jenn August 27th, 2013
Rain and I were out on a hike/walk. I saw an unmarked, overgrown trail going down into the deep gorge that we camped on the rim of. I like to search the unknown and walking along the road is boring. Anyway, we were both tired of walking on the road. Off it we went.
The trail went a few hundred feet and then seemed to end at an overlook. I wondered what was below me. I was definitely standing on a rocky outcropping. I know there are know caves within 10s of miles, so I thought that I might be on top of one.
As much as I wanted to go down, It was just Rain and I. Johnny had no idea where we were. The ridge was very steep and covered with dead leaves. If I slipped and hit my head, rescue wouldn’t show up for hours or even days. It would be foolish of me to go by myself. So, after taking a minute to weigh my choices, I decided to head down.
I plotted my decent. Most of the trees were too far from the path to offer much support. The support they did offer came in the form of dead limbs. I was stuck using thorny vines for balance. No matter. I made it to the bottom where I wanted to be. Rain had little to no trouble.
Once there, I found what was going to be, or what used to be (before a collapse) a cave. Actually, thinking back, it had the precision of something man made. It was a roughly cut rock shelter 3 feet deep and 8 feet wide with a 6 foot ceiling. Limestone walls shot out along the ridge on either side of it. The sight of which pushed all recognition of danger out of my head, even if Rain acted like she wanted to go back up the trail. It was time to go ridge walking and look for caves!
We scrambled over rocks and climbed under downed trees. I poked my head in holes. Rain sniffed leaves. While fun, it was pretty uneventful. I saw this spot on the ridge below us that looked very promising. We started heading down. Then, I saw it. I picked it up and examined it. I looked at the seemingly concave, rocky wall that was our destination. I looked at the object again. As bad as I wanted to go further, I couldn’t. In my hand, I held a sun bleached femur with a bear’s teeth marks etched into it.
I turned back. Kicking myself the whole way, I retreated. We both made it back up the gorge much more quickly than we had descended it. No more poking my head in holes. No more exploring. We now had a destination.
We weren’t in any real danger. Only perceived. While it crossed my mind, the bone surely was too thick to be human. I assume a camper had brought a cow bone for their pup and a visiting bear lifted it from the campsite. It was old. Just because there WAS a bear there doesn’t mean that there IS a bear there. Hiking around here, you pass all kinds of bear scat, marking and dinning locations.
I chickened out. But on the bright side, I lived another day. I am planning on returning in the next two days. I moved the bone, so hopefully I wont get spooked this time Haha I just know there is a cave a little ways down that ridge around those rocks. Cavers last words? Or, perhaps their first.