OK,as we have already established most of my formative years were spent deep in the heart of dixie. Otherwise known as Alabama. Growing up in bama there were not very many things to do as a young boy. As a result of this, I grew to love hiking. Since it was either hike or watch the grass grow. During the summer months you would find me, either solo or with a group, trekking the mountains that surrounded my home.

One of my favorite jaunts was a creek that was not too far from our house. It had a few fairly deep pools that we would eventually swim in when the humidity got to be too much and we needed a break. About 200 yards from where we would swim the stream went underground leaving a huge dry creek bed heading up the mountain,when I say huge I mean big,like it may have,at one time been a river before it headed underground to emerge again as a small creek. On one of our group hikes we decided to hike up the mountain following the dried out creek bed.And that my friends is where this hike turned interesting.

About 45min hiking up the creek bed, we saw a hole that was partially hidden by a boulder. It was decided that we explore this,as there was no way it could possibly put us in any sort of danger. Since I was the coordinator of the expedition I was given the honor of first dibs on entering. The hole was about 3feet long and 2 feet high, easy enough to get through. After entering the hole I found that I could stand (if a little hunched over)and called out to my friends that I was going back further. I took three steps and fell about Five feet. I hit my left knee fairly hard on the dirt packed and rock strewn floor. I yelled out in pain and fear. It was at that point that my friend Sean showed up. He called to me to make sure I was OK. I told him that I was and guided him to get to where I was.

After he entered the lower room we,sans light,tried to see just how far back this second room went. I was flailing my arms out from my body and high above my head when CRACK, my right hand came in hard contact with the wall.Sean and I being of superior intelligence, decided to stop where we were, climb back out and come back with equipment better suited for spelunking the following weekend. How I got out of the cave with a bum left knee and a throbbing right hand is all a blur.I do remember Sean having to push me up the spot that I fell from. We made it home with no further incidents. The next few days were filled with anticipation about returning to the caves. We being young (13ish I believe) had all kinds of thoughts about discovering a cave never before touched by humans. I can tell you it was all very Tom Sawyeresque.

We did go back the following weekend with rope,lights and a few more people. We were very excited about our discovery. That is until we got down there and started exploring. The trash and graffiti made it very hard to keep up the illusion of no human finding the caves before us. However we enjoyed a fun filled day of exploring the cave. It was actually a large cave with 4 rooms and various offshooting paths. We went back a few other times during that summer. But, as with most things,we quickly lost interest in exploring it further. And moved on to bigger and better things.

So let's recap: Only one thing can be learned from this little adventure. If you ever find yourself hiking a dried out creek bed always remember to bring rope and light. You can never tell what you might find.