Friday, November 27, 2009
Remembering the Nutty Putty Cave
We had a saddening accident in Utah over the Thanksgiving Holiday, a young father and med student John Jones, died in the local cave known as the Nutty Putty, after becoming trapped in tight space tilted feet over head for nearly 28 hours. It sounds likely now that the cave will be closed and there has even been talk of sealing the entrance.
It's been years since I have been to the Nutty Putty but I used to go often and have been planning on using it in one of my novels for some time now. I have not been able to find a cutaway diagram of the cave so I did one myself to show a little better of what it is like going inside. It is odd that right on top of bald scrubby hill a hole opens into the rock not unlike a chimney. You climb down the 7-8 feet of that and get down on your knees-probably bang your head-as you crawl across another similar distance though this one is wide and shaped in My mind like a pancake. At the opposite end it opens up a bit and you can stand and climb down and cross a slight drop off to go to your left and my favorite part of the cave the Maze. Some good friends, Ryan, Jason and Bob-notice our regulation gear-OK we had none.
My friends and I used to go to the Maze and play hide and go seek. I grew so accustomed to the layering's of the Maze and the darkness that I used to quit using my flashlight and run around in the dark and usually be the last one found. We played that when whomever was it found someone they had to both start looking for the rest-letting it snowball. This was all back in the 90's. Used to meet some interesting people in the cave-Hey Cave Girl who are you?
Part of why I liked the cave was I don't get claustrophobic-if you do you would not like the cave which has quite a number of tight passages-including most especially infamous now The Birth Canal. Back then we didn't think about any dangers and just had fun. The cave maintains a year-round temperature making it comfortable in winter or summer. It was the aspects of the maze that made me think about adapting a cave scene for my action-adventure novels. Now this tragedy has me thinking about the real accidents that can happen when people think they are just going out for a good time.
Still I don't think we ought to seal the cave, accidents can and will happen anywhere and while I do not fret over fate-I don't see us protecting ourselves and our children from anything and everything that can happen. To get into the Nutty Putty anymore took getting permits and such (Not back when I used to go-but it does now). Jones had the permits and experience and still accidents happen-it was the first fatality at Nutty Putty. I feel for Jones family but sealing the cave won't bring him back, instead perhaps by remaining open people may remember him and be more cautious. I am all for it being the John Jones cave in memoriam-IF his family so chooses. If I am an insensitive lout please tell me.