Sept. 27, 1997
by J.C. Windham
The trip started off uneventfully with the meeting of all of the cavers behind Burrus at the regular time. After the equipment was checked we left from Burrus around 10:45, and as Ed protested, we stopped at the ATM for funds, and then went on to Mr. J’s for some pre-cave nourishment. We were once again off to the cave by 11:30 and well on our way to having an awesome time. We made it to Ma’ Clark’s around 1:00 after a quick stop at a country gas station that also served as a food mart, ice cream stand, bait and tackle, sun-glass shop, racing souvenir store, and of all things, taxidermist. Kind of makes you wonder what’s in the chicken tenders? We signed in with Ma Clark who is doing well and was featured in a local newspaper recently. *(:# plaque #:)* We then proceeded to go up the parking area and, for some, get naked. Many of the first time cavers were amazed at the amount of wear and odor that some of the senior cavers’ (EDS) attire had.
We proceeded down the path to the river (cow pasture, I think). As we began to walk down the peaceful riverbank, we realized that we were walking through somebody’s front yard. About the same time this somebody was coming out the front door to inquire as to our intentions. Luckily and by some chance, the person coming to yell at us was one of the cavers’ science teacher from high school. Whew. We then proceeded through the underbrush and then up the hill to the entrance, or at least what we thought was the entrance. Along the way, many of the cavers discovered a very unpleasant plant called the stinging nettle. Going into the cave, our fearless leader realized that we had overshot the entrance and that we must crawl through a small hole in the wall to get to the entrance. After a short crawl, we arrived at the entrance where we took pictures and began several hours of exciting caving.
The cave was pretty much mud-less and had many passages that we explored and got lost in. Toward the end of the cave we found a large room in which we had our lights-out. As the cavers entered the room, they were serenaded by Ed’s rendition of Star Wars and the Barbie song. Also, some obnoxious Mexican named Juan decided to join the club and verbally assault the members. He quickly left however, after several of the members threatened to beat the living crap out of him. We then exited the cave and went back down to the river, where the decision was made that Ed and Rich needed to do laundry. (Especially Ed.) As the rest of the cavers joined Ed and Rich in various stages of nudity, it was realized that we were not alone. On the other side of the river was a grazing field for cows that were also partaking of the beautiful weather and river. The cows and the cavers shared the river pretty much peacefully and the swim was rather uneventful. We then hiked back to the cars where a box of donuts appeared mysteriously and disappeared just as mysteriously in the company of hungry cavers. As we boarded the cars and rode home, looking forward to the next adventure, we found a new meaning to the statement “nature’s beauty” as we drove back through the mountain. When we arrived back in Harrisonburg, we all went our separate ways promising to see each other at the party that evening.