Its pitch black.
Water flowing around your boots.
Only a distant light to navigate.
The other day, my friend and I went to explore the Fenian Caves near Karamea, New Zealand. After about 50 minutes into the Fenian walking track you reach a sign telling you to head straight into the woods to reach the caves. The track was so overgrown, we were wondering if it even was a track. We were close to giving up when we finally reached the first cave.
The first cave being more something to look at, we reached the next one about half an hour later. This time, you had to climb through it and there was no way to get around. With a weird feeling in our bones we slowly entered the cave. A littler river was leading us through the cave because you couldn’t see the end from where we entered. Luckily, we brought our semi-waterproof hiking boots (thank you gore-tex).
About 30 meters into the cave the ceiling became really low. We had to crouch in order to keep moving. I could feel the wet goo that covered the limestone formations hanging down on us. Half a minute later, we reached the tightest part of the cave. We had to climb around a corner and you could see neither the exit, nor the entry. I was sliding over a rock when I saw a 2 meter drop in the dim light of my torch.
Somehow we managed to find a way around it, although it was really slippery. I wasn’t sure what would hurt more: falling down that little waterfall or slipping down the rock we were climbing over. I could see one of us breaking his leg any second. Finally, after another squeeze through a tight hole, we reached the exit of the cave.
Exploring those caves probably was one of the most exciting (and frightening) things I’ve ever done. I’m so glad that we survived it and that I can write this article.