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My caving adventure: crawling through mud, water and fear

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Casey Chung, Wheatley Heights

Every summer I go to Indian Head Camp in Pennsylvania. This past summer my entire bunk went on a caving excursion. We started out at Lincoln Lake and then took a two-hour bus ride to caves in the Appalachian Mountains. When we arrived at the cave, what amazed me the most was how big the cave was. We got into the cave and the once-in-a-lifetime experience began.

The cave opening was only three feet high, so we had to crawl through. The freezing cold, mud-filled cave was making me wet and dirty with chills. We had headlights attached to our helmets, and as soon as we stopped, the caving guides yelled: Turn the lights off!

The cave turned pitch black. The guides spoke for a minute, their voices echoing off the walls of the cave. Finally, we turned our headlights on and began crawling again.

Now we are up to the hardest point of the journey — the point I have been dreading the whole time, the deep, narrow part. My heart starts beating so fast, I feel like it is going to explode. Because this was our first time caving, we have the guides go in the front and in the back to watch us. That helps boost my confidence. I am on my knees crawling, and all of sudden the freezing cold water rises. It is now up to my chest, and I can barely move. I keep going with the help of my friends and finally reach the end of the cave.

I get out of the cave and the blaring sun catches my eyes — it takes me a minute to adjust. I can no longer see my clothes, only mud. We change and get back on the road to go back to camp. I am so thankful I got to have that amazing experience and really hope I can go caving again.

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