skeeter800 (skeeter800) wrote,

Caving Day 1

Today was incredible. We all stumbled up to the big house around 8 this morning and made omelets in bags and sat and ate and regrouped, and they finally decided upon a cave, and we set off around 10:15. It was a long drive, up into west Virginia, but once we got there, we toured the property that housed the oldest Methodist church this side of the Appalachians. We scouted out our cave, got gear on (suits, helmets, lights, gloves, knee pads) and set off. We crawled under the fence to get to the path, then we had to figure out which was the correct entrance to the cave. The one Kit and I went down into turned out to not be the way in, and getting back out of it was tricky, and for a little bit, I doubted whether or not I was going to be able to do this. We followed Randy down into the other entrance, and the first 6 feet were TIGHT. We had to wiggle and squirm and army crawl to get down through it, but once we did, it opened up a good bit, and we began our descent. The whole climb was up and down boulders and ledges and inclines, the cave was tall enough to stand in, but there were very few spots that were flat enough to stand on without holding onto something. I met bats for the first time up close, they’ve very cute and tiny when they sleep, and none of them bothered us in the least. I can tell how easy it would be to get lost in there, even with the markings that someone had left before us, without friends that were pretty confident about it and a rope leading us out the last 50 feet, I’m not sure how that would have gone. We saw beautiful formations, lots of bats and crayfish and cave spiders, and did some tough climbing. I was afraid that my knees wouldn’t handle coming out, but this climb was blessed with lots of good hand holds, so it seemed that whenever one part of me failed, another compensated well, and my climb was really pretty smooth. Our group did a good job at communicating and keeping close to each other. Nick ventured off on his own, but I stayed close to keep sight of him, and then when I was done and ready to rest, Kit stayed with me while the boys went on together. Anyways, when it was time to get out, most of it went okay going up, but those last 6 feet, man, I didn’t think I’d ever get out of there. I twisted and turned, and there was one spot that was almost vertical, I was on my belly on this muddy incline, and there were no footholds below me, and not enough space under me to get my knees, much less my feet under me, and I couldn’t go anywhere. Eventually I wiggled my way up, got a leg torqued up beside me, and gave a mighty push and got free of it, but those last 6 feet getting out was killer. I told Kit once I was out that at one point I thought to myself ‘I can’t do this’ shortly followed by ‘I don’t suppose I have much of a choice tho do I?’ One reason I think I like this sport, there’s no turning back. Do or do not, there is no try. Lol. I feel like I’m in okay physical shape after all, I mean their driveway still leaves me huffing and puffing, but climbing didn’t phase me at all, I was fine. Even Nick said he was sore, but climbing all came back to me. After getting out, we stripped down to our lower layers, ate a sandwich and lounged in the sun, and then got back on the road. I had a raging headache after we got back that lasted a couple hours, I ended up asleep on the couch in the big house while they prepped dinner, and finally someone woke me and I managed to eat and drink and be upright for a while, but after dinner I excused myself, and now I’m back in the loft in the little house, getting ready to crash completely. We’re supposed to be up and out of here by 9am tomorrow to go climb through Tawney’s. Sounds like fun, hope I’m feeling better before then. Goodnight
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