#15 – Getting Stuck – 1982

Written by Russell Burrows:

After I had progressed back into the cave a ways, I came upon the first bad stumbling block. In fact, it was a good-sized stumbling block. It probably weighs about ten tons or so and it has fallen from the roof of the cave into the passageway. I looked it all over and decided the best way to proceed was to climb over the top. It would be tight, but I had looked at both ends and figured there would be more room on top. But I would have to get up there and look it over to be sure.

I don’t really know why now, but I started to wiggle over the top of the boulder on my back. After scooting along a few feet I realized that from that position I couldn’t see where I was going or look over the far edge when I got there. I had to scoot back out again and do it right. This time I began to crawl in on my belly, and when I had reached the other side I could see another smaller block next to the big one I was on. I thought maybe I could squeeze down enough to see under the other block which was on the far side of the first one. Well, I got down there and got stuck.

This was a time and a situation where it would have been easy to panic, but I guess I got lucky. I didn’t go nuts. I froze in the position I was in for some time and thought it all out. How did I get here? After reasoning that out I thought it out in reverse.

Surely, I reasoned, if I move in the reverse of the way I got in here I should be able to get back out again. It was a struggle but it worked. I was free but back where I started, on the wrong side of the large block of stone. I knew that I was going to have to go back in again, as I knew the cave went on for a ways beyond this block.

What if I went over the far edge of the block like a crab, eased my legs down, one foot in front of the other, and at the same time, as I dropped down, began to work my feet and legs under the end of the far block? I gave it a try. Sure enough, it worked – to a point. I realized that I was going to have to get my left foot down there first or I couldn’t make the twist and slide needed to get through. I knew that if the way was blocked further on, so that it proved impossible to go further, at least I could get back out. I am always confidant that if I came through a certain place I can always get through it going the other way. If I can get one shoulder and my head into an opening, I can get my whole body through.

I came back out and gave it another try. This time I went down with my left foot first and sure enough, slicker ‘n grease on a door knob, I slid right down and under the block.

Now I was looking at another problem. Here I was, lying on my belly; how was I going to get back out from under this rock and on top of the other one? I took the time to figure it out. I knew that I had just about reached the limit of my endurance for this one day. After assuring myself that the cave did not end there, I worked my way back out and began to plan for an all-out assault. I just had to find out where this cave went, how deep it was and what else of interest was back there. Above all, I wanted to know who these people were that had used it so long ago. Little did I know all the trouble I was getting into.