HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Being home to the National Speleological Society, being known as the Cave City to many and being a national caving hotspot, Huntsville is bound to have an abundance of cavers.
Luckily for those interested in caving, there's a Huntsville Grotto, a group consisting of various individuals who can all bond over one thing... their love for adventure.
FOX54's Nixon Norman spoke to local cavers about what makes caving special.
Q: What makes the Huntsville Grotto special?
Scott Shaw: "It's the fellowship. Cavers are a unique breed. None of us are alike. We come from all different walks of life. We all have different jobs, different careers, different family structures. We're all drawn, for the love of what we do underground "
James Deforest: "Well, we're a family. We have a lot of scientists, especially in Huntsville, and engineers, I have a lot of friends that are engineers and that's pretty darn nice when you're down and you wouldn't normally, I wouldn't go out and hang out with engineers, but I do hang out with cavers."
Q: How does a local Grotto help new - and experienced - cavers?
Ted Doggett: "It can be difficult to find people to take you caving, that's why it's important to go to your local grotto. Huntsville Grotto is an amazing grotto and you can meet people and get some experience so that you can cave the correct way, do it cleanly, safely."
Makaria Doggett: "Those are the people that are local to you, that you begin your caving experience with, that teach you conservation and safety. You begin to grow with those people and get to know them and then they're the people that you want to cave with and you get to know each other and then they just become your family."
Just like any family should, the Huntsville Grotto and cavers in general pride themselves in sticking together. "A lot of these people that I've met, I've known for 25 years now. I'll know them until I die. If you're in need, the cavers will show up. I mean, that's just what we do," says James Deforest.
Scott Shaw is the NSS Museum Curator and a Huntsville Grotto member.
James Deforest is the Huntsville Grotto chair.
Ted Doggett is a Huntsville Grotto member.
Makaria Doggett a Huntsville Grotto member.