words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Body Sequence of ‘Go Out and See’ 02 / Caving into the absolute darkness

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An unearthed prehistoric stonewall some six feet high, built of rocks of
various sizes, is evidence that the cave was likely inhabited by aboriginal
people. It is unknown when the first settler entered Morril’s Cave, although it
has been written that settlers surely would have encountered the cave by the
beginning of the 1800’s. Nothing is known of the cave until it became the
property of Elias S. Worley. Locally, the cavern is often still referred to as
Worley Cave. A large amount of saltpeter was mined from the cave early in the
Civil War. A mill was operated in the early 1900’s where the stream exits at
the lower entrance of the cave. It was said that the stream’s volume was
“sufficient, even in severest drought, to turn the undershot wheel of a
large mill.”

Our journey begins on a very hot day, where the temperature outside the
cave is in the mid 90’s, however, inside the cave the temperature will stay all
year round at about 57 degrees. One of the first things we discover as we
proceed further into the cave are the beautiful rock formations and the
cloudburst that greets us as the contrasting air molecules meet and merge. There
are moments of intrepidity and excitement as we approach the day’s first big
challenge i.e. the 30 foot crawl between two rock formations. Not everyone was
willing to do it, however I jumped at the opportunity—or should I say crawled.
I love a physical challenge and the cave provided many opportunties. During the
course of our 3.5 hour journey we crawled, tunneled, climbed, waded through
water, descended and ascended nearly 180 feet while hiking 1.5 miles. We also
sat in absolute darkness. Sitting in absolute darkness with only the slight
sound of water drops was fascinating. It was quite the meditative moment. Our guide
informed us, that if you remained in this kind of darkness for 72 hours you
would become completely disoriented. After being in this kind of sensory
deprived environment for such a long time one would soon begin to hallucinate.
However, I must say that if you are a practitioner of meditation this is the
perfect setting for deep contemplation.

It was an enjoyable day for all of us on the tour. And if you are
physically able and daring, I highly recommend you try this. What do you think?
Does this sound like something you would do? Are there other challenges or
activities that you would like to conquer?

Our natural resources can provide the excitement and challenges that can
sustain the mind, body and Spirit. Go Out and See.

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6 responses

  1. How fascinating… I love the selections of photos and the journey you took. Great effort! 🙂
    Again, I’m catching up on blog comments after another long 4 day yoga retreat in Boston… I got back Thursday night to over a thousand emails. Will begin a marathon commenting effort shortly! TY! 🙂

    July 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    • I can not imagine having so many email to catch up with. It is a testimony of how loved you are Elizabeth. You provide so much inspiration for us all. I too need to carve out some time to read my favorite bloggers as well. I certainly need to catch up with your recent posts. There is so much depth in them, they need deep relfection on my part.

      July 19, 2011 at 6:56 am

  2. These are great photos! How exciting! U R a brave soul…..I couldn’t do it…I’d be too distracted with worry and fright ….one of those walls will collapse on me…I know it won’t but still….scary! Thanks to you ….I can still enjoy the view and appreciate its splendor. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    July 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    • You can do it Soapbird with no problem at all: Just remember that those walls have slowly been growing over millions of years. Yes they are moving. One room in the cavern was completely supported by this one mammoth rock which you could acturally brace your back underneath of it and push. Our guide joked about how everyone tries to move the rock and bring the room down.

      Thanks for stopping by:)

      July 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm

  3. Wow!! That looks like something I would love to do and it would be so easy for me since I’m so small, I would fit right through all those crevices. Very nice slide show of your experience. Thanks for sharing. Oh and, “HI !!” Walter.

    July 21, 2011 at 1:05 am

    • Bunnies are small, but are they afraid of the dark? 🙂 But I know you are one brave bunny!!

      July 23, 2011 at 1:41 am

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