Going Home to Hamilton
Nov. 19, 2001
by Chris Woodley
The Monday before Thanksgiving Angela and Curt were bored and wanted to go caving. They got a hold of me and we decided to go to Hamilton. I got a map from Brad and went to pick up Angela, Curt, Brenan and Aaron. It seems that I have gotten a reputation for the music I listen to. They came prepared and were ready to head bang. Unfortunately, I was listening to a mix cd that wasn’t all hardcore and they were a little upset. To please everyone, we listened to some Poison the Well to get pumped and the hang banging commenced (demonstration of hand banging).
We got to the parking lot and changed. Everyone’s clothes were damp from Saturday’s trip to Blowing except for Aaron because he didn’t go. This was his first caving trip. It took a while to find Hamilton because Angela and I were the only ones who had been there and that was once, over a year ago. We found the cave, eventually. Our goal for the night was to make it to the Air Blower and through it if we felt up to it.
Winding through the maze-like beginning reminded me of the previous trip except we moved a lot faster and it wasn’t near as hot nor painful. We made it to the Slab Room with little trouble. Just past the Slab Room the map ends. We were on our own from that point forward. Luckily, the cave is pretty much a single path where the map ends. At one point, we found a hole in the wall. It wasn’t that big but it wasn’t what I expected the Air Blower to look like so I moved on but there was no where to move on to. This had to be the Air Blower.
Angela took off her helmet and went in the hole. She commented on the strength of the wind in the hole and how her hair was blowing around (demonstration of hair in the wind). Then she climbed out. I went in next. I laid in the entrance for a good half hour listening to the wind and contemplating whether I should go any further. My feet were still hanging out of the Blower. I thought I saw the end of the Blower but I wasn’t sure because the way people described it, I thought it would be a lot longer. Brad even said that he heard it was the most mentally challenging thing that people have ever gone through. I started to back out then said screw it and moved forward. To make it through you have to go on your side because it is too narrow to go on your back or chest (demonstration of the size). It was kind of really tight. The Blower ends about eight feet up a wall so it is imperative that you don’t push your helmet too far ahead of you and to the bottom of the room. That would suck. I made it through and called back that I had made it. Angela started next. She made it and Brenan was next. Brenan broke out a new pair of pants for this trip and it turns out he should have broke out some suspenders or a belt. At the really narrow part, Angela and I hear Brenan say something like “uh oh.”
It turns out that his pants were slowly making there way down his legs. Then he found out that it wasn’t just his pants. Everything was down around his knees (demonstration of everything done around knees). It sounded a little painful but we laughed anyway. He popped through the hole and pulled his pants up (demonstration of pants being pulled up). Angela pretended to shield her eyes (demonstration of eyes being shielded). I didn’t shield my eyes because the tears were blinding me. Curt came through next. I’m really glad that wasn’t me to fallow Brenan. I didn’t want to go through flesh left behind on the rock from Brenan. Good work, Curt. Aaron, the green caver, was now all alone on the other side. He made it through very nicely. I think he pants started to come down but not to the extent of Brenan’s. The cave continued on past here but we were ready to go back so as soon as Aaron climbed down, I climbed up. Going back through was so much harder for me. It’s a little up hill and the really tight spot is right there at the beginning so you can’t use your feet to push. I made it through but it took forever. Angela came and when she was about halfway through, screaming could be heard. A bat was flying around in the room on the other side of the Blower from where I was. Curt was perched up about to enter the blowing but had to delay and brace himself because the bat was in attack mode. Brenan and Aaron curled up in the fetal position, holding each other’s hands and screaming (demonstration). Suddenly, the screaming stopped. I thought the bat had gotten everyone and I started to get the hell out of Dodge. Angela finally spoke up. She was stuck. She persevered and squeezed through. I think by then the bat settled down because I hadn’t heard any more screaming. Curt got stuck and took multiple naps (demonstration). He asked me that if he made it out could we listen to some of his music on the way home. I agreed, thinking that he wouldn’t make it out and I wouldn’t have to live up to my promise. He then asked if we had any webbing, which concerned me a little, but not much. He made it through and stripped down because he was really hot; in more ways than one (demonstration). He decided that he needed to stop working out because his huge muscles were getting in the way. I think Brenan came next. Then Aaron. They really pissed me off because they made it through with no problems at all. After a small break we headed out.
Nothing exciting happened except Aaron felt a little queasy at one point but he was OK. At the entrance, we decided that Brenan’s crotch had a mind of its own. Every time he goes caving, it tries to escape. In Blowing, his pants got a nice rip right in the crotch. Everyone decided that they would not return to the Blower except me. I thought it was fun and I want to go deeper into Hamilton because the Blower isn’t very far at all. We went to Mean Gene’s and then went home. The whole way home we listened to Curt’s mix.