The most challenging part of the day for me was the rappel. I’ve done some outdoor climbing before (and when I say some, I mean once or twice) and had to rappel. I thought that would prepare me for doing it in a cave. Tim being the more experienced caver than I (again once or twice), he went first. When Sarah, our guide, turned to me and asked if I was ready, I must have been as white as a ghost and replied: “not at all.” But I wasn’t about to be the one holding up the entire group, so I mustered my courage and went on my way.
I’ve recently learned that if you give me something to focus on while I’m internally (and probably externally) freaking out, I get distracted. And that’s what happened, I was so focused on keeping my rope lined up that I was at the bottom before I knew it and Tim was there to unclip me. Much less scary than I thought. Sarah also reassured me that I was on a backup line, so if I happened so slip or lose my footing, she’d catch me.
By this time, another caver, Michelle and I had bonded over our fear. From that point on, we ended up leading the group right behind our guide Sarah. Cheering each other on through the laundry chute and our group-voted, all-lights-out crawl, we made it through and were laughing at ourselves by the end.