Queen of the Walkabout
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
| Posted: 10/28/2005, 7:01 am
|A book for all cavers, and wanna be's----
In the 1920's and 30's a young frenchman was a pioneering caver in the mountains of France. He especially liked difficult to reach caves, and most caves there have active streams, so swimming and "sump" diving. In glacial water with no wet suits. Candles and matches wrapped up in a swim cap. I'll say it again, guys and gals in "those days" were tough. No advantages of todays comfortable technology.
That said this is a real adventure book for the armchair or active caver. Casteret describes almost step by step the challenging environment he faced, sometimes solo on initial discovery, then backed up by his brother, wife, friends and sometimes even his mother, on the mountaineering and high altitude caving.
Some pictures in the book ,not the best quality, but accurately portrays conditions he relates in his narratives. Some trips involved several days hiking, and he describes curling up by a boulder for the night ( no nice warm down sleeping bags for these folks!!).
If you have any interest in caving this is a great book. Besides the adventure/discovery aspect, he gets into some geology, hydrogeology, flora and fauna, and formations.
Among his greatest discoveries was in a cave with approx 20,000 year old clay figurines, some still fairly intact. It's amusing to read how he and crew got some of the archaelologists', who had never been in a cave before, swimming in a dark ice cold stream to get there.
When you see a stream appearing suddenly from a rock face or from a stream bed; just think, a cave may be involved in there somewhere.
Another great read for more than one time---
Cave Books, St Louis, MO