reply to post by Vanitas
I've been thinking a bit about the Iron Gate/Cave myself, and a relative of mine who has some experience in speleology told me that caves do
have the habit of "appearing"/"disappearing", seemingly out of nowhere. For example, there are certain caves that had been found (and duly marked
on maps), only to get "lost" again.
Yes. And let me tell you, it is annoying and embarrassing when it happens.
My brother and I had a job in which we did clearing and some landscaping of large areas of private properties, usually ranch-type properties(we live
in south Texas). Before doing the clearing work in our machines, we would go out on foot with a GPS, some topography maps from USGS, and some
flagging tape, so we could mark the boundaries of the areas to work in. Keep in mind we're talking about some pretty rugged terrain, little or no
path or road access, lots of boulder-strewn steep hillsides. Look around 29°55'00.84" N 99°18'26.42" W on GE for the type of land I'm talking
about. Not mountains, just lots of steep hills and narrow valleys.
Anyway, on one job, we found the entrance to a good sized cave on the side of a hill. The entrance was a hole a good 7-8ft.(2-2.5m) across. Marked
it with the GPS. We couldn't explore inside because we didn't have lights or anything, so we figured to come back later, better prepared(we're
amateur spelunkers, have lots of gear).
Later, meeting with the landowner(a really interesting older guy with degrees in math and physics), we were talking about how awesome his property
was, just from what we had seen of it. He got enthusiastic and offered to show us around. We all piled into an ATV(it was like a Razor, but bigger)
and he drove us all over the property, mainly on old ranch roads that barely deserved the name "road".
At some point he mentioned caves, and we told him about the opening we had found. He got excited again and started talking about a map. He drove us
to an old cabin that had come with the property, which he had been using to camp in until he could finish building a proper house. He dug around in
the cabin for a few minutes until he found a large folded piece of paper. Yep, it was a map. Hand-drawn, very detailed, dated 1930-something. He
said he found it in the cabin.
It wasn't a treasure map or anything, just a meticulous hand drawn map of the property by some previous owner. The cave we had located was marked on
the map, with distances from the entrance to two separate landmarks carefully noted, which should have made locating the entrance a relatively easy
He told us they(him and his family) had been unsuccessful in finding the entrance, which puzzled him. We told him we had marked it on our GPS and
would be glad to take him there.
When we got to the place we had marked, there was no cave. Everything looked right, down to the protruding rock formations of the hillside. The
large hole was not visible, and we haven't yet found it again. Annoying.