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Bangor Cave (updated with trip and photos)


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#1 Evan

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:43 PM

Inquiring minds want to know.

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#2 DLamb

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:24 PM

Presumably near Bangor? Bangor shows up on my map along US 31 right next to the Cullman County border.

#3 SWL

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:28 PM

Just inside Blount County from Cullman just east of Hanceville. I've got my CD with street-level mapping and I can see the road to it.
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#4 Evan

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:56 PM

QUOTE(SWL)
Just inside Blount County from Cullman just east of Hanceville. I've got my CD with street-level mapping and I can see the road to it.


Could you give me directions from the Interstate?
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#5 Ray

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 02:15 AM

I have been there many times, we used to frequent it during my high school days.  I don't know how familar you are with Bangor Cave, but during prohibition days there was a night club in the cave.  There was also a gambling operation there during the late 40's to early 50's that finally got broken up.  It was once a destination for the rich who also came to Blount Springs, just south of there, to bathe in the sulphur springs in the area.  There were hotels and a pretty good resort operation there.

I wish I could tell you where it is, I could still find it, but it's one of those places that you know where it is, but can't tell anyone how to get there.  I know the place by sight, rather than road numbers and the such.  Perhaps SWL could better locate it for you.  There is a railroad tunnel not to far from it, and the road that comes off old highway 31 goes across these tracks.  It is not far off of the R.R. tracks, in the old days the tourists would ride the train to the cave, but the tracks have been shifted slightly to the East since then, although they are still very close.  There is a large, old house, right after passing this road going north on Hwy #31, this is the old 'Hamilton' house, it was a mansion in it's glory days.  To get to this area from the Interstate, take the Hanceville-Garden City exit, I believe it is exit #287, this is the old US Hwy. #31.  It is the next exit north of the Hwy #160 exit.

My brother lives not far from there, and he told me a while back that the property the cave is on is for sale, and that it is posted property because of all the graffiti nerds, and the such, going in there and wreaking their destruction on the place.  It's been quite sometime since I have been there, probably 10 years or more.  Being raised in the area, you would think I could give you better directions and I apologize for that.

Just about my entire high school senior class skipped school one day, right befor graduation, and we all went there with lights and picnic lunches.  We went from one end to the other, and it is very dark in there, I was glad we had good lights.

#6 BlountWolf

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:01 AM

As a 20+ year member of the National Speleological Society, I would like to put out a couple of guidelines in this thread.

When caving:

1. Take at least 3 sources of light PER PERSON. ACR (Alabama Cave Rescue) has rescued more people who just ran out of light than those who gort injured caving.

2. ALWAYS tell someone (who is not going) where you are going, and when to worry if you are not back.

3. Wear a helmet. A miners helmet, skateboard helmet, bike helmet - whatever. It's not "for idiots who fall down", it's for people like all of us who stand up and knock themselves out on low ceilings of solid rock.

And last, but certainly not least - the cavers motto:

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.

If you want to see nicer caves than trashed-up mostly detroyed Bangor, the local cave club is called The Birmingham Grotto. There are also clubs in Cullman, Huntsville, Montevallo, ATL, and others.

#7 Greg D

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 11:00 AM

I used to go spelunking quite a bit when I was active in the Boy Scouts (I'm an Eagle Scout, btw  icon_biggrin.gif )  I'd like to go again, but I'm afraid I'd have to lose about 100 pounds before I could swing that again  icon_lol.gif
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#8 DOMweathergirl

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:47 PM

I'm from that area myself - Grew up in SmokeRise and went to Hayden High School.   It is something that unless you KNOW where it is, you won't find it.  There are no signs or anything noting where it is.

The exit you would take off of I-65 is actually the Blount SPrings/Garden City exit.  Stay on that road and you will pass Top Hat Bar B Que (excellent!).  Anyway you wind on up that road and if you go to where the road turns off to the right after passing the big white house you've gone to far.

Most people pull off on the side of the road of highway 31 and then hike back to it, but there aren't really any signs, and I doubt if the trail is still there either.  

It was a neat place in it's time - if you ever see any pixs.  I saw some once in the library, but other than that I've just heard about the place.

#9 Evan

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:55 PM

QUOTE(DOMweathergirl)
I'm from that area myself - Grew up in SmokeRise and went to Hayden High School.   It is something that unless you KNOW where it is, you won't find it.  There are no signs or anything noting where it is.

The exit you would take off of I-65 is actually the Blount SPrings/Garden City exit.  Stay on that road and you will pass Top Hat Bar B Que (excellent!).  Anyway you wind on up that road and if you go to where the road turns off to the right after passing the big white house you've gone to far.

Most people pull off on the side of the road of highway 31 and then hike back to it, but there aren't really any signs, and I doubt if the trail is still there either.  

It was a neat place in it's time - if you ever see any pixs.  I saw some once in the library, but other than that I've just heard about the place.


Thank You Wendy. I went to Bangor when I was younger, so of course I couldn't remember where it was. I've actually eaten at Top Hat before, and you are right -- it is darn good Bar-B-Que.
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#10 BlountWolf

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 02:41 PM

QUOTE(JT)
QUOTE(DOMweathergirl)
I'm from that area myself - Grew up in SmokeRise and went to Hayden High School.   It is something that unless you KNOW where it is, you won't find it.  There are no signs or anything noting where it is.

The exit you would take off of I-65 is actually the Blount SPrings/Garden City exit.  Stay on that road and you will pass Top Hat Bar B Que (excellent!).  Anyway you wind on up that road and if you go to where the road turns off to the right after passing the big white house you've gone to far.

Most people pull off on the side of the road of highway 31 and then hike back to it, but there aren't really any signs, and I doubt if the trail is still there either.  

It was a neat place in it's time - if you ever see any pixs.  I saw some once in the library, but other than that I've just heard about the place.


Thank You Wendy. I went to Bangor when I was younger, so of course I couldn't remember where it was. I've actually eaten at Top Hat before, and you are right -- it is darn good Bar-B-Que.


I can show you exactly where it is if you really want to see that trash pile.  It's a source of shame for most cavers - there are no formations left, and the whole thing is so full of redneck refuse that we gave up trying to clean it up years ago. The trail is still there - there's even a pull-off spot on hwy 31 to get to it. There are hundreds of nicer caves in the area, so if you are wanting to go caving, look up a member of the Birmingham Grotto, or PM me and I'll put you in touch with someone that can take you to a nicer cave. If you are just wanting to see Bangor cave in particular, PM me and I'll give you exact directions. I live about 4 miles from it. I don't want to give them on the public part of the forum, because it will just get more trashed than it is already.

#11 SWL

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 02:43 PM

QUOTE(SnowNose)
because it will just get more trashed than it is already.


We're not that bad.  icon_razz.gif
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#12 BlountWolf

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 02:45 PM

QUOTE(SWL)
QUOTE(SnowNose)
because it will just get more trashed than it is already.


We're not that bad.  icon_razz.gif


Sorry - I didn't mean it that way, just don't want the directions to be public knowledge again. We've been assisting Bangor Cave in disappearing from memory for a while. icon_wink.gif If you saw how bad trashed it is, you'd realize why.

#13 DOMweathergirl

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 03:04 PM

The last time I was at Bangor Cave was 1984 or 5.  I was 15 or 16 and went with my boyfriend and his cousins who were visiting from Florida.  It was pretty bad then.  Alot of graffitti, and as far as knowing where the bar was etc. you can't.  There is nothing there to let you know what it once was, unless you do know.

It's sad really - If it had been preserved the way alot of historical things are, it could have been a real neat - and think what it would have done for that dead stretch of road where it is.  After past that big house, there is nothing until you get to the river and Garden City.

But of course, prohibition was a different time, and when alcohol became legal that changed it all - except for the fact that Blount County is dry.  Ironic, huh?!

#14 Mason Dixon

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 03:44 PM

QUOTE(SnowNose)
As a 20+ year member of the National Speleological Society, I would like to put out a couple of guidelines in this thread.

When caving:

1. Take at least 3 sources of light PER PERSON. ACR (Alabama Cave Rescue) has rescued more people who just ran out of light than those who gort injured caving.

2. ALWAYS tell someone (who is not going) where you are going, and when to worry if you are not back.

3. Wear a helmet. A miners helmet, skateboard helmet, bike helmet - whatever. It's not \"for idiots who fall down\", it's for people like all of us who stand up and knock themselves out on low ceilings of solid rock.

And last, but certainly not least - the cavers motto:

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.

If you want to see nicer caves than trashed-up mostly detroyed Bangor, the local cave club is called The Birmingham Grotto. There are also clubs in Cullman, Huntsville, Montevallo, ATL, and others.


whats the name of the cave in the wheeler wildlife refuge? Its in the refuge area on the southern tip of madison and limestone county down county line road. Do you know anything about that cave?

#15 BlountWolf

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 03:59 PM

I don't know that particular cave, but if you will PM me more details on where it is, I'll look it up on the cave register and see if it's been plotted. There are over 10,000 caves in Alabama on the survey - a lot of them up there.

Actually, the best bet might be to contact ACS - they are actually in Madison.

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#16 Ray

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 11:22 PM

It's really sad that some people have to treat places and the enviornment like they do.  I had heard that the cave had been trashed and had graffiti all over the place, and that really irritates me.

We used to go there quite often when I was younger and it is really strange how people have changed as there was never any damage done to the cave, no cans or paper left, and certainly no graffiti.  I have a hard time understanding what people get out of destroying things.

I still go by there fairly often, but have not been to the cave, being a railfan I am usually photographing trains in the area.  The tunnel and the nearby bridge make good train watching spots.

#17 Evan

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:14 PM

Well, I finally went today with three other friends. We pretty much explored every inch of the place, and even went through a tunnel on our hands and knees for several hundred feet. At the end that you could stand up again, and it was evidently where a creek flows into the cave, and it must get high from time to time, because you could see the debris level quite high. It was insane to have to crawl there, and then when you stood up we fell down a SLIPPERY mud wall. It took at least 20 minutes to get back up that wall because it was so muddy.

It was a blast. We did most of our climbing and the like just with hands, and we did it with just flashlights. There are several ropes throughout the cave that look less than safe, but we used them all after testing them. One rope that goes up into the top of the cave way off the beaten path was nothing more than a rope that was "caught" on a rock. When coming back down the dadgum thing fell off in my hands, and I had to get creative to reattach it.

Bangor cave is trashed sadly. There are formations if you go through hidden areas or climb, but the rest of the cave has been destroyed. Graffitti abounds, as does trash, debris, candles and wax, condom wrappers, glass, etc. You've got to be very careful, or you can get cut. We are all adult males, so it wasn't much of a problem if you paid attention.

We also went to an old condemned bridge past Bangor on the way to Garden City. We took photographs from the bridge, and then went down to the river. Am I correct in assuming that is the Warrior?

We spent about an hour at the bridge, and about two hours in the cave. We went through it twice, and each time took a different way as well as going into "hidden" areas as well.

I plan to do more of this on a regular basis, as we all thought it was some of the most fun we've had in a long time.
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#18 Evan

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:35 PM

Photos! Boy, I'm sore right now. Gonna creak in the morning.

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#19 SWL

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 12:13 AM

Nice pictures.  icon_smile.gif

All that trash...  icon_sad.gif
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#20 Ray

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 12:52 AM

Sounds like you had a good trip Evan.  I was distressed to see just how bad the place has been trashed since I was last there, which was several years ago.  It is impossible for me to understand why someone wants to treat the environment like that, many people these days just do not have any respect for nature.

I enjoyed the pictures, and that is indeed the Mulberry Fork of the Warrior River.  If you go south just a few miles of there you would also see the Locust Fork of the Warrior.  The old bridge in your pictures was the old 31 Highway bridge and I crossed it many times as a child with my family on the way to Cullman.  I have also ridden a train across that railroad bridge in your pictures many times.  The place really brings back some memories for me, we used to visit there quite often back in my youth about a hundred years ago.  The cave, as you know, was a commercial venture at one time and has had everything from gambling to moonshiners in it, but was never trashed like that.

You really take some excellent pictures, what kind of camera do you use?  Did you see the railroad tunnel that is nearby the cave?

#21 Evan

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:12 AM

Ray, it has REALLY degraded since the last time I'd been there (about a decade ago). The amount of trash both old and new was very sickening, and those pictures don't even show the half of it. Apparently it is being used as a party place for kids and the like.

It is actually fairly dangerous in some areas because the broken glass is not good if you are on your hands and knees. I don't even know what it would take to clean the place up. Obviously it would take a massive volunteer effort and a ton of time to get up all the trash. I fear the graffiti would be fairly impossible to remove without great expense.

As for the photos -- I actually didn't take any of those. I left my camera in my car, and I had it at the dealership for its first service. My Friend, Lynn, took those photos. He used a Kodak Easyshare DX 6340. It is actually fairly inexpensive, and I agree it takes great photos. I personally use a Canon Powershot SD 400. I'm waiting for another set of photos that our other friend took. He's a total photography buff, so he's got an extremely nice film camera with a large flash. He has them converted to digital photos, but he's got to use up the rest of his roll.

I didn't see the railroad tunnel. Where is it in relation to the cave? Yeah, we stumbled on that bridge accidentally. Even with all the directions you guys posted, we neglected to print them out, so we got lost for a little bit and found the bridge. It is actually a very beautiful view, and we went underneath it and around it to look at the water.

I just can't believe how peaceful and quite it was up there. We are planning to find some more caves and go camping in the near future as well. I really haven't done much outdoor stuff in about 2-3, but I think that's gonna change!

Didn't mean to ramble on, but I had such a great time. I'd honestly rate it as one of the Top 10 most fun events in my life. When you mix great friends with a fun event you haven't done in ages  -- it just becomes awesome.
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#22 Evan

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:14 AM

QUOTE(SWL)
Nice pictures.  icon_smile.gif

All that trash...  icon_sad.gif


I don't understand it either. We took nothing in that could be left, and wouldn't have left anything anyway. There's honestly no use in even trying to pick up the trash, because the volume of it is insane. It is EVERYWHERE.

Very sickening to see the place destroyed like that, but in a weird way it gives it a little charm and character.
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.

Herman Melville
US novelist & sailor (1819 - 1891)

#23 BlountWolf

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 02:23 PM

So glad to hear you had so much fun, Evan. It's a bittersweet kind of fun in Bangor because of all the trash, but there are thousands of caves in Alabama that aren't known.

If you ever want to get together with a group that does that all the time, in caves that aren't known to the general public, aren't trashed, and are treated with respect, check out the Birmingham Grotto of the NSS.

http://www.bhamgrotto.org/4.0bham_home.htm

It's a great bunch of people. There's a cave called Cedar Grove River cave that is just down the road from Bangor that is a quite fun cave.  Best to do that one in the summer though... you get quite wet. Caving is a tremendous amount of fun and a great workout. There's a few annual gatherings around the southeast that draw hundreds of cavers, including TAG Fall Cave-in and SERA Cave Carnival.

http://www.tagcaving.com/pics/20051008tag/
http://www.caves.org/region/sera/CaveCarn.htm

#24 Evan

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 02:32 PM

Thanks. The problem I'm having is that you can't find directions or addresses to any of the places these people go!
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#25 BlountWolf

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 02:49 PM

QUOTE(Evan)
Thanks. The problem I'm having is that you can't find directions or addresses to any of the places these people go!


You saw Bangor, didn't you? That's the reason you don't see directions or addresses.

#26 DmFitz

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 04:18 PM

Hi Blount wolf

I usually just lurk and rarely post but this topic peeked my interest. I attended TAG this year for this first and went to Cedar Ridge and Whiteside my first caving experience. I am hooked my boyfriend has done it for a while and is a member of the NSS and his mom a member of the Bham Grotto. We attended the Halloween party as well this year and are going on the trip to Tumbling Rock in January, just curious if you were going it would be interesting to meet another caver who also has an interest in weather. I love weather and am really beginning to enjoy caving.

Thanks
Donna




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