Day: November 9, 2003

Marshalls Cave Nov. 8, 2003 by Brooke Boyer

Marshalls Cave
Nov. 8, 2003
by Brooke Boyer

After three days of soaking and two washings later, my gear is still filthy. And my boots are definitely starting to mold. The trip to Marshall was like nothing I could have imagined. The three freshmen and I who joined Jared and Stephen had been caving only once before, thus we had no idea what we were getting into. It started out with an interesting introduction to bats, followed by a head first dive into the scariest cave possible. By the time I made my outstanding falling debut, the two experienced cavers were probably ready to kill us. Kate, Kiri, Tim, and I took eighteen minutes to do everything they did in three. So about that fall… apparently I’m ridiculously clumsy and somehow found myself free-falling into the unknown. Luckily, I was able to redeem myself by grasping an overhanging stalactite (or is it stalagmite?) and finding a new way down the cave wall. I claimed to be fine, trying not to be too girly, but I’m still a little bruised.

We trooped on, until we came to the “leap of faith.” Why in the hell did we think we were tough enough to cross it? Though it took much coaching from Mr. President and his assistant we all made it across without dying. (In reality, it turned out not to be an actual leap of faith, considering we used ropes.) We then came to a huge room, I’ve forgotten what it’s named. There we sat peacefully in the dark until huge gobs of mud came flying past our heads.. at times landing even in our mouths. Who could this mud demon be? Jared, of course. On our return, our bodies were too tired to attempt the harder climbs, so instead we swam. Apparently we were weaker than we thought. The water was surprisingly warm until an hour later when the chill finally set in. We found ourselves with soaking wet jeans immersed in an icy dusk with a fifteen minute hike ahead of us. The evening was a beautiful one, the smell of fall overwhelmed our exhausted lungs. Just a suspension bridge away, our cars were waiting promising heat and eventually, dinner at Dukes. Marshall Cave pushed my limits to a new extent. I’ll neither forget the magnificent formations nor the fun of kicking my own ass.

3D Cave Trip Nov. 9, 2003 by Laura von Dohlen

3D Cave Trip
Nov. 9, 2003
by Laura von Dohlen

It was a Sunday morning just like most others before caving. Death threats from my roommate for waking her up and rummaging around for trash bags. I met Monica at D Hall for breakfast and brought her caving clothes from our previous trip to Crossroads, which I washed for her because I’m just nice like that. We figured the trip wouldn’t be leaving on time (because it never does) so we took our good ole time, her with her yogurt and I with my apple (Which I have to complain have been getting less and less fresh as the weeks move by!). After breakfast Monica headed to her dorm to change and I headed to Burrus.

When I arrived in the parking lot it was completely empty. I stood there alone for a while looking rather lost until I realized that everyone was waiting inside by the vending machines where it was warm. Most excellent! Once inside, I realized that Monica and I were the ones everyone was waiting on. Whoops! I guess since this trip didn’t involve Jared driving, having to wake Sharid up at the last minute or someone forgetting extra clothing when going to Glade, the group could have left on time this time. Oh well!

Once everyone arrived, the 10 of us hopped in the cars, stopped at Food Lion for batteries and in 25 or so minutes BAM we were there. At the base of the hill someone asked “So, where is this cave?” and the response that came was “Near a grove of trees.” We looked at the hill which was covered with groves of trees. We climbed through the barbed wire fence and spread out over the hill in search of the cave opening. Eventually we all gathered by the entrance, each of us covered in little brown thistly things which we picked off of each other like any good primate would.

3D was a small cave and a pretty easy one to get around and I would leave there relatively clean and with only half the bruises and cuts that I usually leave a cave with. The usual caving activities happened inside; crawling, falling, climbing, screaming, throwing mud and wandering around in confusion. At one point 3 or 4 cavers went down to 4D the rest of us stayed behind and had lights out. When they returned Monica revealed to us that she ripped the seat of her jeans, and what a rip it was! We all said hello to her ass which was definitely visible and then continued on to the art room with Monica in the very back. Lots of fun was had in the art room as we all sculpted some of our favorite items out of the mud, including canoes, Trogdor the Burninator and asparagus. As I made my snail and Monica made a miniature version of her butt, I accidentally hit a stalactite with my head and it fell to the ground! Uh oh! Oh wait, it was only an imposter stalactite made of mud. Crazy tricksters!

After the art room, we decided it was time to leave the cave. Back into the cold air, down the hill, through the barbed wire fence, back into the cars and back to JMU. I headed back to my room and threw my trash bag of dirty clothes into a corner where I would forget about it for about a week until my room started reeking of cave (Which would cause an increase in death threats.) and I was forced to hose them down in the shower, which would cause a series of menacing and confused looks. Back off biotches, it’s just a little bit of mud!