I am sore. I am tired. I am bruised. I was bloody. But I was not broken; instead I felt so alive and so happy.
We made it into the cave I have wanted to be in so long. Long and repeated trips to the sump to see if the water is down. I got word while I was in Wyoming that it was finally passable. However, we found another obstacle just past the sump, after a wonderful room with about a 100 foot ceiling.
The next sump was clogged with silt and cobble. We dug for 6 hours the first day, hauling buckets that weighed between 30-40 lbs each. I got most of the bucket haul duty while Brian was scrunched over digging. Day 2 was 4 hours before we broke through, making a "worm hole" that was a little suspect. We had rock wall on one side and overhead but an unstable silt and cobble bank on the right that could collapse easily so as we squeezed through we had to be very careful to avoid being buried by the right bank. We carried digging equipment to the other side just in case we had to dig ourselves out. Scouting we discovered a high lead that would get us through with some climbing; I was relieved we had another escape route.
The endless magic begins. Huge rooms, pools, sculpted black rock floors, massive rimstone and flowstone formations, wild colors and patterns, intimate hallways, some crawlways, scrambling through some massive breakdown. I had three cameras, one failed with a lens problem, the other the batteries both ran down quickly ( I had charged them previously) and the Sony didn't let me down, but as the bulkiest camera it was the hardest to get out and use .
Brian was so patient as this was specifically set up so I could do my photo thing. We were eventually stopped by a small lake, we both were so tired and couldn't stomach stripping down and swimming in the cold cold water. So we made our way out, with the demanding scrambling, and climbing, and my dream is reality. Plans are a return in two weeks with another caver. And maybe I'll bring my wetsuit-