By Cara L Gentry
Photos By Simon Nielsen
The rain was pouring down and I was frightened. It was my first night out on my own. I’d been kicked out of the home I had known since I was born. I was cold and wet and had no place to go. A large boom and crack of lightning shook the ground and made me run deep into the dark woods, rain stinging my eyes as I fled. A second ground shaking boom and I was falling. I let out a scream and grasped at the air but caught nothing. For a moment the rain seemed to stop in mid air. The scenery was moving but the rain and I were staying in the same spot. I hit the ground with a wet thud, but the landing was soft. I missed a large rock my mere inches and landed in some leaves. Instinct brought me to my feet and in a panic I tried to scramble up the rock wall. I was deep in a pit with no way out. I could feel my nails digging into the soft rock leaving a tell tale sign of my struggle. If I died in this pit, at least someone would know I fought hard to escape. Suddenly I remembered the rock I almost hit during my fall. I turned and climbed to the top to see if it would get me any closer to escaping this prison. jp domains . My nails dug in to the walls, but the pouring rain cascaded down like a waterfall making climbing out impossible. Eventually exhaustion overtook my weary little body. My fur was soaked with rain and my paws were raw from scratching bedrock. I found a small hole in the rock under some logs, climbed inside and fell asleep, dreaming of my nice warm nest with my mom and five siblings. We all got booted from the nest the same day, and I wondered how the rest of them were doing. When I awoke, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining into the bottom of the pit. A strange animal climbed into the pit, took a look around and left again, but never saw me. A few minutes later two more came down into my prison. This time one started walking my way. I backed into my little hole, keeping nothing but my nose out to sniff this intruder. web archive She jumped back and peered into my hiding place. Our eyes met in a long intense stare.
Mike and Kitty with Miss Rupert
“Hey Kitty! I think I found what made those scratches on the walls”. Our Sunday morning cave trip to Jennings just got turned into a mini rescue. There was a young opossum trapped at the bottom of the 30 foot pit entrance to Jennings cave. It was alive, but scared and stared at me with a gaze that would not leave my mind for days. Simon started snapping photos as Mike and Kitty were up top emptying an extra cave pack to use for the rescue. Kitty insisted we give the possum a name. Simon suggested naming it ‘Rupert’ after the 10th planet and I agreed. For those not keeping up with astronomy news, there has been a debate the past few years over an object discovered in the outer part of our solar system which is larger then Pluto. This object is called UB313 and there are many more similar objects in that area of our solar system. The debate is whether we should include UB313, and any others discovered, as planets or drop Pluto as our ninth planet since it resembles these outer objects more then it resembles any of the other eight planets. Years ago, before the discovery of UB313, Douglas Adams wrote in his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy that a 10th planet would be found in our solar system, and it would be named Rupert. Since UB313 would be a bad name for a possum, we named it Rupert after the 10th planet. Mike donned some work gloves, Kitty held open the cave pack, Simon took photos, and I watched as Mike reached into the alcove where Rupert was hiding and pulled the possum out by its tail. He held it up for the photo shoot and announced to the world that Rupert was a girl. With a frightened, and possibly embarrassed last stand, Rupert grabbed at the cave walls in an attempt to escape but Mike and Kitty got her in the cave pack. Kitty then climbed back out of Jennings to free Rupert in the woods, far from the entrance pit while the rest of us started checking out Jennings Cave.
The gate was in good shape and did not look like it had been tampered with since the last visit. We checked out the cave and are sad to report there was new graffiti in the passage leading off Danny’s Hole. The water level was low in the water room and we did not see any crayfish. By the time we left the cave, the rain had started which made the climb out slippery.
Before heading back to Mike’s we checked out the entrance to Deathtrap to see what it was like in the pouring rain. A large rotten log about 8 feet long and 2 feet in diameter had become wedged in the entrance and was working well as a plug to the water attempting to drain. This will have to be removed to help lessen flooding as the hurricane season rains are upon us. We also stopped by Scotts Spring where the water level was encroaching upon the deck. All in all it was a good Sunday with a relaxing cave trip, some pouring rain and a cave rescue involving one scared little female opossum named Rupert.