A Dark, But Exciting Adventure

caves

Spelunking is something I had never tried until last year, and it was such a crazy adventure.  In case anyone is unfamiliar with spelunking, it is known as the sport of cave exploring.  I have never tried spelunking before because I wasn’t really sure that it was something I was interested in trying.  I’m not extremely fond of tight spaces, darkness, or of bats.  However, when my best friend said he wanted someone to go on a spelunking expedition with him, I knew I had to go for him. 

The expedition was already arranged by my friend, and it was perfect timing.  We were there in mid-May and I learned that the bats that make their homes in the caves had vacated recently.  They stay in the caves during hibernation season and leave as the weather warms. 

We went to Laurel Caverns Park, which is in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania.  The drive to the caverns was peaceful as we passed through the green, rolling hills and valleys.  The mountains were bright and colorful with all the blooming flowers and shrubs.  The outlying areas of the caverns were quite a contrast to the cool, damp, darkness of the cave that we explored.

I was glad that we were with a tour group.  Since we had not ever been spelunking before, the guide taught us many techniques about safety in the caves.  We were given knee pads, elbow pads, a helmet, and gloves.  These all came in very handy when we got into a couple of tight spaces.  If we had not been equipped with all of this gear, I think I would have torn the skin on my head or my hands when we were squeezing through a couple of spots.  We were also tied together with a long rope, which made me feel more secure about not getting stuck somewhere or turned around in the darkness.  Thank goodness for the headlamp on my helmet.  It is amazing how dark it was in the cave.  At one point,

we all turned off our headlamps and flashlights, and I could not even see my own hand which was three inches from my face.

We ended up exploring the caverns for about an hour and a half.  It was about forty degrees in there, but I really sweated from the exertion of crawling and pulling myself through tight spaces, and from my nervousness.

I think the one thing that surprised me the most was the utter quietness and darkness inside the cave.  I don’t think I have ever been somewhere that felt so surreal and earthy.  It was a feeling that I think I’ll remember for my entire life.

JP