Silars is a good sized cave with over 7,000 feet of passage. There is plenty of passage without any real technical climbing, so it makes it ideal for Youth Group trips. However, it is a 3 hour drive from my house, which makes for a long day.
To consolidate, I meet Ken at the Hoss's Restarant parking lot on Rt. 100 just south of the Downingtown exit of the PA Turnpike. Put all my stuff in the back of his truck and hoped in for a long ride. Ken is the Chairman for the Commander Cody Caving Club in Delaware. He's the one who contacted me to ride along and help out with this Scout Caving trip. Ken and I know each other through the Philadelphia Grotto where we are both members, but we've never caved together before. I was looking forward to this trip and meeting new folks to cave with.
We arrived at the rest stop, where we were to meet everyone, early and found Troop 18 was there even before us. The boys and leaders were all pumped up and ready, This was their first caving trip. All we need to do was wait for "Big Steve" and we were off to Silars.
When Steve showed, we pilled him and his equipment into Ken's truck and caravan with Troop 18 to Silars. Well, ok, with one wrong turn. But I think that's allowed.
When we pulled up to the trail head leads to Silars, everyone piled out of the cars and scrambled around getting gear and suiting up. We passed out the helmets and headlamps and checked out everyone before entering. These guys were so pumped up they were excited just to get down the ladder, and we hadn't even unlocked the gate yet.
First place we went was the Root Passage. This passage is close to the surface, so roots poke out of the ceiling. There were a lot of cave crickets in this passage, too.
After a little while we back tracked and found the Pool Room. This is a room with a fair sized dome with a clear pool of water. The colors are great in this room and the boys were mesmerized.
Going back and taking the first right, we were headed for the Tire Room. Being sweep I didn't even get to the Tire Room before Ken declared that the water in the room was too deep to go further. He stuck his leg in and went further than he was comfortable with and didn't even touch bottom. So one by one the boys slid back down and headed the other direction.
Ken and the boys found a nice little loop to climb on and get some scrambling in. Poking around we found a tight, muddy, crawl and went on scrambling to the passage to the Rest Room. Coming out of the crawl, there was a nice little hall and a climb up to where we were planning on taking another break.
At this point, some of our group was getting a little tired and some were ready to keep moving on. A bite of food and a drink helped most. A round of sparkers, from Winter Green Lifesavers, broke up the rest in the dark.
After the rest it was decided that since it would take a while to get out, the ones who were tired would start to head back and exit and the ones who were full of youthful energy would poke around some more before follow them out. This would give them time to exit at their own speed. This worked out really nice because our last group exited just after the first group, but, a couple boys had to take one last look at the Pool Room. And quite frankly I couldn't blame them and joined them.
We never did get to see the whole cave. I think it would take a good bit more time and a couple more trips to cover the whole place comfortably. Looking forward to doing just that.