Caving

I took the train up to portland yesterday after a night of mayham, which I cannot talk about.  The train left at 5 AM, and I planned on waking up at 4:30 and running over there from Larry’s place.  But my cell phone battery died and my alarm never went off so I slept in, but caught the next train.  (reader’s note: I hate taking Amtrak.  I hate it with a vengance.  One time I spent 5.5 hours going from Oregon City to Eugene because the freight cars kept forcing us off the track.  I could have ridden my bike from Sherwood  (my parent’s house) to Eugene in that amount of time.  Another time I was charge extra for not picking up my ticket at the ticket booth.  I was furious and swore loudly at the ticket guy, who was being a jerk about it.  Another time I didn’t have my photo ID with me and they wouldn’t let me on the train for security reasons.  What is a terrorist going to do on a train?  Run it into a building?  Take the three other passengers on board as hostages?  I ended up having to hitch hike up to Portland that day.  Plus they didn’t give me my money back from the pre-paied ticket I purchased.  The list goes on and on.)

I arrived at the train station and walked around freezing cold Oregon City until my brother, Galen, came and picked me up, an hour late.  When we got home, we got Thomas (our dog) into a frenzie and he bit both of us in the hamstring as we ran around the house playing keep away with his squeeky toy.  Thomas is a big white husky-type dog called a Samoyed.  He is very insane at times and gets a crazed look in his eye when you run away from him.

That afternoon we headed out to explore some caves.  Two of Galen’s friends came with us, Chi and Quinn.  We all forgot to bring a camera, so you’ll just have to imagine what the cave looked like.

A small opening in the ground was our entry point.  We squeezed into the hole and turned out headlamps on.  The inside of the cave became moister and colder as we descended, climbing and pulling our way down into the earth between giant boulders.  This cave system was formed when a massive avalanche of house-sized boulders came careening off the side of the cliff that towers above the entire cave-sight area.

We explored different caverns and pushed ourselves through tiny openings for about an hour when we decided to try a different cave.  This one seemed to be a dead end.  We had tried every passage and hadn’t made it farther down than two or three stories.  We climbed up the vertical shaft, heading for daylight.  But we found a new crack to slither through, which prooved to open into a number of different rooms.  The size of the caverns were no bigger than a very small room, but sometimes pretty tall or very long and wide.  But for the most part, we were hunched over or on our hands and knees.  An example of the conversation as we explored different caverns:

“Woohh, this is huge.”

“That’s what she said.”

“I don’t think you can fit through that hole.”

“That’s what she said.”

“It’s a tight fit.”

“That’s what she said.”

Don’t blame me, they’re all in high school.  I had no part in this kind of talk.

The cold wet rocks were sharp and cut into us as we scrambled on our stomachs through a tiny crack that lead into another series or rooms.  We had brought string with us to lay down a trail so we wouldn’t get lost, but we hadn’t actually laid any down at this point.  Good plan…

We all got through the crack and explored the new cavern’s exit points until we found that it was a dead end.  I suggested we turn our lights off for a few minutes, so we sat down and enjoyed some pure darkness.  Although there was no light down there, we could all imagine seeing faint outlines of our hands in front of our faces as we waved them in front of our eyes.

We headed back to the surface, but ended up getting a bit turned around and lost.  We were climbing straight up a 15 foot chimney when a giant boulder shifted and clamped down on Chi’s hand.  It pinned him there as he dangled from his trapped hand; his feet flung about wildly, trying to find a foot-hold.  I got over to him and pushed the boulder off his pinned hand and he scrambled up the rest of the way.  Galen finally found the way out and Quinn and Chi let out a sigh of relief; they had been panicking just a little by this point.  Another 15 minutes of climbing and squirrming through the boulders and we got out into the warm open air, which had turned from a sunny afternoon to a cloudy night sky.

I was goning to meet with some people about the team today, but that’s not happening.  So we’re going to go back and explore a different cave today.

3 thoughts on “Caving

  1. Jason, the team is looking good. There’s some cool progressions that might take place. I’ll let everyone know when it’s more concrete.

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