Last Sunday night, we went back to the abandoned mine in Carthage and did a little underground boating.
Sertile, Dru, Hiccup, and I arrived in Carthage shortly after dark. I'd bought a four-man inflatable boat from Wal-mart the day befoar, which we proceeded to inflate beside my car. I'd thought about bringing my canoe instead of buying the inflatable, but I'd decided against it. It would've been a lot of trouble to secure it to my car and drive all the way to Carthage like that. When the inflatable was all blown up, I balanced it on my head and we started heading into the woods.
Inside, we stopped to rest for a minute while I lit my kerosene lantern. I'd brought it this time so that I could actually take some decent long exposure shots of the mine's interior. While we were messing with that, I used my ten million CP spotlight to light up the mine for Hiccup. It was her first visit to a place like this, so it was pretty cool to see her amazed reaction. With the lantern lit, I took a couple quick pictures to show everyone what I could do with a constant light source. It was also nice to have the constant glow lighting our way, and I was kicking myself for not bringing it last time.
We made our way through the mine after that, finding the road down into the lower level. The water level seemed to be down a few feet from the last time, and we stopped at the edge to unload the gear we weren't planning on taking out on the water. Then, we all began piling into the inflatable and quickly realized that our four-man boat didn't hold four people very well.
Dru and I both took an oar and started paddling, while Sertile took lantern duty at the front of the boat, and we began slowly moving away from the shoar. I think we all felt an uneasy moment where we realized we were heading out onto what amounted to a frigid underground lake. It was a little nerve-wracking, but extremely exhilerating. We drifted through the water at a leisurely place, just enjoying the sight of the unnaturally green water all around us. We also kept cracking pirate jokes, and Dru was nice enough to sing a few bars of Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum on video for me.
We went and made a large loop back around to the second entrance to the lower level. We pulled into the shoar there to switch positions, and so that I could go back to my backpack and get my camcorder. I ran up the slope to the upper level, then back around to our gear, and quickly realized that I had accidentally left the camcorder in the car. Since I wasn't going all the way back to the car, I returned to the boat without it.
This time, Hiccup took lantern duty at the front of the boat, Dru held the spotlight and my camera, and Sertile and I took up the oars. We spent the next couple hours paddling aimlessly around the lower level, exploring every part of it. At some point, I took up both oars, since it seemed to be moar efficient. It was a little slower going, but it was easier to control which direction the boat was going.
Every now and then we'd come to a spot that was too shallow to pass and we'd start dragging bottom, but we always managed to find an alternate route around them. We'd also come across areas where the water was well over ten feet deep. It was a little scary to know that if we tipped the boat over there, we'd have a nightmare of a time swimming and wading in the icy water back to one of the entrances.
After a while, although we were having a blast, the cramped conditions of the boat started taking their toll on all of us. Plus, my arms were getting really tired from all the paddling. So, we started heading back, slowing down just long enough to take pictures of anything that caught our eye. Even making a pretty much direct line back to where we put in, it still took foarver to get back.
Back at the shoar, we piled out and got our gear together. I started deflating the boat, while Dru and Sertile wondered around to examine some discarded signs that were laying in the dirt. There were several strange ones, the funniest being one that Dru found with the word "BABIES" on it. Once the boat was finished, we went up to the upper level where everyone milled around while I took a few long exposure shots.
As we were finally leaving, we decided to try leaving a different way and got a nasty surprise. We headed out through another entrance that we'd found on our first visit, made our way through the woods for a few hundred feet, and came right out on the road. If we'd known how to get to that entrance on the way in, we could've saved ourselves about five minutes of marching through the woods in the dark.
We were all exhausted by the time we made it back to the car, but it was well worth it. I mean, there really wasn't much to see in the flooded section other than water and rock columns, but there was something amazing about floating through a cave on a bright green body of water. Even without the change in scenery, it was one of the most amazing explorations I've ever done.
Comments are closed for this post.
Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.
|<< <||> >>|