C.A.R.T.’s First Mission!
Jan. 11, 1997
Nine A.M. behind Burruss the crew gathered in the cold to begin an adventurous day of caving. Once again a lot of waiting around occurred and finally at ten o’clock the automobiles were on the road. There were three cars driven by Rich, Mary Beth, and Mandy. They drove very well over the hazardous conditions of ice and snow. After the usual stops at the bank, gas station, and McDonald’s, we finally got to Breathing. Everyone (Ed, John, John, Jody, Kathy, Mary Beth, Rich, Nick, Brett, Mandy, Lissell (Spelling ?), Dave, and Rio) got bundled up and started the death march that lasted for an hour. The hike was all up hill. The ground was a think blanket of snow and ice. The streams that we were suppose to cross were frozen over and the wind chill was 11 below zero.
The long line of cavers braving the elements was reminiscent of the trail of tears. Rio, the amazing wonder dog, was very excited about all the possible sticks in the woods to chase. Ed preceded to throw snowballs into the air and Rio would chase them into the snow was got very confused. When the group got to the beginning of the steep incline to the road, John took off in a blaze of speed. Nick was on his tail and Ed behind him. Ed dove at Nick’s feet in an attempt to sabotage the race, but Nick was to fast. Then Nick took a swipe at John, but to no avail. At the top, cheers of winded cavers resonated over the mountains. Finally everyone reached the cave and entered into the abyss. Getting our eyes adjusted to the dark was a challenge from walking over the bright snow, it was like we were Han Solo coming out of the Carbonate. With our eyes adjusted, we wondered deep into the cave. At the first difficult section, we realized that it was going to be slow going. Rio was not the wonder dog that he at first appeared to be. Several times we had to pick him up and take him down inclines. One time after descending him about 8 feet, he found a small hole and shot back up to the ledge. The caving started getting better all the time.
Nick and Dave took the lead and started to make their way to the nut cracker. Suddenly, BANG CRASH KABOOM (that’s onomatopoeia for you English majors). “Everyone shut up!” Ed and Rich yelled. “What happened?” Dave and Nick responded “We just dropped the cave pack.” We all thought that someone fell. Few, we thought the C.A.R.T. (Cave Action Rescue Team) would have to kick into action without proper training. So cave on we went. A little while later. John and Brett were sitting on a ledge with Rio when Brett says “I think Rich just farted.” “Only if he farts Carbide,” John retorted. The smell of carbide was increasing with each passing moment. “No one light a match” Rich yelled. All of a sudden Ed came running up to John with the pack. “John follow me out of the cave” Ed said as he ran passed John.
It turns out that the pack that was dropped contained about a pound and a half of Carbide and a bottle of water and both broke open and were reacting. For all of you that are chemistry majors, when carbide and water mix a chemical reaction occurs which produces a gas that when energy is applied, a gas, Acetylene and a solid Calcium Oxide is produced. It can be represented in the equation CaC2 (S)+ H2O(Aq) –> C2H2(G)+ CaO(S) Acetylene is a flammable gas. So after going into a cave for about two hours, John and Ed made it out in six minutes. C.A.R.T. had their first mission, and completely it successfully. Ed and John met back up with the rest of the cavers and caved back again. Everyone changed for the long walk home and then to the cars. But no cave trip can every be over with out some sort of dining experience. The hall called D was calling our names and we listened with both ears. Yummy D-Hall food and then a chillin’ night over at Ed’s brought the exciting day to a close.