By John Dunham
Recently the Berkshire Area Diggers’ Association (B.A.D.Ass.) connected Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Cave with an adjacent shorter cave (both new discoveries in the past decade) to form the Mr. Toad Cave System—now the longest cave in Vermont with over a kilometer of mapped passage. The Mr. Toad Cave System is a multi-level stream cave in marble, with numerous domes, waterfalls, crawlways, climbs, and pits. The known cave is over 200 feet deep with the cave spring a further 800 feet lower. In 2017, a fall and rescue in this cave led to limited access, but the owners have this year allowed us to resume exploration and complete the connection. Multiple leads remain with digging or climbing work at multiple levels and in three different downstream passages. The cave complexity arises because most major passages are formed along fault-related joints in the marble, while minor passages cross between joints following old phreatic tubes on less soluble beds. Normal faults are visible in multiple locations, most notably in the 80‑foot-high Window Dome on the cave’s southwest edge. Pre-glacial development, notable for the area, is visible in the 120‑foot-high Funhouse Pit Room, which is the highest recorded ceiling in a Vermont cave. These features, along with strong airflow from three downstream passages and the depth of the cave spring, lead us to believe that much more passage is waiting to be found.