There’s this weird secret society around caving and I’m technically not part of it (yet.) Like joining a cult, you must pay your dues, keep all sorts of secrets, and wait to be shown the treasures of your patience. And then? You must tell no one details. No names, no faces, no beliefs! It’s all a little silly if you ask me. But, it’s not up to me. So, I’ll just call this cave “sprinkles.”
Sprinkles started out around 5pm, just as the sun was setting. We drove out into the desert and quickly decided that none of us were quite prepared (ok, me most of all) for the extreme cold. On a side note, who on earth would want to live in the desert? It’s 135 degrees in the summer and -47 in the winter. Yuck.
We got out of the car and geared up in the quickly fading twilight. It was to be a short hike, which was the saving grace of the cold and dark. Burning up some extra energy by dodging cacti with nothing but headlamps helped too. I’m convinced this could be a devious game, with the uncomfortable consequences of cactus spines in the ankle.
We got to the spot, and then came the single most horrifying act of my short existence. Dropping in to the cave. Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine on a rope and trust my harness with my life. It’s the whole “let’s jump into the black abyss” thing that gets my heart pumping. I read way too many fairy tales as a kid. Let’s face, I still read way too many fairy tales.
I’m not going to lie. I freaked out. I locked off about 50 feet down and hung there, breathing in – breathing out. I couldn’t see or hear anyone, there was nothing but me and the cave. When I finally started moving again, I was much better – although I still must have had it written all over my face, because when I got to the bottom my friend immediately gave me a giant hug.
Surprisingly, that was the end of my panic. Once I was down, I was nothing but amazed. I was underground!
I’ll leave out a lot of the details for sake of not giving away too many secrets and the hope that I will be able to go on many more of these trips. But I will say that the rest of the crawl/scrunch/scoot/climb/chimney/wriggle night was flipping fantastic.
When it was time to go back up, there was only one way to do it – the same way we came in. Which meant ascending for quite a while. Guys and gals – I have the newest full body workout trend here. Pulling, stepping, squatting, and pushing yourself up a rope and back into the freezing cold where you then travel as fast as you can by headlamp dodging cacti and listening to very angry sounding wild donkeys?!
Yep. It’s my cup of tea.