Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Mines of Moria

Deep at the root of the mountains, there exist a vast system of caverns and crevasses, carved over thousands upon of thousands of years by raging rivers and slowly dripping water. And they call it a cave, A CAVE. This weekend, 12 of us CAP volunteers from all 5 houses went to the Carter caves to go "caving"...which is really a fancy word for exploring, getting lost, crawling around, getting dirty and seeing if we could make it back to the car again with at least most of our group. Apparently, caving is different from spelunking too (the way it was explained to me by Anna our fearless leader and guide was that cavers rescue spelunkers....so take that as you will).
We camped out on Friday night under the wide starry Kentucky sky, after a joyful rendezvous with our Johnson and McGoffin house comrades. Jesse kept farting all night which kept Calista up...can you believe him, what a scoundrel...honestly Jesse. Saturday morning, we geared up, with helmets, head lamps, gloves, and knee pads and made our way for the nearest hole to crawl into. For many of us, it was our first time caving so we didn't quite know how we would react, psychologically, to the experience of being belly down in the mud with only a foot and a half clearing to crawl through for 10 minutes (including myself). But, Anna broke us in gracefully. Our first cave was mostly an upright walk through a wide scar in the belly of the mountain. The ceiling of the cave glittered as thousands of water droplets condensing, reflected the golden light of the headlamps. (In my nerdy voice I proclaimed, "the wealth of the Dwarves was not in gold, nor jewels...but mithril!)...a couple people caught the reference, the rest just shook their heads. ANYWHO, at a couple areas, you had to choose: clutch the wall or walk through the shin high freezing water. I packed my excellent puma shoes which were PERFECT for getting traction on the walls of the cave........after I got my feet wet, I spent my time at the water junctions carrying David Frank over the pools.
Then came our first real test: a one and a half foot tall corridor by 4 feet wide for 10 whole minutes. Some of us, including myself tackled the expanse head on...literally. Anna was our leader and David was right in front of me. And, let me explain something to you; in caving, when you are crawling behind someone with a bit of a flatulence issue, the situation becomes inescapable. It's all part of the caving experience, and let me tell you, there are things much fouler than Orcs in the deep places of the world.
Honestly though, like most hard things in life, the hard crawls were the most rewarding because when you emerged from the small crack in the mountain, you were dropped in the middle of a valley mostly untouched by humans. Full of fully grown trees just beginning to drop their yellow and browning leaves, large rock formations, dried river beds, and singing birds.
After we dove into the next cave, we experienced what I thought to be the coolest part of the trip. The group all turned off all of our lights and just sat in the cave silently for about 5 minutes. The darkness was complete and the silence stifling. All you could hear, other than the occasional breaking of wind, was droplets of cave water and bats squeaking in the distant hollows, hopefully far from where you are sitting.
The most adventurous part of the trip was when we had to climb a good 15 feet up to another cave on what was basically a Kentucky ghetto rigged ladder made of 2 long logs and some rope. All of the guys on the trip would like to extend our sincerest apologies to our future wives, because we are now unable to have children after our uncomfortable trip down the "ladder". Kudos also go to Jesse who helped an entire family of 3 down the ladder, which awed the ladies and made the guys wince...in admiration.
Well, I must be off to bed before I add any more Lord of the Rings references or references to farting. Tomorrow we get to unload an entire tractor trailer of donated windows. Which should be only about half as bad as not making it out of the caves.

Cheers my dear mates,

quote of the day, "I know half of you half as well as I should like. And I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve"...one more.
-or-
Anna P. "Andy, you look like a homeless mountain man, crawling out of that hole with that beard."

4 comments:

John said...

First comment!!

Anyways, I am skeptical of this Jesse person having problems "breaking wind". By Jesse...do you mean Andrew Wegrzyn? What is this whorishness?

Amanda said...

if people in Kentucky have started calling you homeless I think we have a problem...trim it!! please! btw, I totally got the lotr quote, aren't you proud!?

a.e. nee said...

oh man, i wish that i had gone on this adventure! it is just what i've been wanting, aside from the flatulence issues which you seem to have such fascination with.

phampants said...

haha...i miss your reference andy!