Inspiration, Caving, and a Montrail Hat

Inspiration to write can come from many sources. Usually an approaching deadline seems to encourage me to slap words onto a page. A buzzing due date forces me to put on the writing cap (currently a Montrail hat worn backwards). These ugly deadlines seem to arrive when I am at my busiest, laziest or least creative status. Or to make my life way more interesting; all of the factors come together to create the perfect storm. But deadlines do work. I am basically dead with lines to put on blank pieces of paper. I was dwelling at the minimum allowable quota of writing inspiration so when PBS aired a program about caving onto the airways, I was inspired.

I spent many years living in Tucson, Arizona, just a hop, skip and a rappel, from a screamingly large amount of passageways that see very little traffic. I often dwell on the crazy trips we made. I still have planted in my mind my second journey into the depths, suspended about 20 feet above the cave floor, working my way along a ledge that was so small that we were jamming our knees into the jagged limestone wall, inching along the wall with each handhold I could secure. This was at the beginning of one of the most spectacular and technical caves in Arizona.

Clinging to walls, zipper tight passages, technical ropework and 15 hour journeys into the bowels of the earth were not the norm. Most trips were for the faint of heart, hanging out with great friends and exploring. Exploration took us along the ridges of limestone looking for any place that a “normal” human being would rather avoid. The true highlight of our caving world was finding caves that we did not know about. A few of these had never been entered or had only entertained a few lucky souls. We exercised extreme caution in this delicate world of speleothems. A speleo universe of soda straws, cave pearls, stalactites, stalacmites, flowstone, baconstrips, columns, cave popcorn and helictites.

Having T1 diabetes and spending vast amounts of time in the underground arena are not what the doctor or the parents recommend. I hit the subterranean zone well prepared with xtra food, sugar cubes, glucagon, insulin/syringes (for myself and a set for someone else to carry), blood glucose monitor and I shuffled some cubes/food to others in the party. I give many diabetes 101 speeches to alert those who were in the adventure zone.
What an amazing time in life!

Tina Carson on rappel

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