July 4th Weekend 2004
Excellent Eagle Cave Information
By Devon McCullough
I'm in the Adirondacks with the MIT cave club,
Jason leading the trip, Mariela from Venezuela,
Cindy from Alaska who went to school in Boulder.
Had a grand time lost in the cornfields with this
hand-drawn map, finally found the cave, descent by
rope, Cindy and I lacking wet suits we stick to the
"dry" part of the cave which involves bellying along
in cold water, I decided I could go faster by rolling
only to notice too late that my back was the only part
still dry. Then late barbecue at Jason's friend Mike's
and crash downstairs amongst aquaria and angelfish, fine
time, had my doubts when starting out but I'd do it again.
Meet up with Mike, Matt and Sh???? [an Indian name],
hike to Chimney Mountain, enter the crag at the top,
rope up and rappel eighty feet to a big room, wander
around admiring ice formations and the like, on exit
get lost for a couple of hours but finally find some
arrows scrawled on some rocks. A room or so higher,
we meet the rest of the party who had retraced their
steps as we tried for a direct route. Return was by
roll-up metal ladder rather than rope ascent because
time was running late. A bone-dry cave, modulo ice!
Made a big pot of delicious chili on two campstoves,
bushwhacked a tent site and slept warm by starlight.
Indian River raft tour, I take a spill on the first hairy rapids, the
apprentice guide reaches his paddle to me but I'm too addled to grab
it, then I wise up and reach my paddle out, which he grabs just as the
current sweeps me nearly out of reach from the raft, I'm hauled back
on board by the life vest. So that's why they cinch it so tight you
can't quite inhale. Afterwards the river guides grill us steak and
corn on the cob, cole slaw and pasta salad on the side, so exhausted I
forget the watermelon I've been saving all trip, could have eaten it
while snoozing and waiting for the grill, how typically 4th of July.
Now, most people would fetch the beer and head for the hot tub at this
point but not the MIT Caving Club, we drive back to Chimney Mountain,
set up camp near last night's site and hike several miles to a nearby
lake. Ah, how the cool refreshing waters chill my aching calves. Air
drying afterwards, I felt my spiritual connection to the big national
Rainbow Family of Living Light Gathering of the Tribes, hey look, it's
the 4th and I'm building a fire, nekked by a lake in the woods! At
this point some censorship may be required, I skinny dipped but Jason
is bashful about such things. The gals were more provident and
actually wore swimsuits. Corona goes good with s'mores it turns out.
Who could imagine, the lean-to by the lake unclaimed and available on
a 4th of July evening! Having neither imagined it nor packed sleeping
bags, we douse the fire and hike back, pausing with lights out to
experience fireflies which are new to both Cindy and Mariela and
resting on a beach to look at the stars and nearly doze off but so
near the tents we bushwhack our way back, get lost in the woods,
return to trail, try again, Jason spots his bright orange tent,
Lucky we felt it in the air last night and set up the tents for rain.
Pack out, clean up at a convenience store in the town of Indian Lake,
go back to the raft outfitters' for Cindy's hat, go back to Mike's to
return his radios, zoom down the pike, snack at Friendly's, I drive a
lot faster than Jason but take an extra pit stop during which Mariela
spots his car zooming by, after the Cambridge toll exit we're back on
his tail, he tries a random U-turn but can't shake us, at MIT we open
the cooler to split the awesome pot o' chili, it's full of melted ice
so I take Mariela to Simmons and am writing this on an empty stomach.