Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Going Underground!

Before really buckling down and studying for my exam I decided to have one last adventure.  It was probably one of the best adventures I had this entire semester.  I decided to go underground in a slate mine! I wanted to something really adventurous since I love doing different things.  I decided on this adventure because there was some hiking, traversing, boating, repelling, zip-lining, and exploring involved.

Since I was without a car, my guide was super helpful by picking me up and dropping me off at the train station near their location!  There was no real public transportation outside of the nearest town to their headquarters so it was super helpful since the day I choose it decided to pour and I wasn't too keen on walking the 2 miles out to them.  It was also super convenient to go through them because they lent me all the equipment I needed and didn't bring with me (like shoes and waterproof pants).  They also supplied harnesses, helmets (which I desperately needed), and a head lamp.
Entering the mine
I really didn't know what to expect when starting.  One thing I learned quickly was to pick my feet up high, especially when trekking through pools of water.   I don't know how people did this everyday but I give them credit.  I know I'm tall and I never really notice it but I had to hunch over most of the day which means I hit my head more then I care to admit.  My friends are probably shaking their head at me right now when they read this because they know how accident prone I am.  But it was a really cool experience.

Our first task was taking a raft across a pool of water which used to be a drainage system but hasn't been drained since the mine shut down operation.  In the middle of it they had us shut off our lamps to see how dark it really was and let me say it was dark.  

Afterwards we had a lesson on traversing and tried our hand at it.  During this activity, I admit, I became known as 'that girl'.  I literally got tangled midway across the course and had to be rescued.  I still remember my one guide encouraging me and the conversation we had:
     Guide:  "You can do it!  Just take the step!" 
     Me:  "I'm stuck"
     Guide:  "No you're not, I know you can do this!"
     Me:  "No, I'm literally stuck."
This led to me being rescued on the first obstacle.  Our second obstacle was a zip-line where I again managed to get tangled in the ropes.  The zip-line only brought you half-way and the rest you hand-over-hand it which is when I got tangled.

The rest of my day I managed to stay tangled free but everyone kept checking on me.  We did some climbing and repelling which was pretty good.  We stopped for a lunch break in the deepest part we made it too and had some free time to explore the surrounding area.

After lunch we started our climb up and out of the mine.  The next place I got a bit tangled was when we had to climb up a waterfall.  If you did it right you didn't get too wet but I ended up tumbling under the main stream because I slipped and was drenched by the time I got my bearings.  I made it up and then came the last climb up a steep ladder where you saw daylight getting closer and closer to you.  It was a good motivator to keep climbing because it was a long climb.

Here are a few pictures from the day:
Thumbs up in the mine
Repelling down further into the mine
The eyes which are watching you in the mine
The ladder up to the light and fresh air

The great adventurer!
On the trail hiking back to the cars
Some slate statues along the hike
It was a great day and I highly recommend doing it!  If you want do the program I did here is there website:  I highly recommend them because they were very informative and helpful!  They also run group programs for people traveling in a group.  Check them out!

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