Hello, Mr. 8:30!
Cave Mountain Cave
Oct. 29, 2006
by Jason Knight
Hmmm – interesting isn’t it? Day light savings time. This trip to Cave Mountain was set to leave at 9:30 AM. But is that original time, or set an hour back? After some deliberation I found myself behind Burrus at “8:30,” and then calling Bob when the clock struck nine. “Eehh – yeah Jason, we’re going on daylight savings here, so – I’ll be there in half an hour.” Okay, so I wait and wait and pretty soon Geoff arrives, accompanied by Hildi. This is her first time caving. After a bit of a wait, Bob shows up closely followed by Whitney and Adam, who marches up with an exclamation of “Hello Mr. 8:30!” Some talking happens and we leave.
Dot dot dot – and we are there, driving across the farm road described as “exposed limestone,” in Franklin WV. After much preparation, a “before” photo-shoot and all, with a deal of to do about the wind, (“TALLY HO!”), we march off across the field in search of the trail that will lead to the cave. Maybe it’s this way, maybe it’s that way – let’s go this way. This must be the wrong way, how about we go up along the tree-line and walk back until we come upon the trail. Hmmm – these are quite large and strange mounds of dirt – they look like termite mounds. (About waste high, five foot diameter bases) I kick the side of one in and find that they are red fire ants. At a very large hill Geoff somehow decides to be like Jack, (You know, except an anthill instead of the candlestick thing and all), and sinks his foot into a mound-top to be greeted by a rush of angry ants. Not bright but he came out unharmed. “TALLY HO”
Now we find the trail and spend 45-60 minutes hiking, see ten or so deer, and get slightly lost again. But we find the trail and continue on forever until “now the mountain should level off, there will be a slight left, and a slight right, and then a grassy area.”
“How much further?”
Bob: “Well, we will go down slightly, and then up more than slightly.”
Nice trail here, steep on the left, rock wall/incline on the right. We get to the entrance and decide to take a bathroom break, whereas I decide to climb above the cave. I find this an amazing view of the valley and mountains with the river trickling below through the farmland of fall panoramic, phew. Bob follows, along with Whitney and Adam and we have a spontaneous mountain-top photo-shoot. I find some cool fossils, and we climb back down into the cave. But, this is not before Whitney finds a stick on her shoulder and commences to break it to pieces – only to find that it is, in fact, a stick bug, which she has totally massacred. She found it very upsetting. Now, into the cave. “TALLY HO!”
The sooty floor stained our shoes, our clothes, and our hands blackened with filth. Our nostrils filled with musky air, as our eyes stared off to the darkness. And we sauntered, strolling through at a pace until the sunlight ebbed from sight and we were left with nothing but our alkaline battery-powered bulbs. There was much to-do as we made our way through, picking and choosing our way like a shrew. (Iâ€™m adding a bit of each kind of writing in here, huh?) Bob chose the high path, Adam took the low path, Bob slipped his shoe and Adam crawled through, while the rest of us followed one or the ooootther. Both choices ended up in the same place, an area with several ways to go and some graffiti (one from 1952). One trail led to a dead end, the other we didn’t take because of the two bats occupying the space. We started on our way back, going this way and that (exploring ya know) and ended up with myself, Adam, and Hildi waiting on Bob, Whitney, and Geoff who were taking some weird very high climb that kept going and going. Tired of waiting, we (the first trio listed) went on climbing further and exploring. Adam decided to hand print us with mud, and then we turned off our lights to surprise the second trio as they made their way. Well, we finally made it out of the cave and had an “after” photo session. Walking walking walking cars. We had planned to go to Thompson’s Restaurant afterwards, but things happened, people switched cars, and myself and Bob were the only one’s left who were going. Cherry milkshakes! We get food, eat, talk, pay up and head out on the trip back which was full of many conversations until I fell asleep and woke up back at Bob’s apartment where we watched some funny TV until I was taken back to Eagle. Nice long day of hiking, caving, climbing, and – “TALLY HO-ING!”