It was average. Damned average. The sort of average temperature that makes it difficult to find amusing superlatives to describe. It was 12:30 and the two of us were gathered at....wait, two of us? Where's everyone else? Right, late, as usual for MUSG. Anyways, we gathered and were off by 12:55, possibly a new record for swiftness for a cave trip. A quick stop at Sharid's for equipment soon disabused me of the notion of that. The participants were Steve, Chris, Will, Josh, Ashley, Phoebe, and myself. We made for the border like bandits and soon found ourselves at Trout. After a short vertical climb, and a numbing wait for the ladies to go to the opposite side of the mountain to take a very ladylike piss, we proceeded to walk directly up the side of the mountain. By the time we were easily at the altitude of the top of Mount Rainier by my reckoning, we found the picturesque entrance to Trout....easily locatable by the four random fence posts someone has placed there, ! for no apparent reason. A short safety discussion was held, and I am ashamed to say that not once was the subject of flying projectiles of mud discussed. This will have implications in the future.
We made our way through the cave, though we had to backtrack once or twice. I happened to know that even experienced cavers can become disoriented from time to time and need to re-find their way. Of course, I withheld that information for my own personal amusement, and was sure to pop up with a helpful "Ummm, are you lost?" once or twice. I do try to be of assistance when I can. We made our way to the sculpture room, where we turned out the lights to meditate around candles. Unfortunately, this peaceful, idyllic, mind altering experience was interrupted when someone started throwing mud. Obviously, since we had not covered this in the safety lecture, though covering such useful topics as hiding under your helmet, hoping against hope that it protects you from the avalanche, and not shining your lights on bats because it gives them a nasty migraine, no one had said that throwing mud at people is "not nice," or even the old adage that "it's all fun and games til someone get! s mud in their eye." It was a game of tactics between Steve and well, everyone else. Escalating from little tiny rolls of mud, to larger fistfulls, and then to full blown rock warfare, Steve went stealth, and disappeared in the darkness. They tried to entice him out with clever tricks like "hey Steve, where'd you go," but he would not respond, he was smarter than that. Finally, everything went silent for a long time, as people built up their arsenal and attempted to locate Steve. Suddenly, a noise! Followed by a "Was that a zipper?" Immediately panic struck, as we all realized that Steve was hidden, and quite possibly armed and dangerous! Cave snakes are frightening and not to be taken lightly. Fortunately, when the lights were finally turned on, Steve proved to be far, far away, in a corner. What he was doing over there, no one asked or wanted to know.
Now it was time to leave this wonderful maze of broken and sharp rock. Chris knew of a nice big room above the mud room, so we squeezed through a fascinating vertical crawl that involved getting horizontal at one point. We then attempted to make our way out, only to have Phoebe, Ashley and I left behind, as the others powered through the cave in their zeal to escape. Just after a small chasm, we noticed we couldn't see any lights anymore, nor hear voices. So we began trying passages to see if we recognized them, and then going back to our last known recognized point. Soon Steve came back to get us, I can only assume that they talked it over, and their plan to eliminate us via death by cave would not absolve them of blame, so I think they decided to wait for another opportunity. Steve kept trying to say "I looked back and saw lights, so I thought you were there." He never mentioned he couldn't count. I saw through his little plan immediately, and will be watching my bac! k from now on. We proceeded out of the cave, descended the approximate 10,000 feet of elevation to the road, and put on the road side caving peep show. One lucky car came upon us in the middle of the act. I can imagine this is great entertainment to the people of Franklin, come see the amazing stripping cavers! Far hotter then the girls in West Virginia, as evidenced by the obvious Prom Queen we then saw in Franklin. As the creme of the crop of WVa, imagine a size 10 girl squeezed into size 2 pants, and make-up with a cake froster. That's how I like MY girls!
Lured on by the siren song of Fat Boys Pork Palace, we pushed on through the West Virginia Desert. There we discussed such titillating topics as hunting squirrels with bird shot, Carolina, Kansas City, Texas, Memphis, and St. Louis barbecue, the 1.99 salad bar at Ruby Tuesday, and the phenomenal salsa at Jaliscos. Sadly, El Charro's is still far superior in every other way, but... Then we discovered that Fat Boy's has a caving register, so we left an appropriate memo, it being National Talk Like a Pirate Day and all -- Ahoy Maties! We've plundered Trout like a galleon loaded with Spanish doubloons, and such and so all. So I'd like to leave you with this bit of wisdom, gleaned from a billboard, somewhere in West Virginia.....Hugs, not slugs. Domestic Violence doesn't solve anything! Or, my amended version....Hugs! Then Slugs, then they won't see it coming!