Monday, April 11, 2011
Mind Alive Monday ~ Caving
|Rat's nest cave 2011. I'm the one in the middle with my eyes closed|
|Rat's nest cave 2007 Yes I have the same outfit and yes my eyes are closed|
Well, Dave still hasn't given me any pics nor has anyone else so here I am again. This time I'm caving in Rat's nest cave in Canmore, Alberta. I actually met Dave at our caving club, the Edmonton Chapter of A.S.S (Alberta Speleological Society). Turns out we have a lot more in common than just crawling around on our hands and knees through limestone passages. Caving stretches your mind in more ways than one.
Like climbing you have to learn a set of rope skills especially if you go into caves with a vertical component to it. The harnesses and ropes are completely different than climbing, because you're generally hanging around in the dark, nowhere near a wall. Also, in climbing you go up and you come down. Caving you up, down, around and through. The variety of movements is challenging as you decide whether to stoop, crawl on all fours or slide on your belly through passages.
People often have a hard time with the darkness, which is understandable. Personally, I find it soothing. In the Rocky Mountains temperature is also a consideration. At about 4 C all year around it can be cold if you have to stop for a long time, such as waiting for the group ahead of you to clear a tight passage. The biggest turn off for people exploring underground is the narrow passages. My sister said she was claustrophobic, so I asked her to come caving. She made it through the cave, albeit crying through parts of it, but overall enjoyed the experience enough to come back. Tight passages can be seriously scary, which is why I send newcomers head first down the "laundry chute passage" :) The rush is all about the thrill of discovery!
The other part of caving that's great for keeping your mind alive is the social aspect. These two photos were taken at our club's "Lead a Friend" event, where members bring their friends to explore the cave. As I said from a few pub nights with other local cavers, Dave liked me enough to hire me and I've met several amazing people who have supported me through some serious life changes. They helped me when I needed it the most. Some of them also happened to get me lost on my very trip, but that's another story. ~ S
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