Two days in Mountain Cow Cave

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

Still alive! We spent Saturday and Sunday surveying in Mountain Cow Cave, located on the Hummingbird Highway in a national park. Quite amazingly beautiful. Gigantic rooms filled with big towers and formations everywhere. The size makes surveying and sketching the rooms challenging, as I am sometimes staning in plsces far from any walls. To sketch a cave passage it helps to be able to see the walls.

No pictures, for the moment, as it is hard to upload large files here.

We go to a different cave tomorrow (Monday) while on Tuesday we will take a day off to go sightseeing at the Tikal ruins in Guatamala.

One more thing: there is a chance I will still do my Tuesday appearance with John Batchelor. If we find the phone connection acceptable, I will go on live at 11 pm eastern. I will know for sure by tomorrow night.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
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c/o Robert Zimmerman
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  • Phill O

    Sounds interesting! And Fun!

  • Wayne

    “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

    (We are trying to keep the Dog off the lawn, in your absence!)

  • Wayne

    Just reread the “Trapped inside a Cave for 10 hours” post by Mr. Z., recounting his 1996 adventure in New York.
    YOW-ZA! >highly recommend<

    The extent of my "caving-activities" consists of camping at Mammoth Cave National Park for a week (very impressed!), touring 3 salt-mines in Michigan, (we have them) & the "coal-mine" tour they have in the basement of the Museum of Science & Industry, in Chicago.

  • wodun

    The size makes surveying and sketching the rooms challenging

    You can draw too? That’s triple threat status.

  • Phill O

    He not only draws but is a cartographer. Can hardly wait for his book on the Chiricahau Chrystal Cave.

  • wodun

    Hmm, interesting.

    Mr Zimmerman, maps are a hot commodity right now. You should considering selling some as stand alone products.

  • One does not sell cave maps. The resource is too fragile. The maps are available to serious scientists and cavers, but for the general public to obtain them requires extra effort that is not simple to accomplish. This is not intended to exclude but to protect the cave and the public, as a person could get hurt entering these caves if they don’t know what they are doing.

  • wodun

    The maps are available to serious scientists and cavers

    There is a market for wall hangers. People collect maps of places they don’t go.

    Its something to consider if you can find ways to deal with your concerns, like popular caves open to the public, Maybe just a spectacular chamber or small section could also have great appeal.

  • Steve Earle

    Great Link, thanks!


  • Wayne

    tangent–Mount St. Helens is one of THE most actively monitored volcanos in the world.

    Ref: Belize– I’d like to know Mr. Z’s impression of the Government of Belize. John McAfee is of the opinion it’s a Gangster State, but then again he’s been up to odd stuff the past 10 years or so….
    [McAfee is running in the Libertarian Party Primary this year.]

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