By Jeremy Patton
Pourover Cave is located in Pulaski County, Kentucky.
Note: I do not reveal cave locations because they are targets for vandalism. Furthermore, heavy human traffic can ruin their fragile ecosystems.
I have reason to believe that it was dubbed “Pourover” by a group of surveyors, decades ago. I do not know why they gave it such a name, but Delania and I only explored a fraction of its passageways. It is possible that some sections of the cave remain unsurveyed. I will update this article if I find new information.
This was the muddiest cave that we had explored, which was noteworthy considering that the area had suffered drought conditions for quite some time. Debris littered the main entrance, washed in by previous floods. At the back of the entrance, a wide mud-slide led down to a creek passage. The passage was “dry,” but again, extremely muddy, which made walking a challenge.
Fossils stuck out from the floor, ceiling and walls; I have never seen so many in one place. I commented to Delania that we should call it “Fossil Cave,” then she reminded me that another cave in Pulaski County already had that name. I am researching to determine what the fossils were, but no luck so far. They are ubiquitous, because I have seen similar fossils along the river bank. I would like to take a Geologist along on some of our adventures.
Just outside the cave, I found the most well-preserved fossil of my life. It had a shell and likely lived on the sea floor, millions of years ago.
We duck-walked through the tunnel then reached a fork. We proceeded to the right for perhaps a few hundred feet. It appeared to taper to a crawl, so we back-tracked and took the left fork, hoping that it would open up into a larger cavern. It did just that, and there we found considerable break-down. Several passages departed from the room, but they all seemed to converge again into a single tunnel.
We heard water trickling for the first time, around the corner. Delania peered into the dark, got scared and asked “was that water there earlier?” I could not blame her for her paranoia because the cave was clearly prone to flooding. I did not think that the newfound stream was a concern, but we continually monitored for any signs of flooding. We would exit the cave in record time if necessary.
The source of the trickle was a small stream flowing into main passage, which itself was merely a stream. That could intensify rapidly, we knew. I examined the ceiling and walls and noted numerous crevices were water likely spewed forth during wet-weather.
After another short walk, we reached a standing pool that stretched from one end of the passage to the other. We were in no mood for wading, so we turned back. Considering the dry conditions above ground and the wet/muddy affair in Pourover Cave, I determined that it was likely the best cave to hang out in if you want to drown.
We found a few cave formations, such as some interesting straws and draperies on the ceiling. Delania pointed out that some of them looked like veins. The cave often gets washed out, which I assume thwarts the formation of most speleothems.
It was not our favorite cave, but it was certainly unique, mainly due to the abundance of fossils. I would like to return some day, better prepared for wading.
During our first visit on 10/1/16, Homer the waterdog followed us for about two miles downriver. He crashed through the undergrowth on the bank like a big gorilla and when the terrain became too steep, he swam beside our kayaks. He seemed happy to be in the water and with company.
When we reached Pourover Cave, Homer would not set paw inside; he whimpered as I scouted the entrance. When Delania and I changed into our gear and set off into the underworld, Homer turned around and went back to the house. In some ways, that dog might be smarter than we are.
Added 10/4/16 – Updated 10/28/16