We met our tour guide Guy and then made our way down into the cave via a elevator. I wasn't sure what to expect and originally we were supposed to do the lantern tour. When we first started looking into a trip to the caverns I was set on not doing the adventure tour but for some reason after looking at the website one day at work I decided to go for it. A quick email exchange with Erik, with whom it was not hard to convince at all, and I was signing us up for the tour.
The tour itself was a lot of fun and perfect for a first time nervous "splunker." Erik would have preferred to do something a bit more hardcore (he likes to rock climb like with real rocks and real cliffs) but we both had a good time. The tours could potentially have up to 6 people but since I booked this one in the winter when the its not "tourist season" we were able to tour alone which worked perfectly. We suited up in boots, gloves, hard hats, headlamps, kneepads, and jumpsuits. Guy was knowledgeable and a great tour guide. We crawled through the cave on our hands and knees until we got into the Great Rotunda room which was pretty impressive. We turned off our headlights and sat in the dark because as Guy mentioned, you never just get to sit in a completely dark silent room. If you want to experience darkness, sitting in a cave is definitely the way to do it. Of course after a few minutes you mind starts to go a little crazy and you're ready for the lights to be back on.
|The Great Rotunda!|
On our way back Guy joked that if we really wanted we could be more adventurous and turn off our lights and crawl back in the dark. I knew Erik was definitely into it so I agreed. Luckily Guy crawled ahead a bit and was able to relay some information as to what I should be feeling for (I was ahead of Erik) and we slowly made our way to the "mud room." Of course in the dark you were left to feel for everything before you moved so I'm sure Guy got a kick out of my running commentary and telling Erik "hey - that's not a wall!" as he pawed at my backside.
Finally we made it to the mud room, turned on our lights and climbed in. It was literally this small off shoot that was just filled with a thick layer of mud. It was quite fun as long as you didn't panic when you got stuck. You definitely sank in but as long as you kept moving you were OK. After the mud room we turned off our lights and crawled back through the rest of the cave and back to the start. Guy got a picture of us afterwards and we were definitely a bit muddier than when we started.
Of course after we stripped off all the gear I was not as happy to find that I had mud all over the bottoms of my legs, my arms and worst of all my hair. Oh and when the mud dries, which it definitely will, it will lead to a few tears as you attempt to get it out in the shower.
All in all, it was pretty awesome and I'd definitely recommend it!