Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 24, 2014

Adventure events still on schedule at Carter Caves

Tim Preston
The Independent

OLIVE HILL — Several excellent opportunities remain open for trips and excursions included in the upcoming Winter Adventure Weekend at Carter Caves State Resort Park, according to organizer and park naturalist Coy Ainsley.

“You know, there are still some good trips out there,” Ainsley said, specifically citing remaining space in activities including the high line (otherwise known as a zip line), as well as rock climbing sessions, two- to three-hour hikes and campfire cooking.

“There are even a few wild caving trips open. Not a lot, but there’s a few,” he added.

Ainsley said Winter Adventure Weekend participants also sometimes change their mind about the excursions they want to take part in, allowing chances for others to take their place. With a record number of online registrations this year, Ainsley said signups at the park continue from 12:30 to 9 p.m. today , with the annual event kicking into gear at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

“If anyone is coming in for the weekend, we encourage them to check the website. You can see, pretty accurately, any openings for trips. The website also has information about trip levels and required equipment. If they want to do any caving, a lot of that is required gear so we want to make sure they bring that with them,” Ainsley said Thursday, noting nearly 400 people had already registered to participate at the winteradventureweekend.com website.

For registered participants, Ainsley said there is also a tremendous number of “drop in” sessions covering topics ranging from rope work to slack lining, as well as popular activities including the challenge of the “corrugated cave,” a cardboard creation simulating the confines of a cave system. The corrugated cave is expanded by volunteers each year, he said, and may be submitted for world-record consideration after the current layout has been properly surveyed.

Winter Adventure Weekend, with more than 140 trips included in this weekend’s schedule, replaced the annual Carter Caves Crawlathon, which provided caving enthusiasts with a chance to explore areas otherwise excluded from public access. The original event was cancelled in response to the threat of White-Nose Syndrome in the cave system’s native Indiana Bat populations. Caving trips have recently been added back to the weekend schedule, with strict protocols and procedures in place for decontamination of clothing and equipment.

Ainsley said the park’s lodge is full this weekend, with overflow visitors being pointed toward hotels in nearby Grayson. The park’s campgrounds will be open, with no reservations required, he said, noting the bath house will be open for guests. The restaurant at the lodge will be open and serving three meals a day in addition to offering buffet meals, he said.

For more information about Winter Adventure Weekend, visit the winteradventureweekend.com website or call Carter Caves State Resort Park at (606) 286-4411.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at