Gary Roberson, BA’69

Cave Man

At age 11, Gary Roberson crawled into a cave on his very first Boy Scout camping trip and fell in love. To this day he’s still enamored, especially when he sets foot in undiscovered territory. “Caving is one of the few things in the world that allows you to go to a place no human has ever been,” he says. “It’s the earth-bound equivalent of going to the moon.”

Amanda Parkhill

Roberson, a self-professed adventurer and author of 50 Years under the Sinkhole Plain (2009, 360 Digital Books), has experienced his share of caving, which isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. “You’re in cold water with mud all over you. You’re wet and slimy, and it’s a long trip to get back out.”

The co-owner and CEO of Marengo Cave National Landmark for 28 years, Roberson has completed development of three Indiana show caves: Squire Boone Caverns, Marengo Cave National Landmark, and Indiana Caverns—his most recent project, which opened to the public in the town of Corydon.

Indiana Caverns is part of the Binkley Cave system, Indiana’s largest and the 11th longest in the country, which Roberson began exploring in 1967 during his junior year at Vanderbilt. Complete with waterfalls and a boat ride on an underground river, Indiana Caverns is one of a kind. “I’m not aware of any other show cave in the country that’s been privately developed to this extent in 50 or 60 years,” he says.

—CHRISTINA VINSON