reply to post by Skyfloating
You seem to have an interest Sky
Ever get down there?
Before I get back to work I figure I should share the story of "the big one" where I actually got into what I believe was the coconino for the sake
of sharing it...
I found the entrance on the Navajo Res about 18 months ago. I had recently had some major changes in my life and had gone up to the res to chat around
about various legends and such.
I was told of some caves in a particular area and spent about a day looking, I found the particular entrance late in the day and had little equipment
with me, not even a hard hat.
The entrance was barely a crack and I had to squeeze sideways to get into it, I spent maybe 2 hrs and realized I had stumbled into a good deep vein,
the cave was typical of having been formed via a sinkhole process and I could see where the water would flow into it as it gathered in the small
valley when it rained, it was classic of most truly deep caves in that it was steep and downward at a fairly precarious angle...
I couldn't go too far because I need to work the next day.
Three weeks later I was back, this time with gear for an over night and enough lights and shin guards and hard hat and ropes and markers.
On this Trek, I made it down far enough to reach the bottom of the whole where there was a large open cavern, not huge but a good limestone cave and
it was down deep, it was very pretty, stalactites, some small crystal formation but most best was large amounts Of fools gold in a white rock emerging
from one corner of the chamber which was maybe half the size of a football field
I found several veins leading away 3 in total 2 of which turned out to be dead ends within a few hundred feet or so, but the third went downward at
not as steep and angle and ended in a sheer drop off an edge of a chasm I could barely see the other side of with my best light.
So I camped in the large chamber and made my way home the next day.
The 3rd trip about a month and a half later I brought an oxygen supply because of the depths I felt I was reaching and rappelling equipment and
prepared to spend the entire weekend.
I went to the bottom on the first day, since I rappelled I knew the length, over 600 ft to the bottom of the chasm where I found the cause of it being
there a small stream cutting it's way through the Earth I followed this for a couple of hrs which had me very excited. I was full of adrenaline
because this was by far the scariest thing I had ever done, Rappelling in total darkness is Nothing for the faint of heart.
It ended finally with a large lake up against a very smooth rock formation, and what I saw was that there was current and the water flowed freely
It was absolutely Amazing, honestly this particular spot is why I say you could live down there, small fish (not albino) but almost translucent
inhabited the perfectly clear water, there were also albino millipedes and believe it or not some sort of flying insect that was fed on by bats,
which... I had never heard of bats venturing so deep into a Cave before...
Still I had no need for oxygen and it was extremely pleasant to stay there, the lake and chamber were very large, small city block large, and there
was...a sky, because the stream had cut so deep there was hardly a visible ceiling, just small points of light glistening from the stalactites high
above on moist spots.
This btw scared the life out of me because I would imagine a stalactite falling from hundreds of feet would make short work of me and the floor was
covered in rubble where over time they had fallen.
I had no idea what the frequency of that occurring would be, it could be once a month or once a decade, but obviously at a certain weight they would
fall and I was careful to be very silent so as not to get myself killed
But most amazing was the columns, in some spots over what must have been eons, some had actually grown together, only a handful but they stood around
the lake like giant Sequoias where they had... The hand full of stalactites that had resisted the fall and met their stalagmite counterparts over
time, I have never seen anything like it and doubt I ever will
Once again though I had hit a barrier at the Lake
3 months later, I returned
This time a brought a friend because I had already gone to a dangerous place alone and this next maneuver was going to need help.
I brought the scuba gear and made the mistake of bringing an inexperienced caver along, a friend who I knew would keep the location secret, I did not
want my find taken away from me and he was a man I could trust.
The whole thing was an ordeal from the Rappelling on, I probably should have turned around, it took a couple of hrs to get him down, he ..a very tough
fellow, simply did not have the absence of "the fear"
We managed to get down and I set up for the dive, but unlike me who was awed by the location, when I told him of silence because of falling rock.. he
became petrified, said "people shouldn't be in this place" which actually frightened me because... I was counting on him to tow my line if I got
stuck or lost under water
I went in anyway, no way I was missing this chance, I swam comfortable to the rock wall and the small fish seemed oblivious to me, sure enough about 2
feet down there was a wide opening that spanned what must have been the whole of the lake, I got under it and was in a chamber of undetermined width
and the height from bottom of water to top of roof had to have been 100 ft or more... but as I swam down, it was like diving in an open lake it was
free water in every direction but up, I stayed mostly aside for checking depth to the top of the water about 10 feet from the ceiling
Near my 30 minute mark, I found finally an open space as described previously and left the water to sit upon a rock, the cieling was high here again
but nothing other than small rock islands coming out of the water
Strangest place I had ever been... it obviously remained like that for a long time, but I couldn't really surface swim with tanks, I just saw no
This was the largest chamber I had ever been in and the presence of Stalactites and stalagmites told me that at times this place has been dry and the
smoothness of stalagmites under the water said it had been wet along time though...
I dove back under after about an hour on the rock and swam back, that is when I noticed what seemed to be larger fish, but what ever they were they
did not want any part of me and kept away from my light...
I don't imply any creature or anything strange, I saw what appeared to be the flash of a Fish, a small fin or tail... not sure, but it was larger
than any cave fish I had seen before that's all
I made it back to the chamber with a bit of oxygen to spare and found
My poor friend standing white as a ghost petrified...
He has seen the millipedes and was afraid they were poisonous (maybe they were who knows) he had tears running down his face and to this day has not
completely forgiven me for bringing him down there
He obviously had a really bad time of it alone in the darkness, which I hadn't anticipated, he was very gruff about the whole thing when I had
questioned him prior, "No problem" but I will say I'm glad I hadn't needed him to reel me in.
To this day he claims he heard something moving in there and I am sure it was a complete hallucination beyond perhaps the scurry of something but...
he was petrified, Insisted on making our way back without sleeping down there, which was dangerous as heck because it's not an easy climb in any spot
and tokes a day to reach... not exploring any side passages or anything, each trip was always a beeline because it's basically a run to greater
depths and easy to find and follow the right path to do so. (unless there are others which there could be)
and we did not stop except for rest until we reached the surface exhausted awake for about 48 hrs and then still lol, he refused to sleep near the
cave and made me drive 5 or 6 miles away.
Talking outside all he said and had ever said on the subject was " I just felt like I was going to hell"
And he is a rock climbing pal, he had all the skills....
But something about the depth and length of time down there I guess got to him, because I was mostly comfortable
I felt the "terror" a few times "The Rappelling into the chasm" I also felt it then... and the initial dive and when in the water in the chamber
where I saw the Fish... seeing something not tiny Move miles into a cave and what had to be a 2/3 a mile while under water gave me a moment of utter
fright... I understand it, but like I never fully got how people go off on a bad trip... a few breaths and I know it's an irrational thing and I
shake it in a matter of a minute...
But I "get it" because it's going to hit you once in a while and it's not like I haven't felt it...
I haven't been back but 1 time since, this summer I was on smaller chambers when I went, teaching my son how to explore and having fun and doing
simple dives in simple caves and working...
But i'll be getting my Rebreather so I can stay down for hrs at a time and I'm going to find what lies beyond in there
I'm sure I entered the actual aquifer which I don't think anyone has ever done, the depth seemed to be right
But I need equipment, particularly an underwater camera, the scuba gear to do last year set me into financial troubles for months... but i need that
Camera equipment too...
Some hobbies... cost a fortune and take a lifetime, just how it goes...
But that cave is my sweatheart, I won't see the entrance sealed until I document it and I know especially on res land where superstitions abound that
is what will be done.