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Crystal Cave is a fun little maze on the Consumnes River near the town of Jackson in the Mother Lode of Northern California. The trip was a day trip of the South Bay grotto and the Diablo grotto of whatever the central umbrella caving organization is (one of these days I'll learn these niceties; for the moment I'm along for the ride).
We met up in the town of Fairplay, a little crossroads in a hilly wine growing region, and we drove to the banks of the Consumnes, disgorged in mass from our cars, and forded the river for the short scramble up to the cave. The cave is a local hangout and tends to collect beer cans and other party loot (we took in plastic bags and came out with, among other things, a pair of leopard skin underwear and a plastic contain of piss - at least some party group thought to control their effluent). It has the remnants of crystal structures but has been vandalized quite a bit, and Way Out has been written on the walls in strategic places, which, frankly, is helpful to first timers in the cave. Not that I'd suggest all caves be marked in this way, but as it was there, it was encouraging to see here and there.
There's not much to say about the cave. It was an interesting cave for its multiple layers of crawlways and it's little ponds. But there were 14 of us there, so the place was (literally) crawling with lights and bodies. It was fun for a few hours, and it will be a great place to take the kids if we get the chance (it's not far out of the way of Bear Valley Ski Resort). It wasn't particularly an adventure, but, as I say about many of the things I do in my spare time, it beat watching TV.
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