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.