Claustrophobia

-by Nick Maya

I have a huge fear of heights.

It's not something I've had my entire life, but a fear I've developed as I've gotten older. I'm not sure what the technical term is, but I also have the opposite fear: being underground. When I heard I was to serve with the Cave Research Foundation helping to install cave gates I was worried.

Would I have to go into the cave?

Would my fear impede my ability to perform the work?

But, this whole year has been about trying new things and conquering fears so I decided to serve on the project. The gates were installed at the entrances of the caves so I was fortunate as my cave time was minimal. However, we were offered the opportunity to take a tour of the cave. I can proudly say that I crawled through this cave on my hands on knees in complete darkness.

While I haven't completely conquered my fear of being underground, I did at least for that day.

 Nick Maya (Left, standing) with AmeriCorps Members Andy Clubb (Left sitting), Sam Owens (Center, yellow helmet), and Colin Wilson (center), with members of the Cave Research Foundation, pose in front of a completed bat cave gate. These gates and built to allow bats to safely enter and exit their roosts but prohibit humans from disturbing their habitat and spreading the deadly white nose syndrome. 

Nick Maya (Left, standing) with AmeriCorps Members Andy Clubb (Left sitting), Sam Owens (Center, yellow helmet), and Colin Wilson (center), with members of the Cave Research Foundation, pose in front of a completed bat cave gate. These gates and built to allow bats to safely enter and exit their roosts but prohibit humans from disturbing their habitat and spreading the deadly white nose syndrome.