Going Underground – Haiku (and more)

Arizona sun

relentless for months on end-

we went underground.

Lava Caves

Over the weekend, we went somewhere that forced me to face a few of my fears all at one time.  It wasn’t exactly by choice… I was kind of out-voted, and majority rules.  I don’t know why no one wanted to stay home and clean our tile floors.

We went on an excursion to the Lava River Cave (near Flagstaff, AZ.)   Fears aside, I looked forward to one thing:  40 degree temperatures inside the cave.  It’s been quite warm (okay, hot) in Arizona for a few months, so being cold without standing in front of the wide-open freezer sounded rather nice.

Good news:  I only bumped my head on low ceilings twice (you’d think I’d have learned after the first time, but no,)  and despite my older son’s effort to freak me out with claims of seeing bats, none nested in my hair (I checked.)

My older son led the way and as usual, I was the last of our group.   There is a danger of being left behind when you’re last, but I had insurance:  I packed the snacks in my knapsack.  Yep… that’s one way to make sure they keep me close.

I mentioned in the beginning that this one mile walk would have me encounter several fears.  You might guess that bats is one of those fears.  Now, I’m not afraid of bats per se… just bats deep inside a cave.  This brings me to another fear that I break into a sweat just thinking of:  enclosed spaces.  I only had one near panic attack in area that was about three feet high.  My family was there for me… well, my husband at least- he held my hand and talked me through it while my kids laughed at me.  (Charming little men, they are…)

I am also not a fan of the dark, or rather the things I can’t see because it’s dark.  I had this covered, though.  I carried two flashlights and a baggie with twelve AA batteries.  Hey, when facing fears, I didn’t intend to go down without a light, I mean fight 🙂

Oh dear, that was terrible. I really should see about writing my posts earlier in the evening!

Do you share any of these fears?  Have you explored caves?

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41 thoughts on “Going Underground – Haiku (and more)

  1. suzicate August 5, 2014 / 5:08 AM

    I think caves are really cool from the outside…I’m with you on the fears of being in them! Smart lady to hoard the snacks to make sure you get out alive!

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 8:29 PM

      I’m glad I’m not alone with the fears, Suzicate! The snacks were a good call… my boys like to eat 🙂

  2. Deborah August 5, 2014 / 5:52 AM

    That wasn’t terrible! It was awesome. I love how your husband was there for you during the rough spot. It’s always funny to the young guys until they get into something that scares them. 😉 I loved your account, and your smart packing — the light and batteries, and keeping snacks under your control. You’re awesome!

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:17 PM

      Thanks, Deborah! I’m always safe if I keep the snacks with me 🙂

  3. Robin Leigh Morgan August 5, 2014 / 5:55 AM

    It’s interesting how much the world around you changes once you enter a “new realm” and again when you come back to this one. You enter way before the sun has reached its zenith and come back out when it’s ebbing on the horizon.

    Been busy – got to see if I can play catch up to the Haikus I’ve missed. Here’s my Haiku response for this week. Enjoy

    In caves beneath ground
    Bears spend the winter asleep
    Wake with earth’s rebirth

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:18 PM

      Oh, I didn’t even think of bears! Yikes, that would’ve been a shock for sure, Robin. I like your spring-time haiku 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:20 PM

      Me too – it’s an awful feeling, Yarnspinnerr.

      • yarnspinnerr August 6, 2014 / 10:32 PM

        Yes it makes things difficult sometimes. 🙂

  4. Sean August 5, 2014 / 9:28 AM

    I think I have been there but that was before it had its name. I was probably around the age of your oldest when I went. It was fun. It’s always interesting when you can find a place where few people have gone. I’m guessing it is pretty overran now compared to back in the day. Of course I remember when you could get close to Montezuma’s castle and my mom said that when she was young, you could go up in it. Glad to see that you and the fam were able to get out and explore a bit even if bats didn’t land in your hair. Take care.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:30 PM

      There were quite a few people there, Sean – even on a rainy day with muddy roads. Times have changed with respect to access to monuments. I guess it has to be done to preserve them for the next generation to see. Hope you are doing well!

  5. nrhatch August 5, 2014 / 10:31 AM

    Good for you for facing your fears AND bringing extra batteries!

    We’ve visited a few caves and I enjoyed them, but was always happy to be topside again. Bats don’t bother me . . . but I wouldn’t want them swooping around my head in the dark.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:40 PM

      I couldn’t even think about being that far underground or I would’ve freaked myself out, Nancy. Turns out we didn’t need the batteries, but better safe than in the dark (with bats 🙂 )

  6. Lance August 5, 2014 / 3:02 PM

    I’ve never done this but want to, it looks like a true adventure. If we come visit will you take me?

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:46 PM

      It was a fun little hike, Lance- not real difficult. If you come to AZ, we’d go again!

  7. Debbie August 5, 2014 / 3:32 PM

    I took Domer to a cave when he was little. Seeing it through his eyes made my fears subside a bit. Of course, there were dim lights and no bats, and I knew we’d be able to get something to eat afterward. That said, you’ve pretty much covered some of my fears — bats in one’s hair, teeny-tiny places — but you missed one: heights! And isn’t it neat how *cool* the atmosphere feels underground?!

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:51 PM

      My kids weren’t frightened at all – I guess fears come with age, Debbie 🙂 It was neat to be in such a cool place (especially during the summer where it’s always so hot!)

  8. pattisj August 5, 2014 / 9:27 PM

    This was quite entertaining, I think you should continue to stay up late and write. 🙂 I can’t believe they’d rather go spelunking than clean the tile floors.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:52 PM

      Thanks, Patti! I’m shocked they didn’t opt for the floors, too 🙂

  9. Widdershins August 5, 2014 / 10:37 PM

    AA batteries – don’t go caving without them! … good on you for facing your fears.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2014 / 9:53 PM

      Yep, extra batteries are a good thing, Widdershins 🙂

  10. Elizabeth Melton Parsons August 6, 2014 / 5:09 AM

    I’m envious, Janna. I’d have loved that. We have a lot of caves and caverns around here. It’s always fun to explore. But ours do have lots of bats. Good thing I love bats. LOL. I think you must be very brave to do this in spite of your fears. 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 10:46 PM

      Someone was saying that the bats in this cave ‘kept to themselves’. I guess that type of bat is one I can co-exist with! This was simply a case of peer pressure…. you know, everyone else was going and I wasn’t about to have my kids call me a big chicken!

  11. Dilip August 6, 2014 / 8:45 AM

    Wow what an adventure 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 10:47 PM

      It was fun. Not a real strenuous hike, but still good, Dilip!

  12. Carol Ann Hoel August 6, 2014 / 10:33 AM

    I admire your bravery, Janna! I’ve never been in a cave. I’m not sure I want to be. Watching documentaries of cave exploration are probably as close as I’ll ever get. I don’t like bats either, but I wouldn’t be afraid of them out in the open, but in a cave… YIKES! I can imagine your boys laughing when the small space threatened your comfort level! Ha! Your hubby was sweet. Blessings to you…

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 10:48 PM

      Oh, it was less bravery than ‘caving’ in to peer pressure from the family, Carol Ann 🙂

  13. joannesisco August 6, 2014 / 6:35 PM

    My stomach clenched when you mentioned the section only 3 feet high. I simply would not be able to do it. I’m uncomfortable just thinking about it. It is the stuff of recurring nightmares.
    You are very,very brave.

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 10:54 PM

      If it would’ve been longer, I don’t know if I could’ve made it, either, Joanne.My husband wants to go for a hike on Saturday and I’m a little worried about what he has in mind (no skinny trails near cliffs, I hope 🙂 )

  14. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 8, 2014 / 1:35 AM

    I’m not very afraid of closed spaces but I dislike them say it like that. I have only visited a few caves, and those have been the roomy ones.. However when I was young I worked at a shipyard one summer… and I had to face both my fear of height.. (ships on land are as high as buildings).. the other was closed spaces.. and my worst assignment was to creep into the double bottom of an oil tanker to paint. Only three feet high, and only one way out, and just before I went in one of the older workers told me of cases were the manhole had been closed and the ship set to sea… that would have been a long and painful death for sure.. 30 year later it still haunts me at night sometimes..

    • jannatwrites August 10, 2014 / 10:46 PM

      I don’t think I would’ve liked the shipyard job, Bjorn. It makes my first job at a fast food restaurant sound like a dream! I’m glad you made it through the experience okay (except for the nightmares.)

  15. krwalden August 10, 2014 / 4:34 PM

    Look at it as passing some foregone evolutionary test. 😉

    • jannatwrites August 10, 2014 / 11:13 PM

      Hehe, I hope I pass the upcoming tests as well 🙂

  16. Leigh W. Smith August 10, 2014 / 7:14 PM

    Well, I was going to say I don’t have a huge dislike of enclosed spaces — I’m more freaked when there’s tons of people and/or tons of activity, either in a small space or a large-ish one — and then I read Bjorn’s comment above. Gee, thanks, Bjorn! 🙂 But, seriously, I love the idea of spelunking, but I’ve never done it. I love critters, in general, so the idea of bats [which are super-helpful for the environment, especially pest control, and are kind of cute and fascinating besides] doesn’t frighten me away . . . unless one bit one of us. Then I’d be really concerned about rabies, and that could trigger a PA. But anyway, I’m proud of you for conquering your qualms, Janna! Here’s a big woo-hoo for you!

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 10:57 PM

      I don’t like crowds of people, either, Leigh. The entrance to the cave was crowded… and blocked by some slow people with an umbrella they nearly poked my eye out with a couple times (yep, started to rain just as we were getting close.) Thanks for stopping by and for your support. I don’t think I’ll be searching out more caves anytime soon, though.

  17. frederick anderson August 11, 2014 / 3:11 AM

    I’ve ‘done’ several caves: the only scare I can recall was when I six or seven years old and I was taken to visit Cox’s Cavern in Cheddar Gorge in England. We were about half a mile or so under the sandstone cliffs with a party of tourists when all the lights went out – and stayed out for an hour! Apparently there was a thunderstorm and lightning hit the cables.

    One remarkably claustrophobic experience of my adult years was being given a conducted tour of a hunter-killer submarine. How submariners deal with enclosed spaces like that remains a mystery to me. I know I couldn’t do it.

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 11:00 PM

      Oooh, I don’t think I’d like the submarine experience at all. They must have some serious psychological training to be able to withstand those conditions. I carry a flashlight and batteries in my hiking backpack just in case… because you never know when it could come in handy 🙂

  18. GodGirl August 11, 2014 / 4:25 AM

    Great haiku, and lovely story Janna. Well done for confronting your fears (willingly or otherwise)! I would be apprehensive about the dark and closed-in space too. I’m glad your husband was such a comfort. And haha, I can imagine my sons chuckling at me in the same way 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 11:01 PM

      Thanks, GodGirl! Caring support – that must be a boy trait, eh? Yeah right!

  19. philosophermouseofthehedge August 13, 2014 / 11:46 AM

    Lovely textures in that pix. But I’m not a cave person ( although cool in August is a big motivator…) That old snacks in my backpack is one of my favorites, too!
    Those charming little men will keep you on your toes – and risking….(how cruel is a child’s laughter – giggles)

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 11:04 PM

      Thanks for reading, Phil! The temps really are a nice break from the hot that is Arizona in the summer… almost worth the tight spaces! I figured I wasn’t the first to think of insurance (snacks)!

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