I sent the boys, the terriers, in to check out the hole, as I lay in the opening shining the light. No one knew I was here or what my mysterious project was. They would just ask, where ya goin' and I would answer, diggin'. Since the whole family was explorers, that was the only answer needed, they knew I would tell...when I was ready.
The boys snuffled and checked each nook and cranny, they even did some digging in soil that had washed through during the last rain. They looked at me as if to say, so where's the varmints, Mom. Knowing it was safe and not a hidden snake den, I pushed the light ahead of me. A spare was in my canvas shoulder pack I always carried, along with a camera, a folded GI shovel, my water and twenty feet of good rope.
For just a minute, I considered going to the house and telling them where I was but I didn't. I had left a jacket at the edge of the dig and knew if something happened, they could find me.
I was excited, not thinking of treasure, but only of the limestone cave. I had sworn for years there was a cave on this place and, by golly, I had finally found it.
It was a tight squeeze for me to enter but after that it opened up, oh, not enough to stand in but enough that I didn't feel the earth was smothering me...I really don't like close places but this was too good to pass up!!! The area was small but I tasted the triumph that past cave explorers had experienced.
I reached for my camera and began to take photos, fanning out from my point of entry. The flash revealed more than my flashlight had and it was unbelievable. Stalactites and stalagmites of magnificent beauty showed in the camera's light.
I moved forward slowly, being able to crawl onto my knees now, I knew the cavern size was increasing. The boys were up ahead, I could hear them snuffling and knew there was no danger.
The walls of the cave reflected light like cut diamonds, smooth, slick with moisture and still growing. Man, oh, man, was this ever good!!!
I had no idea how far I had crawled but the ceiling had risen above me. I looked back to see my entrance and it was only a pin prick of daylight, just a dot in the distance. I was so involved in my exploration, the measurment of both time and distance eluded me.
I heard water running. Since the whole valley is spring fed, it did not surprise me. I was still headed East, there had been no major turns, forks or drops big enough to mention. I was in my element! I kept looking for signs of human visits but saw none.
I could not believe my luck, this cave had been under the farm all this time. Then I began thinking, how big is it??
The sound of water was louder. I was still taking pictures with each step...I was on an explorer's high and I think, maybe about this time, my good sense left me..