Sept. 8, 2013
Departure from JMU campus: 8:30
Time underground: 9:15-12:30
Crew: Jasmin and Katie (Rapunzel) – Senior Cavers, Sam, Tootles, and Katie – noobs.
Cave difficulty: Easy – moderate; Standard equipment required
Cave Features: Ankle and knee-deep puddles, calcified ceilings, birth canals, climbing on slippery surfaces, hot and humid room, many small dead-ending tunnels, and it’s a seriously muddy cave.
More In-depth: As you can see from our “before” picture, Exhibit A, we entered the cave with relatively clean minds ( . . . ), bodies, and spirits. We were greeted at the mouth of the cave by a pair of discarded boots, pants, and other items of clothing that were absolutely caked with mud but even these items could not prepare us for the mud-hell that is glade cave. We maneuvered underground and through highly trafficked passages noticing a path marked by a deck of cards. The cards proved useful as a guide to exploring the sweet but rather small cave though we never relied fully on the markers of another caver. After about a half an hour underground our group paused at the peak of a passage and participated in a lights out. Jokes were told and mud balls thrown while our eyes adjusted to the uniquely opaque darkness. Upon continuing further into the cave we found a cool birth canal through which Sam was “born.” We celebrated with more mud balls. It was around this time that Sam’s pant legs became so heavy his trousers sagged so much that he had to fashion a belt out of his sweatshirt string to keep from accidentally mooning the rest of us. A word the time wise: belts are a cavers’ best friend in Glade cave. After a few hours of splashing around we decided to retrace our steps and exit the cave. Our Senior cavers encouraged the noobs to lead the way and with guidance from the deck of cards we exited the cave just as a group of 30 (yes, thirty!) high-school students entered. In the warm sunlight we had a stranger snap our “after” picture, Exhibit B, where you can see for yourself just how muddy dat shit was.
Time at car wash to pressure wash boots, clothes, equipment, and etc: 60 minutes