And one final tale of hiking the rugged trail to the Cave
Tracy DeVault wrote me this account of his and Neal’s and Richard Greene’s attempted cave hike – sometime in the early 2000’s ~ Sue Jaussaud
Here is what happened on our trip. We started down to the cave in the morning. For some reason we took a short cut and did not walk down the trail to the main canyon. The cave is up a side canyon. Somehow we missed the side canyon and walked much further down the main canyon than we should have. We walked almost all the way to the river. Finally, we reached a steep drop off and realized that if we went down the drop off we would not be able to get back up.
When we turned around, we discovered that Neal was not able to walk uphill at anything near a normal rate. Also, he needed to make frequent long stops. We had not taken enough water for an all-day trip. It took us several hours to get back to the side canyon where the cave was and by then we were all pretty tired. We were also very low on water. Richard decided to hike down the side canyon to the cave while Neal and I continued to slowly make our way up the main canyon.
Eventually Richard caught back up to us. We decided that Neal and I would find a shady spot and rest. Richard would head back to the trucks and bring us back some water. Richard was using his GPS to tell him how to get back to the trucks. The problem was that there was a very steep hill between Richard and the trucks. We were in contact by radio. Richard finally got to a point where he could go no further.
When I realized that Richard was not going to save us, I decided I would hike back to the trucks on my own. I gave Neal half of my water, about two ounces, and headed for the trucks. Neal and I had hiked further up the main canyon so I did not have to go over the high hill that had stopped Richard.
As soon as I left the main canyon I discovered the trail. I made it back to the trucks just as it was getting dark. I was going to take water back to Neal first but it turned out that he was slowly making his way up the trail and back to the trucks. It turned out that it was Richard that needed immediate help. I had Richard’s GPS coordinates and hiked to where he was stuck. It was more that he was dehydrated than being blocked by the high hill. Once he had a drunk a couple of bottles of water he was back on his feet. By the time Richard and I got back to the trucks, Neal was already there.
We were all too weak to try to drive home. Neal dug out his satellite phone and we let everybody know that we were safe and would come home in the morning.
I always felt that I missed out on visiting the cave. ~ Tracy DeVault