Thursday, November 09, 2006


Thousands of peopled had driven by the cave and never knew it existed. We may have been the last ones to explore it.

The highway was being widened and a friend of a friend gave a co-worker a copy of a print that showed the location of the entrance to the cave. It would be forever closed by the construction and we wanted the adventure of seeing it before it was gone. Three of us met after work, parked near the area and nonchalantly walked along the road until we ducked over the bank and found the cave.

The opening was large but immediately split into two levels. A couple of old bottles and rusting cans piqued my interest and put my imagination into gear. Had they simply washed into the cave during a heavy rain or had someone stopped here to enjoy a drink in peace and solitude? No, it wasn’t the location, kind and size of cave that cried for a story about bank robbers hiding from a posse.

The lower level was small and soon narrowed to a dead end. The upper level was much longer. It was a fun little mental game to be crawling through the ever narrowing corridor and trying to guess our position relative to the highway above. Where we under the highway or had we crossed to the other side? Turning off our lights, we lay still and listened for traffic passing above but heard only the sounds of our breathing in the total darkness.

Finally, the cave was less than two feet high and had narrowed to the point that my shoulders were wedging against the side walls. We could go no further and had to back out to a point where we could turn around.

As we began backing up, I asked Danny, a young co-worker, if he had ever gotten concerned in a cave. He replied that he and three friends had snuck onto some property after dark one night without telling anyone where they were going. As they crawled into a large cave, they came to a narrow point and the third guy – the biggest guy – became wedged. He could neither go forward nor back up. The last person pulled and tugged but couldn’t free him. Fortunately, the second guy was small and flexible. He managed to turn around in the narrow passage. In this position, the second and fourth guy managed to free their friend.

It was a learning experience for me. Danny, the youngest, smallest and most flexible was first. I was the second guy and the tallest but not the largest around the waist. The heaviest guy was last. If he panicked, became wedged or died of a sudden heart attack, we were trapped.

The moral of the story for me was “The biggest guy always goes first and the smallest, healthiest, calmest guy goes last!”.

(Julie is having an MRI today for some neck pain. While scheduling the procedure, she was questioned about claustrophobia. As we drove to work this morning, we discussed the feeling of being closed in and this reminded me of this small adventure.)


Blogger Buffalo said...

In the Nam the little guy had the dubious honor of going first and last - into the tunnels.

Sending good thoughts Julie's way.

11/09/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

I am so utterly claustrophobic I can hardly even read about crawling into caves. Ugh. I like air and lots of it, and light, and frames of reference. I have often thought my dislike of tight spaces may have to do with being a twin and sharing a small space with someone for nine months!

Hope everything is okay with Julie and the mri is fine.

11/09/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I'd like to spelunk some day, but that might be one of the things that I miss this time around.

Hope Julie is okay.

11/09/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Lilly said...

The most interesting thought for me was your being the last people to enter that underground space before it was closed for construction. It makes me wonder what other wonders are hidden in the world around us.

11/10/2006 07:10:00 AM  

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