My name is Mike, and I'm from the Nashville area. The sports/activities I pursue include arborist climbing, rock climbing, caving, camping, rappelling, and kayaking.
I got into it a few years ago in school. We were covering geography & geology and we were talking about caves, ravines, and erosion in general, and that sparked an interest in me. It's just awesome to see what thousands of years of water can do to something so strong like limestone. It's actually pretty cool how it works, rainfall falls and seeps into the ground, the water collects minerals like magnesium, and carbon dioxide, once the water seeps into the ground far enough, it eventually stops at a point where there are things like rock, which it cannot pass through, and therefore, the water over thousands, and thousands of years eventually erodes the rock in a constant pattern, creating a tunnel. And once it rains more and more, the rain flows through the tunnel with microscopic deposits of limestone, these collect on the ceiling, and in time, drip to the floor, creating formations like stalagmites and stalactites.
I do have to admit, I am slightly claustrophobic (ironic) but I think everyone has that sort of fear of being buried alive. Especially when you have to squeeze through a super low passage like (5-10").
I think the main reason why I like exploring caves, and mine shafts is because it's honestly like going to a different planet, literally. But, it's definitely worth going through the stress and fear because it's definitely a feeling of accomplishment if you're scared of tight or confined spaces. Tennessee is an awesome place when it comes to caves, we have more than 4,000 registered caves.