I had a blast on my first real caving adventure. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was just what I was looking to do. I have been in caves before, but this was the first time I had the freedom to go where I wanted and had the potential to go into uncharted territory. The small cave entrances were a bit of a surprise to me. I didn’t really mind, but I was glad to get past them. Once we got into the cave, I couldn’t wait to continue exploring. Our original goal was to take some climbing gear and a scaling pole somewhat far into the cave to get up onto a ledge. We had no idea what was beyond the ledge, but that is the nature of exploring new territory! It’s possible it would dead end right away, or it could have been a whole new cave to discover. We decided to use the pole at another location near the cave’s entrance to climb up a wall. The pole ended up failing when Mark climbed up it about 15 feet. We had to abandon our original plan so David, Brian, and myself just explored the more accessible parts of the cave. Many of the rock formations were absolutely beautiful. Since this cave has only been explored by only a handful of people, the rock formations were in great shape. We also got some amazing pictures that I did not expect to get due to lighting. I decided not to bring a camera so I could just focus on the experience. Brian luckily had a great low light camera and experience with using head lamps and flashlights to get some great shots. One of my favorite parts was going down into the drain at the bottom of a huge room. It wasn’t an extremely tight fit, but it was nothing like I’ve ever done before. Several vertical climbs surrounded by rock that appeared to dead end just a few feet ahead. This eventually lead to a hallway that brought you to a huge room with a big vertical drop known as the pit. This is where we had to turn back because we didn’t have gear. I would definitely consider returning to this cave to go beyond this point.
On day two we went to Radon cave. I thought Snocone had some tight squeezes, but the entrance to this cave was about as tight as could be. It was about four feet wide, and the height was such that you had to crawl on your belly and couldn’t even take a deep breath at one point. What made this cave fun for me was that none of us had been very far into the cave so we didn’t know what to expect. I also got to learn a little bit about how to survey a cave. This cave clearly had been explored by “many” cavers over the years. I got to explore the cave a little bit by myself while the others were preparing to survey. I climbed down a wall and found a hole that we would eventually explore. The hole was about an eight foot drop so I had to wait for Dave to setup something for us to climb up and down. The anticipation to see where this would lead was very exciting. It didn’t go as far as I had hoped, but it was a good amount of space to survey in one day. I’m really lucky that Dave, Mark, and Carlin were willing to take a chance by bringing me on this trip without knowing my caving ability. Another caving trip is definitely in my future. This trip was just what I was looking for!