(Editor’s note: Part one of this story appeared in the March issue of the River Hills Traveler.)
We crawled further into the cave and I turned out the lantern because it sounded like it was running out of fuel. The lantern got dimmer, spit, and went out.
It is so hard to believe how dark it is in a cave and how quiet it was. Without light it started getting scary. Dead silence. But who was going to be the first one to say they were “scared”?
The flashlight was then turned on and I was surprised to see how dim it was since we had used it last in the dome. Maybe we should have brought another set of batteries. What a novel idea! A backup? Nobody even had a clue to bring fresh batteries.
As we lay on the wet, muddy, black cave floor I was wondering what to do. I then remembered a story I had read in a Popular Science magazine. This was a short article because I could never sit long enough to read long articles.
The article stated that if (in an emergency) you could rejuvenate batteries, all you had to do is place the batteries in an oven and heat them up. The article stated that this was an emergency step and would probably only work once.
Well, this seemed like a good enough emergency to me, but all we needed right now was an oven. The oven would not only heat up the batteries but warm us up, also. Since we had walked through the icy water (mistake #1), sliding through mud, walking through bat poop and then crawling through more mud, we all were a bit shaky and probably not far from hypothermia (something none of us even knew about yet). An oven sounded good.