So, Isaac Bradley has been visiting Doghill/Donehue cave a lot recently. This cave is great, it has three entrances (one is a man-made culvert created when S.R. 37 was being constructed), and it's mostly stream passage. My favorite parts are the low air spaces where you submerge yourself in the cold water for about 20-30 feet and there are only a few inches of breathing space. It's one of those things you have to psyche yourself up for, and if you're on a trip with a lot of beginners, it's not uncommon for there to be a lack of interest at this point on the trip. People are cold, wet, and tired and at this point they've been crawling through wet tight spots like the Berg squeeze and have climbed down the 20 foot cliff. But just after these low air spaces is where the cave gets incredible. There are large rimstone dams with deep pools behind them. These dams are about 4-6 feet tall and traversing them upstream is really exciting.
About two years ago, I visited this cave 12ish times within a few months. I wanted to see all of it, but there were always problems. Someone either got hurt, couldn't conquer their cave-induced phobias, or the group was too large and slow. When you're caving, it's dumb to push most people too much beyond their capabilities, so usually when someone wants to get out of the cave, it's usually best to get out. But for me, I needed to see the whole cave, and I wasn't going to give up until I did. So I gathered up a team of people. 6 people that I knew would be able to handle the entire trip. Kyle F., Ankur C., Tim G., Ryan H., Jake F., and I. It's a big cave, a lot to do in one day, and I told the group what to expect. So we went for it. None of us had been through the whole cave, but we weren't going to stop until we did. At one point Ankur hurt his foot, I believe he lightly sprained it. That really slowed us down, but Ankur was still as determined to finish as the rest of us. There were a few times where we really had no idea where we were going, but we saw some signs of the outside, like twigs, branches, grass, and even a bit of trash. We figured that there had to be an exit as long as there was all of this organic matter. We eventually made it out of the cave, and just layed in the sun to rest. We were exhausted but ecstatic that we had finished the Doghill/Donehue cave system in one trip.
Isaac has been talking to me a lot about all of his trips to the cave. And it sounds a lot like when I was exploring it. I just thought I'd share my story of it. Doghill/Donehue is probably my favorite cave system.