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Exploring caves in New York

HOWES CAVE, N.Y. (NEWS10) - It’s hard to imagine surviving the cold and damp darkness of a cave.

With the mystery of caves in the spotlight, NEWS10 ABC explored the inner workings of a local cave and the unlikely way it was first discovered.

“Two cows escaped from a local farm and the two cows ended up falling into that hole,” Matt Thom, a Secret Caverns Tour Guide, said.

It was 1928 when those bovine explorers discovered a cave that now hosts visitors from around the world.

“Yeah, you feel the cold air already.”

Thom, we made our way through damp corridors of limestone, calcite formations, and traces of animals that date back before the dinosaurs.

Some passages are so narrow, we can barely squeeze by, ducking beneath rocky overhangs, sometimes not quick enough. The hike is do-able thanks to features you won’t find in a non-commercial cave, railings, a smooth concrete floor, and most importantly, lights.

“They want you to have 3 sources of lights because you don’t want to end up down there in the dark,” Michael Lemyre, a Secret Caverns Tour Guide, said.

Trapped in the total darkness, the only sound was a steady drip of water. It’s an unbearable thought for Lemyre.

Back in the cave, the quarter-mile hike leads us to a crashing 100-foot waterfall and a possible escape route.

“This means that we could technically get out of the cave going through the waterfall, it wouldn’t be easy, it would be an adventure,” Thom said.

It’s the intrigue of the unknown beneath our feet that has cave explorers coming back for more. 

“There are something like 100 caves within 10 miles of this place, the whole mountain is just lousy with them like a giant hunk of Swiss cheese,” Lemyre said.

The cave has been thoroughly explored but there are inevitably caves in this area that have yet to be discovered.


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