Monday, March 16, 2009

Nuclear Caving

Four other dads and I took 16 scouts to Oak Ridge and Sweetwater TN this past weekend. In Oak Ridge, they earned their Nuclear Science merit badge at the American Museum of Science and Energy. This is not one of those badges one can earn at summer camp or a Saturday afternoon with the scoutmaster. Most folks don't just have a Geiger counter laying around collecting dust.

Or a model of a pressurized water nuclear reactor.

Or a Van de Graaff electrostatic generator.

Saturday afternoon, we loaded them up and headed for The Lost Sea caverns in Sweetwater for an evening of caving - including sleeping overnight in the cave afterward. The rooms are jaw-dropping enormous. The crawls were fun, but they weren't as tight or challenging as Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga. For us old guys with bad knees, I was thankful for that. I was also thankful that no one uttered "pull my finger" during the single-file crawl passages.

The one thing that was plentiful was east Tennessee red clay mud - lots of it. And much of it was ground into clothing and taken back to middle Tennessee to do battle with Kenmore washing machines and Tide.

Next stops: New Orleans, LA and Bristol "Thunder Valley" Tennessee.



  1. another good reason to want to be the lead dog.

  2. They don't teach caving safety at the Lost Sea? Where are the helmets, pads, lights, etc? Nowadays these kids probably wear more safety gear riding their bike than they have in those pictures. :)