By now, Daniel and I were pretty sure that we had missed the official escape route, and were trying to decide the safest way to descend from our current position: either rappelling through the woods, or continuing over in the hopes of finding the correct descent trail. Well, as we’re debating the sky decided to make the decision for us, and opened up with a beast of a rainstorm. So, Daniel and I rigged up a quick “around a tree” Rappel, and started descending through the trees. Now, these woods weren’t your normal “hey, this is steep” woods. They were seriously at maybe 70 degrees, with lots of random cliffs and sinkholes, not to mention tree-limbs and mud-pits. So, for those who enjoy rappelling, here is the PERFECT time to practice Australian-style rappels: facing downwards and running down the mountainside until you get to the end of the rope (for the love of the lord tie knots in your rappel line if you’re going to do this).
So after about five aussie rappels over cliffs, holes, and small lakes, Daniel and I are finally at the base of the cliff with the rope coiled over Daniels back and the gear safely around my waist. We walk along the cliff-base until we finally see our gear stashed up on the hill where we left it. “Finally! Lets grab it and go!” yelled Daniel as he sprinted towards the gear. Seeing him run, I yell, “Wait! I think that’s a…” <SPLASH> he goes, into the concealed lake at the base of the cliff. Unfortunately combining a huge slab with a lot of rain had created a rather epic pond between us and our gear, which Daniel had kindly decided to show me the edges of by falling in up to his waist.
“Fuck this. I’m going to get the car, you get to grab the gear” Daniel told me. So I carefully poked my way around the pond ‘till I was able to get to our stuff, and then started the quick trek back to the Spyder. Once there, we dropped the wet gear into the trunk, coiled the rope, and took off for Applebee’s, praying that it would still be open.