Fear of Bats?

Image by IceNineJon via Flickr

Devils Den is actually known for its bats. I didn’t know that even though I did consider it very probable that we would come across bats in the cave we planned to explore while we were there. I decided however not to tell Rob that I am afraid of bats ahead of time. I didn’t want him to think I was going to be a “girl” about similar adventures in the future, and I just thought I could conqueror my fear by not looking up. You don’t look up. You don’t see bats. You are not afraid.

The cave itself has history for Rob. He has been to the park in the past, most recently on his memorial trip for his late wife, Shelley, last November. It was during this trip that he broke his flashlight while back in the cave and, because there is no light source anyway but at the mouth of the cave, he had to feel his way out. It was a profound experience for him.

He “borrowed” the white disposable coveralls we wore from a work site so that we could attempt to go back further in the cave than most of the general population of campers at the park go. To do this you have to climb and crawl and it is damp and muddy. The coveralls were to protect our clothing. Rob may be all guy but he is a Virgo and they just can’t get past their “be overly prepared” natures. Case in point, we did not carry flashlights. He had dropped and broken his in November because it is difficult to carry a light and manage other tasks. So, he found small lamps that we could strap to our heads. They proved to be quite efficient light sources, and Rob loved his so much that by the time we had hiked back down to the road after our caving adventure, he had a small list of activities for which this wonderful new gadget might prove useful.

The cave was somewhat narrow, and it wasn’t long before the coveralls had earned more than their share of “useful” points. When we reached the spot where most people turn back, Rob asked me if I wanted to try and go in further. Surprising even myself, I was game. I didn’t have to be. He would have been fine had I chickened out but I wanted to go on. For him a little, but mostly for myself. I am not claustrophobic at all and since I hadn’t looked up even once, the whole fear of bats had not been an issue, but I am afraid of the dark. I always have been and since by husband’s death last year, it has been worse than it was even when I was a small child. Rob had asked me if I would be okay if we turned out our lamps at some point and I had said yes, but the truth was that I would have been only if he was standing right next to me with both arms wrapped tightly around me. The only time my house is completely dark at night is when there is company staying over after all.

So, up we went. Crawling and contorting and twisting and climbing up and down until we reached a very tight space with very little head room. So little that keeping my eyes off the ceiling was becoming a difficult thing to do as it was practically in my face. That is when I heard Rob tell me to stop. Why? I wondered. Well, I was about to scrap a few bats right off the ceiling with my cap.

I decided I wanted to turn around. I am sure the tone of my voice said everything that I hadn’t earlier. It took a few minutes of carefully directing me to get us turned around and on our way out. It was now that Rob felt the sudden urge to look up himself, and he was amazed enough at the number of bats he saw to comment on them near constantly until we emerged from the cave’s entrance.

I don’t think that he was disappointed in me. He teased me quite a bit, but that is par for the course when he catches me out about something. Anyway, it is not the kind of teasing that I remember from my childhood. It is playful and I can tell he is quite amused by what he refers to as my being “cute”.

I don’t think caving is going to be high on our list of things to do in the wild.

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