The Spring Fling is so Good, It Had its Own Laser Light Show!
by Brad Ricks
So, I pull up to the “Bat Ranch” in Blacksburg, Va on late Friday afternoon, to find Several MUSGers sittin’ back and enjoying the last few minutes of daytime sun. Then there was Kendall, with enough Band-Aids on her arms and back to keep an amputee victim free from infection. She got into a little tiffy with a cat who didn’t take too kindly to our cave-dogs. The Bat Ranch residents were some nice folks – an older guy resemblance of Gerry Garcia or Santa Claus, only naked, and with a baby; and another younger couple. After meeting, greeting, and getting a fine collection of MUSG friends and family together for the first time in Blacksburg, we were welcomed with our own LASER SHOW! Yes, the nice man had a fricken laser shooting out of his house, and engulfing the campfire and those around it in an undulating green and blue light. The addition of a hose made for a truly cosmic experience – one that merited Cecelia to in all seriousness, insist upon MUSG purchasing our own laser as soon as possible!
So hours passed and the night dwindled away after a few runs from the hot tub to the river to the hot tub, to the fire, through the laser, to the hot tub, to the tent and to sleep. Morning came, and we ate our oatmeal. I would have eaten my Cinnamon rolls that I brought, but upon opening the door to Brad’s Jeep where I left them, I found the tin of 6 rolls nearly empty. After asking Brad about it, he seemed pretty confused, but figured he must’ve eaten them at some point while sleeping. Word spread of a VPI vertical workshop at 9. Yes, these really are cavers down here, so the workshop started sometime around 10:30. Up and down a 70-foot quarry face we went for the next couple hours, trying our hand at figure-8’s, racks, ascending knots, frogs, rope walkers, and whatever means we darn well desired to make it up or down a wall – I must say that Ian somehow made it down in about 2 seconds on his figure-8, and managed to walk away! He walked away pretty happy and confident, but I knew what was really up – most people mistook it for sweat, but that was definitely urine running down his leg!
With the vertical experience behind us, we headed back to camp, and most people just started drinking away. About half an hour later, we realized we should go caving – many people were inebriated past the point of safe caving, so that left Me, Bryce, Kendall and Carl to go hit up Clover Hollow Cave with a few VPI folk. This cave, located within 15 minutes of the campsite, had a beautiful 70-foot entrance rappel, a couple small 20-some foot rappels, and a nice 90-foot rappel into a canyon and stream. Once at the lowest level in the cave, there was definitely a wooden cross just a little ways ahead of me, so I took a little pee break and headed back up the rope. One too many trips to Blowing cave has convinced me what ghosts in a cave can do to one’s sanity!
Back at camp merry was definitely being made – though this time without a laser! I made some great friendships that night with about 5 or 6 dogs while preparing and eating a couple steaks for dinner. Really – it was a campfire full of a good 60+ people, and then me with all kinds of dogs licking me, sitting on me, jumping on me, doing tricks for me – it just didn’t stop! I felt like the fat kid on the playground who lets all the little kids try to tackle him, but just ends up running around and getting all sweaty, then going home with an amazingly stretched out neck on my big white T-shirt, big enough to see at least one nipple.
Anyway, there was definitely a nice band playing that night, plus some fine post-band house (or rather field) music, a good hour or two of finding words in the “Cajunman” vocabulary such as “Emancipation proclamation”, and “I am suffering a tribulation with the taxation on my refrigeration”. So Sunday, we yet again, went caving! This time the MUSG cavers headed our way to Stay High Cave. Only after realizing that we have no way near enough vertical equipment for some 9 or so people. So we harassed every caver on the premises until enough gear was solicited to get us in and out of a couple drops without any major injury. This cave was great! Sure we spent a while squeezing through holes, and watching some VPI folks climb walls for fun, but we eventually got into this series of some amazing waterfalls! There were about 4 or 5 of them it seemed, all 5-20 feet high! Most of us got through without getting soaked, but then there’s always an exception! One fella, a little new to the world of caving misunderstood where I told him to climb up beside the waterfall. He thought I meant climb up towards me – and between me and him was, well, a waterfall. So Before I know what’s going on, here’s this guy getting pummeled with cold water as he squeezes his body out from under the waterfall to get closer to me! What an honor.
Then there’s the exit to this cave. Its small – real small. The kind of small that explains why we never see Rotweiller – Chihuahua mutts running around. I get almost all the way through – in the distance I can see everybody else leaping about in the sun, changing clothes, swapping stories, having a drink – and here I am, one arm and most my head outside of the cave, and the rest of me pinned between the tight rocks. This was the most horrid cave exit ever – ¦you see the light, the life, the fun that awaits outside – meanwhile there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! It’s like a midget trying to rob a convenience store. It’s like being Canadian. But eventually I made it through – and it’s a good thing I made it out when I did, because I got to hear all about Ian’s muddy dingy!
SO back home we went, with sweet memories of lasers, midgets, waterfalls, muddy dingies, Canadians, Caves, Waterfalls, dogs, a fat kid, Cajunman, and best of all, well shoot – I cant think of anything else right now. But to sum up, this is definitely looking to be a new MUSG hangout for years to come!