May 11, 2020

Tour Report: Heaven's Cave

In early March of 2018, my wife and I took a spontaneous trip to the mountains. We'd both had a few really exhausting months at our respective workplaces, and although our trip to Chernobyl was only three weeks away, we decided that we both needed a break.
My wife had to work on Saturday, so we took Monday and Tuesday off work and left Sunday morning.
For the first day, we had only planned to visit one location - but this was to be an exciting one.
We had never explored a "real" cave before, and this one seemed to be a good one to start, because it is fairly safe and there was no need for fancy equipment - it was good that we brought our rubber boots, though...
The cave is not "public" and is located on active property of the German railroad - namely a tunnel.
The cave was discovered when the tunnel was built through the mountain. And because of the tunnel, water that enters the cave, has to be drained so it can't damage the tunnel. To do that, drainage tunnels were dug into the mountain. And one of those tunnels was going to be our access route.
But let's start from the beginning.
There was no inconspicuous parking possibility near the cave, so we parked on a regular parking spot for hikers. Conveniently enough, a hiking path leads pretty close to the cave entrance.
Unfortunately, the hike does take some time, especially when you're carrying a bunch of equipment - after all, it was a cave, so we brought all the light we had. In addition, the sun really had a good day. Temperatures almost hit 20°C; something that usually doesn't happen in the mountains around the 10th of March.
Well, I'm not complaining. As we reached the spot where we had to leave the regular path, there was one more "obstacle" in our way - the active railway track that leads through the tunnel that goes through the cave. During the hike, we could observe the rhythm of the trains going by and wait for the opportune moment to walk along the tracks, cross them and look for the shaft that goes down to the drainage tunnels.
From the maps that I'd studied during my research, I knew that the shaft was about ten meters deep, but it was pitch black and narrow, so once you were in, you really couldn't see anything. As I had made it down the old rusty step ladder, I directed my wife down. When we had both arrived at the bottom, we started walking along the tunnel. It was dry art first, but after a while, it became too wet, so we switched shoes and put on our rubber boots. That first part of the tunnel was big enough for us to stand up, but as soon as we reached the real drainage tunnel, there was only a concrete walkway to walk on with the water flowing underneath, so from that point on, we had to go crouched and at the same time watch out not to step off the narrow walkway.

After a while, we reached the intersection that was going to lead us to the cave. At the end of that next tunnel, there were a couple of stairs that had been cut into the stone. Up the stairs, and the light of our flashlights disappeared into the darkness of the cave.
Since this cave has no natural accesses, there are no animals inside, and it was completely silent. It is a karst cave, and the rugged walls disperse every sound so everything sounds strangely muffled.
The cave was relatively small, but still seemed enormous to us, who had never been alone in a dark cave that was not a tourist attraction. We took our time and climbed around a bit in the cave and took a few photos - but the cave wasn't really photogenic. There were no stalagmites or stalactites only rubble from the cave's walls. And you could see the form of the tunnel underneath this rubble.
After about 45 minutes inside the cave, we decided to call it a day. After all - there was still the way back to the car and the drive to the bed & breakfast that we'd rented a room in for the weekend. Additionally, we had planned to visit our friend Jens at the old sanatorium for a barbecue that night, so we also had planned to go shopping for some groceries.

Since we already took the tough way in, we took the easy way out. We waited for the break between two trains going through the tunnel, and walked from the cave through the door right into the tunnel.
Yes, there was a door. It was put there by the railroad company for maintenance purposes, and we knew from the beginning that it was there.
But we thought that the adventure would be better if we took the long way in - and we were right! It really was a little adventure climbing down a shaft, walking through tunnels into a mountain and exploring a cave.

To find out about the history of this place and to check out more galleries from abandoned places, click the button below.

You can check out the short video I made of our exploration here:


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