By Jeremy Patton
The Muddy Way is a section of the Wells Cave system, located in Pulaski County, Kentucky.
I will not reveal its location because caves are often vandalized and their habitats are easily destroyed by careless human traffic.
Delania and I waited until spring to explore the Muddy Way. We knew that a significant population of bats hibernated there and we did not want to disturb them. Waking up bats during hibernation causes them to burn their energy reserves and die.
The Muddy Way was aptly named, although we only slopped through a fraction of crawlspaces that we expected. Most passages were high enough to stand up in. We did not push all the leads, however, so we may encounter more muddy crawls on future visits.
I was elated to photograph two natural arches: Muddy Way Arch #1 and Muddy Way Arch #2.
We also happed upon a large stalagmite that stretched nearly to the ceiling. I call it the Muddy Way Stalagmite.
We found a few instances of graffiti carved into the limestone walls, the oldest being an inscription from 1917.
In our experience, the fossils most prevalent in Pulaski County caves are crinoids. The following specimen was quite different; it was imbedded in the ceiling. Delania did some research and believes that it is a gastropod.