For fun and adventure down under, consider cave exploring WEST COLUMBIA


March 31, 1993|By LARRY STURGILL

Exploring caves is not everyone's idea of fun. Most people probably wouldn't even consider the idea. But, for a dozen hearty county residents, it was a challenge they elected to face.

I accompanied this group, which spent most of last Saturday in a cave near Shepherdstown, W.Va. We were there to taste the adventure and enjoy the stark beauty offered in the dark, underground world.

The trip, sponsored by the county Department of Parks and Recreation, was headed by experienced cave explorers Tom Hinds and Dave Sherman. They led mostly novice spelunkers, including high school students Bonnie Hoffman of Mount Hebron High School and Jason Sturgill of Wilde Lake High. Also along were Tom Ameel of Columbia, Danny Bowers of Ellicott City and Laurel resident Steve Karasik.

The West Virginia cave was relatively easy by caving standards. Still, it offered everything most people think of when they envision a cave. Once we passed through the twilight zone near the entrance into the darkness, there were tight muddy crawlways, large cavernous passages only faintly illuminated by the dim, flickering light of our carbide headlamps and numerous beautiful formations. At the end of the cave was a deep, dark pit.

Many years ago I was active in the sport of caving, but job, children and a dozen other more pressing things pushed it out of my life. While on this trip, I realized how much I missed it.

Of course, on Sunday morning my aging, out-of-shape body was telling me something else entirely.

Like some of the others on this trip, the "caving bug" bit me (again), and I suspect a few of us will find ourselves crawling through some wet, muddy crawlway again in the near future, and enjoying every minute of it.

This cave exploration trip was one of several offered annually by the Parks and Recreation Department. For those interested in exploring the underworld, another caving trip is scheduled for May 23. Call 313-2762 for additional information.


Country music and line dancing go together like pancakes and syrup -- you just can't have one without the other.

Thanks in large part to the recent Billy Ray Cyrus hit "Achy Breaky Heart" and the popular dance it spawned, line dancing is suddenly all the rage. People who don't even like country music suddenly find themselves drawn onto a dance floor to try to learn line dancing in full view of hundreds of pairs of watchful eyes.

There is a ready solution to prevent this potentially embarrassing situation -- Slayton House, in Wilde Lake Village Center, is offering classes on country line dancing.

Country dance instructor Pat Davis will teach you the latest dance craze. Learn the Achy Breaky, the Boot Scootin' Boogie, the Sleazy Slide and many more in what is sure to be a fun class for everyone.

The four-week country line dance course begins April 6, and continues from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. The cost is $24 per person. Call 730-3987 to register.


Auditions were recently held to select talented elementary school students for an all-county band.

Congratulations are in order for four West Columbia students who have been selected to play in the 38-member 1993 Howard County Elementary Band.

They are: Mike Naylor, Atholton Elementary, clarinet; Jennifer Balachowski, Clements Crossing Elementary, clarinet; Amand Ransely, Clements Crossing Elementary, bass clarinet; and Chrissy Wallace, Longfellow Elementary, 2nd flute.

If you're looking for an enjoyable evening of music, the band is presenting a free concert at Wilde Lake High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday.


Congratulations also are in order for Veronika Harbick, a second-grade student at Running Brook Elementary. Veronika was the first-place winner in the National Children's Health Month Poster/Poetry Contest.

In addition to a $25 prize for herself, there was a $100 prize for the school to purchase books for the Media Center or to help cover expenses for student field trips.


Don't forget the the Wilde Lake Community Association Easter Egg Hunt from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday on the Village Green in Wilde Lake Center. Children from toddlers to 8 years old are welcome to participate.

Space is limited, and preregistration is required. The fee is $3 per child. The rain date is Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Call 730-3987 to register.

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