Three Stitches Later

A Little History With Crew 94
I had met some of the members ofVenturing Crew 94 when we all went to Phenomenon 2012 this pastspring. Some of us from Dragon Breath Grotto Venturing Crew 9, andVenturing Crew 23, along with Venturing Crew 94 went there with theSqueeze Box to promote caving to other Venturing Crews. You can checkout that trip report and pictures here.

Over the summer Our Crew and Crew 94did a geocaching trip in Center City Philadelphia. Again over the summer when I went tothe Chester County Council Powder Horn to talk about the VenturingCave Exploring Elective I ran into a few of my friends from Crew 94again. Christen attended one of my sessions there and decided thatCrew 94 needed to do an actual caving trip. So I was a littlesurprised when Salina, who I had not met before, contacted me about acaving trip.

The Cave Talk
A week or so ago Damian and I went to aCrew 94 meeting to talk about caving and what to expect and how toprepare for it. Like most of these talks we had fun talking andmeeting people and convincing them that it was a fun and safeactivity.

The Caving Trip
The day of the trip we all met up atour standard meeting place. Eight of them showed up. I was glad thatKatrina was with them as she has caved with our Crew a couple oftimes before. Damian was also there to help out and give a hand whereneeded. I can’t get past here without mentioning that Amos wasthere as well and these caving trips would just not go as smooth orsafe without him.

We arrived at the cave about 11:30 andsuited up. Everybody fit their helmets and checked their lights andwe went inside the main entrance to talk and get our eyes adjusted tothe cave.

Everybody did really well with gettingup to the main breakdown room. We talked for a little more andrechecked everyone’s gear. Amos suggested we get our “cave legs”.We headed towards the back of the cave using as much walking passageas we could. We went through our first squeeze and did real well. Wehad one person discover she is claustrophobic. Amos quickly adaptedtheir route to help her gain some confidence while the others playedin the backroom exploring more passage.

We went through another squeeze exitingthat room and everyone did very well. Some I would even sayexceptional. Standing in large passage now one by one they climbingover a big bolder to head on into the next challenge.

Then It Happened
I was sweeping at this point and stoodback a little to give Barb, Crew 94’s Associate Advisor, some roomto maneuver as she was doing exceptional with all the squeezes andclimbs. That’s when Amos yells, “Grab her, grab her!” I wasjust too far away and in too awkward position to get in place to stopher fall. Barb hit hard. As she lifted herself up I saw blood comingfrom her eyebrow.

By that point Amos was down there withus and we had her sit right where she was to asses her wound. Thefirst aid kit cam out and we cleaned her up and bandaged her the bestwe could at that point. Barb said she was OK, but we didn’t want totake her word for it. Not in a cave. We all exited the cave with me,then Barb, then Amos in the lead.

Outside we were better able to take alook at her eye. We spent a little more time cleaning it up and put abutterfly on it. Barb thought she would be OK with the butterfly, butwe insisted she go to the ER to have it looked at. Bill, the Advisorfor Crew 94, drove her and they were off.

We were all just a little shook bythis. Barb and Bill insisted that Amos and I take the kids back inand continue the caving trip. Everyone seemed a little quiet enteringthe cave again. We went back to the “key hole” and soon everyonewas joking and laughing again. We explored the cave some more andbefore we realized it, it was 4:00 and we started heading out oncemore.

We took the obligatory muddy picturesand walked back to the cars. Barb and Bill were there waiting. Barbwas sporting three stitches on her eyebrow with some swelling thereand on here cheek. None of that seemed to spoil her mood. We alldecided it was time to get something to eat, changed into out streetclothes and set out to find a place we could all sit, relax and grubout.

Now that it’s all over I haveaccident and incident reports to file. This is the first time we’veexperienced an accident inside a cave on one of these youth grouptrips. I received and email from Barb and she is doing OK. She wassore and apologizing for spoiling the trip. Of course she didn’tspoil it, but it was a wake up call for how quickly things can go badand that we need to be ready for this and diligent to prevent them.

Will We Do It Again?
Crew 94 only saw about half, if that,of the cave. They want to go back and see the rest. Even after thatthey are all looking to get back underground as soon as they can. Iam too. A few of them want to work on earning the Venturing CaveExploring Elective. I think they are hooked.

If you'd like to see more pictures from this trip please take a look at my photo album.

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