What I Learned From Getting Stuck in a Cave


It is 1:00 AM and I am stuck in a cave. I am holding a flashlight and praying that the batteries do not die, but after being on for four hours straight I am guessing there is maybe another 30 minutes of battery life. I am wishing I was back at home in my comfortable bed sleeping. I turn my head and curse under my breath. I cannot believe I got myself in this situation.


After a long day of work on Friday I got a call from two buddies asking if I wanted to go explore some caves fifty miles outside the city of Boise in the middle of nowhere. They told me they had done it before, and that there would be a lot of other people out there. While I had some initial hesitation, one of my buddies finally convinced me it would be a good time. I should have known better, but being twenty at the time I did not spend the time to think about all the things that could go wrong.


We met up at about 7:00 PM, stopped at a restaurant to grab some dinner, and then headed out to the caves. By the time we got out to the caves it was 9:00 PM. Just like my friends mentioned, there were a lot of people there judging by the number of parked cars and trucks. We hopped out of our truck, grabbed our flashlight and headed into the caves.


What I was told would be a one hour hike soon spiraled out of control. I thought these were going to be big caves that we could walk standing up all the way through, but in reality there were a lot of sections where we had to crawl through spaces that were barely big enough for a person to fit through. While we saw a few people and heard a lot of voices, after about 40 minutes in the caves the voices started to disappear and nobody else was around. I realized we were all alone, but I was fine at that point since my buddies had done the hike before.


We eventually reached a point where the cave broke into two paths. My buddies started to banter back and forth about which was the right path. Eventually we picked one of the paths, but it was not long before my friends finally acknowledged they were lost and did not know how to get out of the caves. We spent the next hour trying to figure out how to get out of the caves. We were all starting to get frustrated at this point because we kept running into dead-ends each time we thought we had it figured out. I suggested turning back and just going backward the same way we came in. The problem was at this point we were so turned around and confused we were not even sure how to trace back our original path.


Another two hours past and frustration started to turn into despair. I felt hopeless, trapped, and I knew my flashlight was not going to last much longer. I could not believe I had gotten myself into this situation. We made so many mistakes. We did not tell anyone where we were going, we arrived at the caves late in the day, we did not have a plan in case we got lost, we did not bring extra food or water, and we did not bring any extra batteries. I was mad at my friends for not knowing how to get out of the cave, but mainly I was mad at myself for not being more prepared. Negative thoughts about our flashlights dying and about us never getting out of the cave (or at least being stuck for days) started to creep into my mind. I felt like a total failure and wondered if anyone would ever find us.


Then, as if sent by an angel, I pointed my flashlight at one particularly large boulder and saw something spray painted on the rock. I walked a little closer and realized that someone had spray painted an arrow pointing to a path to take. I yelled for my buddies and we headed down that path. As we were walking we soon saw other arrows spray painted on rocks. After only five minutes we saw moonlight and we were crawling out of the cave. It still amazes me how close we were to the exit (only five minutes away) at the same moment we were experiencing our deepest sense of despair. I am still forever grateful to the person that painted those arrows on the rocks which pointed toward the correct path to take.


I often reflect on that night. I am so grateful and thankful we made it out of the cave that night even after all the mistakes we made. I know that experience could have ended much worse for me and my friends. That experience has been seared into my mind, and the lessons I learned that night had a significant impact in shaping the person I am today. I even believe that experience impacted the way we designed Dollar Workout Club.


Our team at Dollar Workout Club will never be able to do the exercise or eat the healthy diet for you. That part of your journey has to be completed by you, but I am hoping that maybe Dollar Workout Club can be the ‘spray painted arrows’ for you on your journey. In the moments when you feel despair, feel lost, and are just not sure where to go or what to do I am hoping the content, motivation, and advice we provide at Dollar Workout Club can help you reach that break-through moment you might be looking for. Sometimes having that little extra guidance and inspiration is enough to make all the difference.


Your friend,


Dollar Workout Club


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