As I sit here on a bleak winter day on the Kansas prairie, it reminds me of similar days in early high school when I'd go exploring in the hills above Shorecrest. There wasn't often snow and there was a carpet of leaves blanketing the forest floor. There was a high hill back of the resort with an old jeep road around it. That hill and road is now covered with houses in at least three terraces up from the bend in the lake and the old jeep road is now wide and paved.
Back in 1969, there wasn't but one house on this hill which formed a point on a bend in the lake. That house was right next to the resort. The rest was completely isolated and forested. I spent hours traipsing over much of the forest and once found an old sink hole. I was convinced beneath that sink hole was a cave and spent hours digging trying to reach it. There probably was a cave there too although I never got to it.
Just up the river/lake and around a bend, there was a cave at the water's edge. The only way to get to it was by boat. I went there several times and explored. It looked like someone may have tried to commercialize it at one point because there were old wood walkways to keep you from walking through the stream that ran through the cave. Back in a ways was a relatively large room where bats hung from the ceiling and on the floor beneath them, a six foot high pile of bat guano. One time, my older brother by 12 years and I went exploring deeper into the cave than I ever had been. It got real small and we ended up having to crawl with the stream of water running past our knees. At one point, the cave divided into two tunnels and my brother had me wait while he explored one arm. I sat for a while with my light turned off to conserve the batteries and have never experienced total darkness like that before or since. Every few seconds or so, I would holler my brother's name and he would answer although his answers became quieter and quieter. At one point, he didn't answer back and I got scared he may have become trapped. I crawled for a ways and the tunnel got so small that I had to belly crawl through the water with the roof of the cave tunnel scraping my back (I could never fit through there today). The tunnel took a sharp bend to the left and as I was pulling myself along, I got stuck in this bend. It took about a second for me to wonder if that was where I would die. I wiggled frantically and got through and later found my brother where it had opened up a little enough for us to turn around. We did get out and that was the last time I went spelunking in a cave where I couldn't stand up.