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Woodall Shoals, Chattooga River,SC  Trip# 3

"Do I have what it takes?"

In my attempts to discover what it is within me that draws a man to the wilderness, I cannot shake the question that plagues the majority of men:

“Do I have what it takes?”

I wanted to camp on my own.  To go out and just be a man.  Sounds simple, right?  Sounds like nothing special maybe.  But to me, here I am 30 years old, successful in many ways, and I’ve never really spent a night out in the wild, alone.

The question plagued me:

“Do I have what it takes?”  I needed to know.

Blood Mountain (Appalachian Trail, GA)

"A Reward At The Top"

Sometimes in order to understand certain things, it helps to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.  That’s why this particular write up I’m going to reference a blog written by my good buddy Michael Wright, whom I joined on this adventure.  Perhaps knowing and understanding others and their journey is a key ingredient to the big lasagna of life.
So, cuddle up for a couple of minutes and join my friend Michael.  Dive into an experience of a man finding himself on a journey, not just up a mountain, but through a life.
-Rudy Vaughn

Blue Water Rock Quarry

Any rock quarry is not a dive spot intended for the beginning diver or the claustrophobic.   I myself dived here only having one previous diving trip under my belt, which had taken place in the warm vibrant waters of the Caribbean Sea.  Needless to say, I felt like I was able to see 2 sides to scuba, early in my diving career.
As a Midwestern child, I didn’t grow up spending time in the oceans, or even lakes.  With my sweet mother’s help, my imagination was vivid with all of the terrible possibilities of the depths, and it never really painted the deep waters as something particularly attractive.  However, diving in the warm blue Caribbean, as my first scuba adventure, I found myself able to experience a particular awe in God’s creation and majesty of the deep water with all of its complexity, color and life.

Camp's Gulf Cave

This is the chronicle of the cave spelunking adventure that I had the delight of participating in the weekend of 11-10-07.  My friend Shane Lewis, who is notorious for getting me into all manner of spatial dilemmas, invited me to go caving with him and some guys in Spencer, TN.  I had been badly in need of some adventure in my life, having been heavily sedated with too much routine and relative comfort in my life.  Yes, my senses had become dulled by the monotony of daily life here in the land of the living.  I had longed for some time for something to open me up and refresh my outlook on life.  It’s funny how the prospect of death can have that effect, is it not?

Halliburton Wreck

The Halliburton Wreck sits just off the North coast of Honduras off the island of Utila, in about 100 feet of water.  A fun wreck dive, sitting at 100 feet in water with 60+ feet of visibility, it is sure to be a fun day of wreck diving.

Woodall Shoals,Chattooga River, SC Trip #1

"Looking Back at 2004 –A Rookie’s Perspective"


The first time I went to Woodall Shoals to camp was in 2004.  I was with my best friend Sam, joined by our girlfriends at the time.  We entered our little campsite complete with lawn chairs and coolers full of drinks, delicious beef patties wrapped in tin foil to make our evening burgers.   Our intentions were more about having a good time, spending time with our girls, and retreating from the daily grind of being self-employed musicians, than any kind of “big-nuts adventure.”

Looking back, I recall the amount of stuff that we brought with us.  Our campsite, which rested on the white water banks of the Chattooga River, was a mere 1/3 of a mile from our car, but it felt like more.  I remember how I had to borrow a tent from a friend, a huge one.  I can picture myself now, dragging my 8-person ‘Thunder Dome of a tent’ across the gravel, which was stuffed in a big trash bag like a dead carcass.

Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal is quite a strange type of location, while it is somewhat "touristy", at the same time, it really does take some effort to get there and is deep in the second largest rainforest in the world, the Peten jungle.  This place is just too spectacular to pass up.

Volcan de Agua, Guatemala (Water Volcano)

Located in Central Guatemala, the Volcan de Agua is a stratovolcano that is in the top twenty highest mountains in Central America.

South Pittsburgh Pit (Sinkhole)

South Pittsburgh Pit, aka, Sinkhole, is a remarkable vertical cave near S. Pittsburgh, TN that is now on the TAG closed list, but is an amazing experience to behold.  Comprising one large opening at the top and a stream pouring into the opening, and a natural bridge that crosses the 155' drop to the bottom, this is a pit that can't be missed.

Conley Hole

Conley Hole, sometimes called Viola Pit is one of the most outstanding examples of a classic pit in TN.  It opens at about 50' from the crown of the mountain, and is a bit difficult to find.  Upon arriving at the pit, there is a rock rim, some 10-15 feet thick , and after which the walls fall away.  This makes for quite a stunning rappel as you enter an underground dome as you rappel through the ceiling.  The drop is exhilarating and there is quite a large amount of flowstone decorations on the inside.  This is one of the more exciting pits I've done.


The bottom contains a high Talus cone, and the base of the cave is 200 feet in diameter.  There are no horizontal leads at the bottom.  A number of years ago (1910?), a platform was constructed across the mouth of the pit and visitors were lowered to the bottom on ropes.  A descent into the Conley Hole was said to be a popular Sunday afternoon pastime.  The platform has long since rotted and the visitors to the Conley Hole must now use their own means.


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