Snail Shell June 24, 2006
It had rained Friday evening, and Saturday morning, but had stopped by the time we got to the cave. After the April 2005 trip, I expected everyone would abort, and go somewhere else. Instead, they wanted to "just go look". After looking, they decided "it doesn't look that bad" and "let's see how far we can get".
The water was deeper, and the current stronger than the last trip, but still passable. The subtle thing we overlooked was the current was getting stronger the farther we went. 20/20 hindsite, it should have been less each time we passed a side lead where more water came in.
When we got to the crawl, there was no airspace. It had to be at least 6" deeper than last trip, but we knew how to climb over, so on we went.
The waterfall was really gushing, but the water at the bottom was deeper, so it wasn't as far to climb up. I only got dunked once this time :-)
The "beach" where we usually gear up was almost underwater. Our weights were just barely visible on top of the rock pile. My guess that meant the water was up about 18".
The original plan was to try to push the low airspace that we found at the end of the November 2004 trip, but we knew it would be a sump for sure now. Brian was determined to do something, so he went to see if the line had survived the last flood. He came back and reported the line was in good condition, and grabbed his camera to take pictures. Mark geared up, and went with him.
They were gone about 2 hours. They had taken pictures all the way to the crossroads we had found about 1/2 mile in.
Brian is going to do a report on that part of the trip, so "stay tuned".
The trip out was....well....a "Trip".
The water had gone up while were in there, and the current was stronger. The rapids above the waterfall were ferocious! I tried to straddle the stream, but my legs were too short to make it past the last plunge pool above the highest part of the falls. I tried to jump past the pool, but didn't make it. My leg got caught in the pool. I got "flushed" over anyway, but my knee got twisted in the process. I was pulled under briefly, but popped up a couple of seconds later. I began to wonder how I was going to walk out.
As it turned out, there wasn't much walking to do. The water was so high and fast that we sat down and pretended we were at "White Water" amusement park :-) I think we made our record short exit time this trip. I did have a little trouble using fins at the long entrance swim, but I managed to find one of Exley's propulsion techniques that didn't hurt my knee too much. (the shuffle kick)
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