This weekend, a group of seven of us went on an adventure which included exploring a new cave system, hiking, and lots of gluttonous eating. For Friday night we arranged to couchsurf with a local named David. The drive was slow due to weather so by the time we arrived we all just spread out our bed rolls on David’s floor and went to sleep.
The next morning we headed to Wayne Cave. We spent a solid hour just looking for the cave. It turns out the “well flagged” trail was pretty impossible to follow in the snow. After calling and getting some help from the cave manager, we came upon a small hole in the ground with a locked metal gate covering it. We opened it up, tied up a rope and descended into darkness. Wayne’s Cave is not the easiest cave, mostly because of a 1200 foot crawl. On our hands and knees (and sometimes our chest) we inched our way through sharp gravelly rocks, wet muddy puddles, Stalactite Squeeze, Why the Hell Squeeze, and various other features that made us question our life decisions. We were finally rewarded when the passage opened up to a large room. In front of us was a steep drop about thirty feet and we had to skirt around the sloped edge to a spot where we could safely climb down. From there on out it was pretty easy going as we were able to walk around on two feet and climb a couple mountains of crumbled rocks. We decided to turn back since it was getting late. We powered through the dreaded crawl again, fueled by the thoughts of a pizza dinner, and exited the cave. We called Lara, who had begun to worry and probably would have called for a rescue team if we had taken much longer.
[Side note: Though you’ll probably hear a lot of complaining about caving, most people that have done it will admit that it’s pretty fun and an amazing experience. It’s a little tricky and a bit dangerous to get into on your own, so if you’re interested, please let me know. If you’re serious about going on a trip, we can plan another one like this and make sure it fits your schedule.]
Lara, having broken her ankle recently, wisely decided not to cave. Instead she explored Bloomington, visiting the farmer’s market, the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center and some other places in town. The caving crew met up with her at Max’s Place for a filling dinner (with mud still caked on our pants). Sara, who was in town for a play, had reserved a hotel room. After dinner we stealthily got the entire muddy group in, secured extra towels, and set up camp on the floor for the night.
We left town Sunday, stopping at McCormick’s Creek State Park for a brief viewing of the frozen waterfalls and a hike. Finally we finished things off with an Indian buffet at Udupi Cafe in Indianapolis.
Two other groups from the adventure club provided even more weekend options for fun closer to town. Craig led a group to Swiss Valley for some exciting downhill skiing Saturday night. Then David assembled a team to cross-country ski St. Patrick’s County Park on Sunday. Both trips looked like lots of fun.