Even though I've seen the pics, I just didn't get it and was quite surprised at this venue. After a restful nite and packing up camp after hiking Humphreys the day before, the remainder of our ABC group headed over to this hike which was a hop, skip and jump from our camp site.
We walked a little ways to the cave entrance, took the obligatory group shot, bundled up, put our headlamps on and headed into the abyss. The chill in the air as we slipped into darkness reminded me of the meat locker we had at the farm. I didn't much like going into it to get potatoes or whatever either but at least I was dressed appropriately for this next foray Wendy was taking me on.
It takes awhile to adjust to the lack of light and to using your headlamp's light to guide you as you rock hop in this first section. Wendy seemed pretty adept at moving on this cave floor while I was struggling a bit to get my footing from section to section. It is such a surreal place with incredible walls and rock formations and fissures. It reminded me a bit of some of the Disney/Knottsberry park stuff you see except that this is REAL.
Eventually the rock terrain gives way to a somewhat flatter but bumpy surface. You can pick up the pace a little and breath a little more normally. But now, on occasion you have to watch your head as the tube can go from cathedral like ceiling to 5 foot ceilings and in one area, even a little lower and in another area even lower than that but Wendy didn't take me THAT way. The lowest area we came to, on the right hand side there are the letters: D U C K; even Wendy had to get a lot lower for that area
The one thing with walking thru here is as hard as you may concentrate on managing the terrain, you have to be sure to look up or you'll bop your head
. We eventually got to THE END and took all sorts of cool pictures. A couple of the guys wanted to try the writing in the air with the light and tracing your body so we did that and then finished with us all posing and pointing our lights in various directions on the cave. Top Model doesn't have anything on us
As we headed back the Tube Cave became more and more crowded. Also, the condensation on the bottom of my shoes was building up and so it got a lot more slippery. I did get dripped on too; Wendy said the Tube Cave was blessing me
. We continue to trudge along at a pretty good pace and then I see light. I asked Wendy what happened to that narrow slit we were supposed to take on the south side? I thot we had passed it but wasn't sure. Wendy decided I'd had enough so we didn't get to go that way. I guess that leaves another adventure open for the taking. Next time, I will wear my hiking boots for better traction.
Along the way Wendy picked up several cigarette butts
and we could smell smoke. Seriously, can folks not wait a couple hours to light up or do they think it's cool to light up in the Tube Cave so that we can all smell that. And it's not that I mind the cigarette smoking or the smoke
, it's doing that IN the Tube cave
where the ventilation is already limited and showing respect for this work of nature. Sheesh!
Because of the crowds coming in Wendy and I got to climb up and out of the Tube Cave on the south side. I always like a little climbing so that was a fun way to end our weekend adventure around Flagstaff.