By Jeremy Patton
Rabid Fish Cave is located in Pulaski County, Kentucky.
Note: I will not reveal its location in order to protect it from vandalism.
Delania and I discovered what we now believe to be Rabid Fish Cave on 9/18/16. I like original names, so I will stick with “Rabid Fish,” which must be inspired by an interesting story. A group of surveyors likely named it.
After climbing into the cliffs, a large entrance greeted us, which soon tapered to a wide crawl. We decided to endure it, hoping that it would open up into a cavern. We were not disappointed.
While still in the crawl space, Delania motioned for me to hush and move stealthily to her position. There, she pointed out a bat hanging from the low ceiling. She fawned upon it, whispering again and again about how cute it was. My girlfriend is a one-of-a-kind female. I recall visiting the Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain, decades ago. A female spotted a bat hanging beneath one of the granite arches, mentally fell apart and had to be carried from the spot — I digress.
We hope to return to Rabid Fish Cave soon, but if we encounter a bat population, we will delay our plans until spring. Disturbing hibernating bats can cause them to burn their limited fat supply and perish.
After several hundred feet, we were able to stand in a dry channel where flowing water had deposited pebbles and fine grains. It was narrow, suggesting a small stream. However, the entire area was muddy, including the crawl, which caused uncertainty as to the cave’s status during wet weather.
The channel led to a tunnel, which led to several spacious caverns adorned with break-down, flow stone, natural arches and other cave formations. It became a bit of a maze, so Delania and I turned back due to time constraints.
Graffiti angers me, but we discovered several examples of what some might consider “history.” Several of the names carved into the stone carried the “Hail” surname. The earliest that I found dated to 1915.
This region of Kentucky is known as “Hail,” as are several roads in the vicinity, no doubt indicating previous landowners. We first suspected that we had discovered a back entrance to Hail Cave, but now believe that Rabid Fish Cave is separate, but part of an extensive Hail Cave system.
We returned to Rabid Fish Cave on 11/5/16 and made it to the end of the main passage, a little more than a quarter mile.
Rabid Fish Arch #1 is located about halfway through the passage. It was quite large, and I unfortunately forgot to measure it.
I dubbed a second arch in the vicinity “Almost an Arch” because a small part of it appeared to have broken away. The remainder was thin and fragile, but still jutted across the narrow tunnel.
Beautiful speleothems adorned the second half of the cave and more signs of a stream passage became evident. Channels were carved into the floor and we found some standing pools near the terminus (during a drought). We have read that the cave is not prone to flooding, but I am not so sure.
We spotted several slumbering bats, more than back in September, a sure sign that is time to stay out of the cave until Spring.
Added 9/20/16 – Updated 11/9/16