Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Treasure Hunting in Caves and Tunnels

Caves and the area around caves are especially good spots for looking for treasure. I know of several stories that talk about treasures being hidden in caves and I know of even more stories about treasure being hidden near caves. I have found lots of carvings in and around caves and tunnels that were treasure related.

Caves and trees with water close by is a magnet to draw in outlaws and just about anybody else traveling in those areas because of the shelter from the weather and the need for water when traveling. There are several areas that have caves that were used over and over again by the same group and even more groups through the centuries. I don’t know of any area I’ve been to that has caves that didn’t have treasure markings in the area also.

For most of you some of this information will be a no brainer but since the blog is for the novice and the more seasoned treasure hunter I will be mentioning several different things I think are important. As a disclaimer, keep in mind that the things I mention are in no way everything that you should consider. They should be considered a starting point for you to work on based on your individual sites.

First and foremost, DO NOT GO ALONE!! Crawling around in caves is dangerous and you should never be alone. You should also always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back and that someone shouldn’t be the person with you!

Once you have someone to go with you it gets into common sense and safety. You should realize that finding a treasure is not worth your life so if a cave appears to be unsafe, don’t go into it! If you do go into a cave or tunnel make sure you have some good equipment with you.

You should always have more than one flashlight and I personally would recommend three. It can get pretty frickin’ dark in a cave when there aren’t any lights. I learned this by experience! I always carry a small pocket flashlight with me all the time whether I’m treasure hunting or not. If I go into a cave I have at least two other flashlights, I prefer the LED lights and I have two or three chemical light sticks also. The little headlamp lights work very well so you can keep your hands free while moving around.

Rope is always a good thing to have also. Even if you don’t think you will use it, having 30-50 feet of rope can come in handy in an emergency or even if your tunnel splits off in several directions. Being lost is one thing; being lost underground is a completely different situation and not one I think anyone would want to experience.

You should pay attention to your size. I know I am as guilty as anyone thinking that I can still do the things I did when I was twenty years old. This is wishful thinking and can be a big mistake if you aren’t careful. Again, this is experience speaking. If you are twenty and want to live to be fifty, think twice before doing what you want to do!

Two way radios can also be good as long as the cave or tunnel you are going in to isn’t super long or deep. Having somebody outside the cave that can go for help is a good thing if something happens and being able to talk to them with a radio so they don’t have to risk coming in is also good. Don’t rely on your cell phone; they don’t work too well underground!

What do you do once you are in the tunnel or cave? Move slowly, keep your eyes open and don’t go moving things before you look at what else might move when you do. Caves are great places to find carvings, inside and out. Besides looking on the walls you always want to look on the ceiling. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t look up, especially in tight or small places.
Something else to consider if you think there is a treasure or even a clue hidden in the cave, check the walls. I have a battery powered black light that I use occasionally in caves and tunnels. If someone has dug a hole into the side of the cave, placed something inside and then sealed it back shut using mud or clay a black light will show the differences between the solid wall and the filled in spot. If what you are looking for is metal and you get a reading with a detector then you won’t need the black light. However, if what you are looking for is documents or paper money then maybe, just maybe that light will come in handy.

As with any treasure hunting, a camera is always nice to have. In the case of exploring caves a video camera with the night vision feature can come in handy. Being able to shoot video and still photos with the same camera is an added plus. Most of the new point and shoot digitals will be able to do this.

You can plan on getting dirty, muddy and wet when exploring caves so plan on bringing a change of clothes with you when you go. And if you have a younger hunting partner it's always nice to send him in the tunnel first! :~)

When it comes to hauling out that treasure once you find it, make sure you climb up the rope before the treasure gets hauled out or you might be taking a shot like this. He seems to be smiling an awful lot!

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