I teased you guys last week when I said I had gone Spalunking right before vacation, and even confused most of you. Sorry about that!
The Friday before we left for vacation, Aaron had his usual every-other-Friday off, and his dad began his two week vacation from work. Aaron and his dad had talked about going Spalunking last year, but then it got too late in the year, and this was a perfect time. I was beyond nervous, and honestly didn’t plan to go. I kept going back and forth, then I heard Aric and Rachael were going, so I was leaning more towards going, but it wasn’t an easy decision.
I am not someone who gets scared of things. I am pretty adventurous. I will go on huge roller coasters. I jumped out of a sky once (I should write about that!), I’ve done some crazy things. However, this legitimately scared me!
Spalunking is going through a cave, with flashlights, no way out other than crawling. You are on your hands and knees for the majority. You go through spaces that are no more than 6 inches higher than my body when I lay down. You crawl through mud, go through water, and look around at the cave walls.
I honestly never thought I was claustrophobic, not one bit. The thought of only being able to fit through something by squeezing, and knowing it wasn’t just one spot, I was nervous, hence my hesitation to go! However, I woke up on that Friday, and thought, well, this is a pretty sweet deal, and if I don’t like it, I can get out with his dad, who was planning on going in only until he couldn’t stand and then turning around. Knowing I would have someone to go out with made me do it.
We headed to Laurel Caverns, but it wasn’t actually a cave through them. You could go there, and get a tour guide and such, but we didn’t do that. We went to a cave that had about a 15 minute hike down to, got our gear on, and off we went! It took us about an hour to go through it and then turn around and come back. No one really thought I would go through with it, which might have been more of a reason to go for it.
I won’t lie; it was really difficult going through some of the small places. When we got to the place his dad turned around, I decided to go through it and then if I couldn’t do it, I’d be fine to leave. I gave it a go, and I made it! I had to look at the ground and be face down. Aaron went on his back, but if I knew the ceiling was no more than 6 in above me, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. This just felt like I was bear crawling.
Seriously, these pictures are exactly what they look like. We squeezed down an area and came out between two rocks.
There were more tiny spaces than I thought. There was one that was all full of water and mud, and yet we had to crawl on our hands and feet basically, as horizontal as we could. Yes, I did think the cave could come crashing down at any point. I think that’s what I was most nervous about before hand, but after I got in, I pretty much let those feelings go. I was more concerned with what we were doing and crawling through.
I never knew it would be such a workout. Between the 15 minute hike down and back up, and then either in a squatting position the entire time, or using my arm strength to pull me through, and bear crawl down on the ground, it was intense! I loved that aspect of it (obviously)! Aaron, Rachael, and Aric were all sore, and feeling it, but I was loving the challenge. However, I did not love the actual Spalunking. I don’t know what it was, but I just don’t think I’ll be doing it again. His dad, who has done this in more than 30 caves, said if I could do this one, I’d be able to do any since this was the toughest. They left that one out when discussing this cave! I am happy to have experienced it, but I’ll probably skip it next time
Dirty, but happy to be out alive! ha