Caving From 8 ‘til Midnight. Work Be Damned.
This is a guest post from Christopher Edenbo. Chris is the Chair and Youth Group Liaison for the York Grotto in Pennsylvania.. Chris works at the Diakon Wilderness Center, a part of Diakon Youth Services, which has been a leading provider of specialized services for children and youths from across Pennsylvania. Primarily serving at-risk youths referred by county juvenile probation departments or children and youth services.
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Chris Edenbo, Nathan MacLane, Matt Steiman, Daniel Grover, Heather Livingston
Matt contacted me some weeks ago saying that he had some workers around the Dickinson College Farm who were interested in caving. He wanted to take them to “that cave by 81” that Franklin County Grotto folks had taken him to some years ago. After asking a few questions I figured out that he was talking about Peiper Cave. So we began the process of narrowing down a date. Once the date was set and arrived we had to deal with Matt’s last minute realization that the student workers were on the schedule to work later than usual on this day. Matt’s partner at the farm would not let them out early, so our departure was pushed back from 6:00 to 8:00 on a Monday evening.
Really I have a hero to give props to. Nathan MacLane, new member of the York Grotto, came with me on a Boy Scout Caving Trip this Saturday. On a whim I called him 10:00 this Monday morning to ask if he wanted to go caving tonight. He said he’d think about it, but called me back half an hour later telling me that he was in. As the phone chain goes, Matt called me telling me that they would be an hour late. I called Nathan, who had already left to meet us in Shippensburg, to tell him that we would be an hour late. Nathan made it work. Maybe he doesn’t get the hero award. Maybe he gets the “chill-axed,” crazy-cool, laid back award.
Getting to Peiper Cave in the dark was a little more complicated than I gave it credit for. I turned our car caravan down the wrong dirt lane. I started to drive past the correct dirt lane. But we got there in one piece.
I noted more spray paint inside / on the artificial wall, but nothing new in the cave. We entered and went up the rock scramble to the left where I let the group do the leading and route finding (as they had maps). I promised a snickers bar to anybody who could definitively point to where they were on the map. I heard it several times through the trip, “I’m definitely not getting a snickers bar,” or “Chris, your snickers bar is safe.” We stuck together mostly as a group as we ventured up and down the Swiss cheese-like halls. We ventured into the sub-floor and squirmed through the Catacombs. We had a pretty good 4-hour tour of the cave. There was certainly plenty that we did not see, but it’s good to leave a cave wanting more. Matt said to me, “Every time that I go caving I want to do it more.” I love hearing that. I bet we’ll see this group out caving again by summer.
Back at the entrance room we tried our hand at the Slot, but I asked that we make our way out of the cave because I had to work on Tuesday, and staying in past midnight seemed overkill. Daniel took a great photo of Heather as she was going through the Slot. I hope that we get a copy of that. Everybody left the cave excited about the trip and looking forward to telling everyone that missed it that they missed out.