Troop 21 - St Joseph, MO
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Troop 21 - St Joseph, MO

Posted on Saturday, October 1, 2016...

Caving at Jacobs Cave - Wild Caving

Versailles, Missouri - September 24, 2016 -  On a perfect fall weekend in September Troop 21 went to Jacob's Cave a show cave just a few short miles away from the tip of the Lake of the Ozarks in Versailles, Missouri for the weekend.  After a rather uneventful drive we arrived in the dark on Friday night and we quickly set up our tents and camp and enjoyed the stars. Several shooting stars were seen as the sky was packed full and there was little light pollution.  Around 11 pm it was lights out in preparation for the coming morning.


We woke up after a refreshing night's sleep, as it was perfect sleeping weather.  We made sausage and egg omelets in a bag with tortillas for breakfast.  Around 9:15 we headed down the hill to the cave's entrance to go on the commercial cave tour first.  We were split into 2 groups of 15 to tour the commercial cave.  Our tour groups went on a tour of Jacob's cave learning facts as we went along the 1/8 of a mile paved path about 55 feet underground. The tour guide pointed out the world's largest geode, evidence of 6 ice ages and 3 earthquake, as well as many of the regular cave formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, cave pearls and columns.  A unique formation shown as a stalacflat - a stalactite that is flat on the bottom.    At one point the tour guide turned out all the lights and we stood there unable to see even our own hands in front of us.  It was complete and utter darkness without artificial light.  Because caves are unaffected by the outside elements inside the cave was a cool and constant 53 degrees.  


After each group completed their tours it was time for lunch.  After lunch we all donned our caving gear.  We made sure we had helmets, several light sources and long pants.  We anxiously headed to the cave crawl, a wild early section of the cave reserved for cave exploring - wild style. All scouts and Venture scouts were required to have a helmet, light source (preferably two), and some old clothes or coveralls. Leaving behind the outside we entered into the twists and turns of the cave crawl. Sunlight was left behind and our light sources were of immediate use. Upon entering the ceiling lowered and you had to hunch down and wade through loose wet mud.  We were in a maze of tunnels, twists, and turns.  Even with 20 plus people within the cave we all had space to get around.  We crawled around on hands and knees in the sticky wet mud.  Everyone was very enthused!  Any open pocket, hole or tunnel was free game as scouts and leaders tried to explore.  Some had dead ends, but others were passages leading you further on or circling back.  We climbed, log rolled, slid, went backwards on hands and knees, forward on bellies to get around and get through tiny holes.  Everyone had fun.  After a couple of hours most everyone had their fill and as a group we took an after photo.  Everyone was covered and caked in mud from their shoulders to their toes! Some even had it on their faces and inches thick on their boots.  Even though we exerted some energy everyone was energized as the adrenaline was going from having a good time.  


Outside in the sun the wet mud began to dry and cake on us.  We needed showers! Before showering off in the showers we had to hose off the thick clay that adhered to our clothing and gear.  Cold water from the hose was a bit startling, but it was nice to get a good shower afterwards.  After the shower we headed back to camp.  The campsite was very nice with cut grass and plenty of porta potties and a fire ring.  We were encouraged to pick tomatoes and peppers from the garden and we also found a persimmon tree of which we enjoyed the fruits.  There's nothing like fresh vegetables straight from the vine or fruits from the limbs! 


 Dutch oven pizzas were soon being made and we gathered around the fire recounting the day.  Though we didn't see as many shooting stars we saw several satellites hurling through the atmosphere.  As the night wore on the crowd around the fire thinned as people went to their tents.  A few of us stayed up until after midnight to usher in Mr. Justin's 40th birthday. Hooray!  He's spent several birthdays on Scout camp outs. Soon after all went to their tents.


The cool autumn air made for perfect sleeping weather.  Waking around 7 am Sunday we were in no hurry and had a leisurely morning.  We had a simple breakfast, started to pack up, cleared the area and then made our way to the gift shop before leaving.  A few made purchases of souvenirs to remember the cave crawl and soon we were once again on the road.  A drive home lunch stop at Pizza Street in Kansas City with all you can eat pizza and ice cream made the scouts and leaders very happy!  Soon after we arrived back at the Church and unloaded.  It was another successful and fun adventure for Troop 21!


Ms. Gracia Pinzino

Troop Media Coordinator / Committee Member 


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