May 29th, 2010


she does not die in a cave at this time

Today, Alisa, The Jeff, hawkwing_lb, and myself went to Knox Cave in New York, where I did not die again. We met three other cavers by prearrangement as well.

Knox Cave is a mostly dry cave, but living, which means it's just drippy and there's some mud and a few inches of water in it here and there. However, I managed to find a way to get myself briefly stuck in this one

Having obtained passes, signed forms, and bought bat earrings, we made our way into the cave. We started off in the Salamander Fissure, and I was doing fine on the way in. Unfortunately, on the way out... well, there's this chockstone. And a good deal of getting through this fissure is a kind of chimneying traverse, through a very narrow space. On the way out, trying to climb up under the chockstone, my hips didn't quite slide through the right place and there was nothing under my feet and well, I found myself a little stuck.

"Guys," I said, "I'm a little stuck."

Alisa was behind me, and she got under my foot and pushed. (Although I was giving myself pep talks, such as "Well, you got in, so you can get out." To which she replied, "Well, gravity is working against you now." And I said (apparently in a Dragon Voice) YOU ARE NOT HELPING.) She is smaller than I am, and very strong, and between that and a lot of stubborn and The Jeff's encouragement and twisting my hip around crazily I managed to get an elbow on the chockstone and one toe on a ledge and then I had opposition and could lever myself out.

Both Alisa and The Jeff were awesome, and I kept my head quite well, I think--realizing that if I took off my fleece I would have more room to slide, asking for a drink of water when I started to panic, and at one point saying to The Jeff in a small pathetic voice, "I really do not want to be here any more." (He replied with great soothing. He rocks. Even if I do keep following him into untenable positions. As I said to him later in the day, I've been doing that for 21 years. He replied, "And yet you keep doing it." I know, some of us cannot learn.)

Now I can say my pelvis tried to kill me. (This is where I got stuck.)

hawkwing_lb, who is about my size, was smart enough to bail on the passage before the squeeze, so she had no trouble.

From there we went in and explored the Finger Passages (pretty) and then proceeded through the Keyhole Passage (that's me), and a couple of crawls to get to the Gunbarrel, which Liz and I declined to attempt. There is a bypass, and we went down that a little ways, but Liz and I decided we weren't going to push on past the squeeze, so The Jeff took pity on us and we turned around and came back. (And so missed most of the cave, but maybe some other time.)

We also saw bats. Bats! Two little brown bats, and both apparently perfectly healthy (I hope, I hope) which is sadly rare in the Northeast currently. 

Here are my bruises from not dying in a cave at this time.