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Adventures Under the Earth

September 3, 2013

The first part of our trip we car-camped, we hiked & we caved.   The photo below is a picture of me taken by my dad.  The rest are mine.Image  Note the classic cave entrance belowImageI challenged myself physically & emotionally during this part of the trip.  We camped near some other nature enthusiasts; some close to my age.  I pushed myself to be less shy & ended up having a lot of interesting conversations & making some good friends.  Note a picture of our luxurious car camp below.

ImageOn one expedition, we ended up going with a few other people.  I was nervous because some of them were very close to my age and I didn’t know them.    We arrived at the entrance of the cave.  I watched as the others one by one, silently assessed the entrance then nimbly and expertly shimmied themselves down into the darkness.  I tried to pump myself up.  When my turn came I looked down.  The hole seemed to swirl in front of me like an abyss into the depths of Hade’s Underworld.  Due to my short legs, I realized the first step would be a leap of faith over a 12-15 foot drop to a flat rock that was a little bit lower than my perch at the entrance.  I could do it easily but there would be a millisecond where I was not connected to anything above that great hole.

“I think this cave is beyond my abilities,” I said.  “I’ll just wait here at the entrance.”  I then considered the possibility of hanging out alone for hours & the possibility of seeing bears.  Its not good when I start considering my options as both very dangerous.  I felt my heart rate go up even more.

“Its a waste of time to hike out here and not go in the cave,” said one of my new friends.

I took a deep breath & I made the jump!

 Climbing down definitely tested my abilities as a climber.  After the original leap to the next lowest rock, it was sort of a swirl downwards.  One of the men we were with was very nice and let me use his shoulders as a step to get further down.

Below is a shot of the entrance, taken after I climbed down.  I didn’t get a shot looking in.

ImageOnce in the cave, I felt legs tremble from the leftover fear from the climb in.    I decided, if I push myself to whatever limit I am able then its easier to do daily life.

Note the passage break-down in the picture below. We traversed through many like this.

Image

Scrambling over the fallen rocks is an awesome workout.  They are loose so it uses a lot of core muscles & balancing work to not fall. Every yoga class I skipped and every run & hike I slacked off on were felt during that mad scramble in the passage way.  But there were  beautiful things to make up for it.  Note the drip holes in the lava rock below.ImageI loved the variety of colors.ImageNote below: A fallen slab of stalactiteImage

The evenings were magical.  We ate together & talked and laughed.  We also solved puzzles and went to educational presentations about caves & cave preservation.  I think there is some correlation with being out in the wilderness & people treating each other nicer.  I appreciate civilization for the showers & the internet.  But… it has been a culture shock just seeing with fresh eyes how unkind & impatient we can get towards each other.  I’ve also noticed how rushed everyone is.

Have you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone recently?  Have you had chances to be patient or kind with others.

Today, I went to a very excruciating but much-needed Yoga class.  Then tomorrow the backpacking portion of our adventure starts.  I won’t be doing regularly scheduled posts this week.  But sometime in the near future, I will be back with stories and possibly even pictures from my further adventures.

Moisture in cave appears as water droplets around two cavers.

Cave moisture appears in photo as water droplets

© beckyofmoonlitoaks 2013

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From → Hiking, Monsters, Travel

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