Corbett Cave Trip or, “What is it About Caving this Year that Gives Me so Much Gas???”
Sept. 17-18, 1999
by Brad Ricks
The evening began, as we all gathered behind Burrus at ten O’clock, with rumors circulating about a new cave to visit. Myself, Ben, Rich, Sergeant and Meredith all showed up ready to go at ten. Unfortunately Meredith was suddenly stricken with Scoliosis and had to back out. Sergeant’s boots were in Meredith’s room, so he went with her to pick them up. Half an hour later, Sergeant was back and we were ready to go.
I was told that this cave is only accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle, so naturally we pulled all of the gear out of Rich’s Jeep and packed it into Ben’s Station Wagon. Ben’s selection of music for the ride there, ranging from Irish drinking songs to a song called, “I’ve got big balls” could only be described as . . . Bedfordesque.
Come 12:00 we reached the small town of Monterey and began our search for a red gate marking the entrance to the house of Mr. Dick Hicks. We found a red gate and drove up to the house. With the possibility of this being the wrong house, and my life quickly ending by means of a crazed farmer’s shotgun, I exited the car alone and approached the house to find an elderly woman dressed in her nightgown standing at the door. “Mrs. Hicks?” I asked. “What!?” she replied. “Is this the Hicks Residence” “WHO?” she replied. “I AM TRYING TO FIND RICHARD HICKS” “RICHARD!?….he lives down yonder.” Naturally, we left and searched for the right house on this road which just happened to be lined with red gates.
Unsuccessful, we went back into town, and I used a payphone to call Hicks. This was the greatest experience thus far in my life….the payphone was fully functional after inserting merely Twenty-Five Cents!!!
Hicks opted to meet us at the base of his driveway, so we went back in search of him. 12:30, and we found the man. He was short and of middle age, though well worn, grizzled, bearded and very very happy. We drove up his driveway and fifteen minutes later, reached his house.
The cave is one mile behind his house through the woods, so Captain Courageous, Dick Hicks hopped onto his 4-wheeler, while we followed behind in the Station Wagon. After dodging a heard of cattle, a few creek beds, and watching Hick’s little dog take out a grown deer, Ben’s Subaru Outback made it into the woods. When the wagon could go no further, I rode on the back of the 4-wheeler up to the cave. It was quite a hike to the cave, and being so dark, he opted to lead us all back to the cave, so we followed the 4-wheeler, and his trusty deer killing Beagle.
With basically no knowledge of this cave whatsoever, we squeezed through the smallest entrance we had ever seen. From here, the cave took about 5 different possible directions, so we all went separate ways looking for a passage that would go somewhere. Bout half an hour later, we stumbled across a decent though small lead. Being the new guy, Rich volunteered Sergeant to take the task of pushing a very tight tunnel while the three of us waited patiently for news of it opening up. “It’s getting tighter” he screamed. “Keep Going” says Rich. “It’s REALLY small now!” “KEEP GOING!” At this point he was rather far away, so I followed in to mediate between the two parties. “I AM SOAKED RIGHT NOW” says Sergeant. I pass this on to Rich…”Keep Going” is passed back to him. This goes on for a while until Sergeant finds enough room to squat. We follow down this tube, and it is TIGHT. I mean this isn’t just tight…this is the kind of tight that a man feels when he puts on a fresh pair of panty hose.
On we go in search of the dead corpse of an extinct kind of pig that I was told lies in the back of the cave. We never found the back of the cave or the dead cave-pig but had a great time caving as Rich turned the cave floor from a dark brown to a bright shade of pink, putting flagging tape at every other rock in an attempt to keep us from getting lost. We found some great helictite formations, and some other very cool sections, as many people haven’t visited the cave at all.
The crawl out of the cave and the hike back through the Blair witch-infested woods made us plenty hungry and thirsty, so we stopped by a nice little 24 hour place called Carpenter’s Convenience, where anyone can go and load up on gas and hunting supplies at 4:00 in the morning. Personally, I loaded up on the sausage and egg biscuits that the owner’s wife just made out back.