Okay, I gotta admit, when the power went out for a big chunk of the southwest, crazy thoughts rushed into my mind. But at least I didn’t go looney tunes and call radio stations, spouting things like terrorism, conspiracy, and yeah, even aliens. Several hours later, the crisis was over. And short of some spoiled food in the fridge and unruly wax candles, the damage was minimal.
So when I think about how I nearly panicked when things got a little dark for a couple hours, I can’t begin to fathom what it would be like to be in complete isolation, without anyone around to help, in the deepest, darkest places on earth. I used to think such places were confined to alleys, corporate meetings, and my mind, but let’s add one more to the list…supercaves. Exactly what makes a cave rise to the status of super, you ask? Well, my first mental picture was that of a beautiful cave with glowing kryptonite, but it’s more the antithesis of that. Darkness, dirt, deep thin waterways, and isolation.
Blind Descent is a book about two men who have devoted their lives to finding this place, specifically, the deepest cave on earth. Tabor begins with the story of Bill Stone, an American caver who focuses on Cheve cave in Mexico. He also details the work of Alexander Klimchouk from the Ukraine, who explores Krubera cave in the Republic of Georgia. Besides giving a crash course in cave exploration, Tabor recounts expeditions by these men that will make you claustrophobic just reading about them. He also adds interesting tidbits about things like the phenomena of cave hallucinations and the fun fact that the ebola virus is believed to have originated in a cave.
If you’re into caving, or like books like Into Thin Air, I’d definitely recommend this one. There is no shortage of drama and suspense here. And it even inspired me to do some cave exploration of my own! Coincidentally, shortly after I read this book, I went to Glenwood Springs Colorado, which boasts a healthy dose of cave tourism. The pics posted with this review are from my own cave explorations there.
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