactites are formations that hold tight to the ceiling of the cave.
- A stalagmite grows from the floor and if you’re not careful, you might trip over it.
- A column is created when a stalactite and a stalagmite meet to create a formation from the floor to the ceiling in a cave.
- A shield is a circular medallion formation held by a tiny section which appears to be melting off off of the cave’s ceiling. There are only 80 of these located in all of the United States. (That might seem like a lot until you realize that in Tennessee alone there are more than ten thousands caves!)
- A chandelier is a grouping of stalactites close together. If these get too heavy, the section breaks away from the ceiling and leaves a mark called a scab. It might take more than 100 years before another formation begins in that area.
- Contrary to popular belief, bats don’t typically spend much time in a cave.
- Fluids from a human (saliva or airborne moisture from a cough) will collect inside the cave and form a growth that looks like cotton candy. Despite being attractive, this is toxic and can cause a serious infection called caver’s lung contracted by those frequenting the area.
- Raccoon Cavern is home to the Crystal Caverns Spider that is not much bigger than a grain of rice.
- Crickets are most often near a cave section with an opening to the exterior.
- Because of the oil deposit from skin, a momentary touch by a human can stunt the growth of a stalactite or stalagmite for more than 10 years.
- Total darkness, which can be truly experienced in a cave, is really, really black….even if you think that you can see your hands, it is just your brain tricking you.