Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Fun Underground

Last Sunday I spent the day crawling around in mud. My brother and I joined the a handful of other members of the Diablo Grotto of the National Speleological Society for a day in Hell Hole cave. This cave is fairly popular as it virtually located on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

While it's an activity that isn't suitable for people with fear of tight spaces, caving is a ton of fun. The feeling of passing through a "squeeze" provides one of the most calming forms of adrenaline I've ever experienced. This particular cave doesn't have many formations partly due to it's small size but largely due to the fact that so many people pass through it. It trends down and away from the entrance to, I was told, six or so feet from the other side of the mountain. There are some 20-25 foot sections of slithering on your belly or back and some small drops. There are also some really cool things that people have left behind but I won't reveal what they are.

As a hiker, I was particularly astounded by the power of caving headlamps. Some of the fellows on this trip had headlamps with 20+ LEDs. One guy even smelled and looked a little like a mole...


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