When I saw the prompt for today, “cave” I got all excited! I was a caver for over 10 years. You probably heard it called spelunking but that’s very European. In North America we call it caving.
It was my husband (now ex) who was first interested. We were bigtime hikers; we would travel to Maine or North Carolina; different state parks to camp and do trails. I’ve been on the Pacific Northwest Trail and the Appalachian trail but only in little bits compared to the length of them. But my favourite was right here in Ontario; the Bruce Trail.
But back to caving; It was the book “….. nope, can’t remember*. The hero of the book was a spelunker (in Europe) and there were some great descriptive caving ‘scenes’ in his book. That’s when my husband found out this was a sport and found the Toronto Caving Group. Soon he was off to West Virginia on a beginners trip.
At first I was “no way”. The thought of being down there with all that earth above terrifed me. He came back elated and ready to buy lots of gear.
I went along to Rattlesnake Point (a park with cliffs in Ontario) where he practiced different manoeuvres and starting to learn some ropework. I met some great people who encouraged me to join in.
Soon we were off to West Virginia where I was promised some good hiking if I tried caving. I did and I loved it! It was so exciting and I came out feeling elated at what I had done.
I became a caver. I learned ropework; I had my own gear for descending (and ascending) pits. We met some great folks in Tennessee/ Alabama and we would go caving to some remote area or just spent the day “hoppin’ pits”; fun descents into holes that went no where.
The peak of my caving career was Ellison Cave in Georgia. The descent is a straight drop of 18 stories. (I can’t remember numbers) the scariest cave I ever did. I did it because I turned 40 that year and wanted to do something great.
I wrote about it a few years ago; I’ll find the link and put it at the end of my post.
Caving was a wonderful thing in my life. It gave me self-esteem and made me fearless. I met the most interesting and unique people, I’ll never forget. I still love “The South” because of all the great people I met.
- Shibumi by Trevanian was the book.