Monday, November 12, 2007


A few days after every caving trip I find that muscles I didn’t even know I had ache. I also find a bruise or two that I can’t even remember how it got there. Saturday’s trip to Petty John’s cave was no exception. For the last couple of years every time I’ve dropped into a cave it was in a guided situation where I was the guide and most everybody else it was their first time into a cave. And typically it’s a rather large group, ten or more. Last weekend was a significant departure from the norm. The group was relatively small. There were only six of us. Two of us had a great deal of experience in this cave. Aaron has also been in Petty John’s five or six times. Although he’s only thirteen, in the past I’ve used him to lead groups much older than him through the tight spots so I could “bring up the rear” with the folks who need more assistance. Two others had been in the cave with me before and took to it very well. We only had one complete novice and he did amazingly well for his first time.
With such a motivated group we were able to descend all the way down to the waterfall in what they refer to as the lower stream passages in record time. This was no small feat and I’m very proud of all who came along. We were able to go into some places on this planet that relatively few people will every see.
Every time I take a group of people climbing or caving all I ask is that they do their best. I don’t care what your ability may be I just want you to push yourself right up to that limit and keep trying. I get much more frustrated with people who quit too early and stop trying than I’ve every been with folks who just kept on trying no matter what level that took them. This group did very well. There was a great deal of the reaching down to provide a hand hold for the next guy and even a few situations when we would literally stand on each others shoulders in order to help each other get to the next level spot. I find this type of teamwork to be spiritually fulfilling no matter which side I’m on. Whether it’s my shoulder being stepped on or I’m the one doing the stepping. When I find myself in the position of the step I reflect up the examples of those that have taught me in the past. Considering the many great leaders that I’ve had in my life it is very humbling for me to fell the weight of others no relying on me for their progress. I doubt I am worth of this respect and it causes me to be very introspective as to whether or not I desire the trust that they have given me.
I have no delusions that I’ll discover any new passages or make any amazing breakthroughs in speleology. However, I doubt that I will ever stop caving. The metaphors that become literal in this situation are far to powerful for me to avoid.

1 comment:

  1. What a handsome caver home-slice huggie friend is he!