In the Stomach of the Trout
by Chris Woodley
The trip started out as any other. We met behind Buruss at 9 pm one Thursday night after the meeting. We waited until 9:15 and left to get Bryce’s car. We being Angela, Bryce and myself or as we like to call ourselves, the ABC Crew. Bryce left his car in the gravel lot and had to move it. We went to Olde Mill because my roommate, John, was coming along. Bryce left his car in the visitor lot. Eventually, John showed up and after I showed Bryce what it was like to be completely humiliated in fooseball, we left. We went to Ian’s to get some gear. That was accomplished in due time and we went to Kinko’s to copy the map of our destination, Trout. While Angela and Bryce were doing that, John and I went to Super WalMart to get some flagging tape. I went running around looking for tape and John actually asked someone about it. He found it and I collapsed from exhaustion in the toy section. It was much cheaper than the electrical tape I found. Which was good because we didn’t have enough money for the electrical tape. We paid and left for Kinko’s. As we pulled into the parking lot, Angela ran outside and started across the street. I honked my horn and she stopped and ran back inside. She and Bryce came out and we left. She was going to run back to Ian’s to get a compass but being the ABC Crew, we decided we didn’t need a compass (foreshadowing). It was now 10:30. The conversations on the ride to Trout were interesting but being that they were intellectual, I stayed out and concentrated on driving (“Na, na, na, na, na, Leader.”) Note: That was a Simpson’s reference.
We arrived at the parking lot, the gravel area next to the road. I had to go to the bathroom so I decided to see if the fence was electric. It wasn’t. We changed and started for the cave. Bryce and I headed in opposite directions. At about the same time we both found signs that pointed to the right and said cave. I decided that the sign didn’t apply to us and we straight up the hill. We had to climb under some green netting stuff be we found the trail. From where we got on the trail, the entrance to Trout was straight above us. We climbed up to the biggest cave entrance I have ever been to. Estimated time of arrival: midnight.
Bryce and I broke out the map to act cool and it almost worked but then everyone remembered that it was not possible for me to be cool so the jig was up. Angela took over map duties and John took over the lead. We stopped a couple of times to look at the map to see where we were. Everyone had their thoughts and all of them were wrong. We kept on going and then I noticed some dim light, moonlight. I thought for a second we found another entrance but soon realized it was the same old entrance and that we had gotten all turned around. We all had a good laugh except for John who was getting scared because he is a little wussy boy. After catching our breathes and wiping our eyes, we continued on. Every once and a while, we would look at the map and take guesses at were we where but we really had no clue. Eventually, we found out where we were on the map and that was not were we where trying to go. We ending up going to the art room where Angela and Bryce had their traditional mud fight that I some how get hit by most of the mud. While this was going on, John was busy making a voodoo doll out of mud and smashing it with a big rock and laughing really loud. I soon discovered that my name was on the doll. After pushing a big rock off me and peeling the mud off, we decided to head out. I was leading the way. About 20 feet out of the art room, I hit a dead end so we turned around and that was the end of me leading. One thing that I forgot to mention earlier was this cool room were sound reverberates. It was awesome.
We got back to the register room and Angela filled out the Census 2000 form inside. Bryce complained that there should be stories not a huge questionnaire in the register. When Angela’s hand cramped up and I woke up we continued out the cave. John climbed some stuff and almost got stuck. Great stuff. We picked up every single piece of flagging tape that we layed down. I would say that is a great accomplishment. Another great accomplishment was when we made it out of the cave. Some would think that the story ends there with us getting to the entrance but they would be wrong. We laid down at the mouth for a while. The moon was bright but it was behind some clouds. It was very peaceful. I broke the peace. I was getting tired and didn’t want to fall asleep before getting home since I was driving. We followed the trail all the way down to the road. It was about 3 am when we got to the car. John didn’t bring an extra pair of pants so he road back pants-less. We stopped at Mean Gene’s for some eats and drinks. I had some root beer and Cheez-It’s. I don’t know what anyone else had. Come to think of it, I don’t think anyone else got anything. The ride home was fun because John and Bryce both fell asleep and started snoring. We got back to Harrisonburg and that was that. The story doesn’t end there but this does.
Moral of the story: even though you have a map, if you don’t know how to read it it is useless. We all learned our lesson, except for me but that is another trip, another story.