Generations may have shared a cave shelter for a home until a stronger tribe or group took it over. As cave shelters became over crowded they began to find other forms of shelter, but a good cave was the best home for thousands of years. Here is where I believe the instinct part comes into play, just like you don’t have to teach some things to people or animals they just do it naturally. The instinct some of us have about caves is in the comfort of being in a cave. When I crawled into that hole along the river bank, there was no fear. Even when I dropped down the hole that I could not touch the bottom of, there was still no fear. The excitement and curiosity overpower any fear that there may have been present. Much older now with less excitement, and curiosity, has allowed for a healthy bit of fear to creep in. Fear of falling or getting hurt, not of the dark.
Speluncaphobia is the fear of caves or claustrophobia, the fear of close places. If I know that someone is claustrophobia, I do not take them into caves. I will only refer to him as John, in the following poem. I believe that he was only mildly claustrophobia, if that is possible.
Panic Under The Mountain
As he lay in the tight crawl panic, frustration
flushed and overwhelmed with humiliation,
one power drink and hypertension ensued
a very serious problem I did conclude.
Three hours of climbs and crawls we had come,
two hours and two tight crawls or would he succumb,
the five hour loop with side trips seemed like fun
until someone calls it quits, had it, enough, done.
Could I get him through the tightest squeeze,
placed him in the middle and prayed he would not freeze,
removed all gear, head first feet in the air,
all was quiet as he struggled did I hear him swear.
Gradually it opened up to an easy crawl
as I joined him and we proceeded through the small
Mason-Dixon passage to the Volcano Room
as I talked to take his mind off the gloom.
One more crawl, the main room is not too distant,
on getting out of Pettyjohn Cave he was quite insistent,
an uphill crawl and turn over near the end
so your body can make that awkward bend.
Through twist and turns we raced ahead
not a word spoken, it was better left unsaid.
When I reached entrance and climbed up in the light,
he was no were to be found, to the car, out of sight.