by Buddy Hihn
July 11, 2015 Venture Crew 26 Carnegie Cave, Shippensburg, Pa. Cavers: Jordan, Ryan, Julia (newbie), Breanna, Belle (newbie) Advisors: Mr. Ron (logistics and support), Miss Randi and Mr. BuddyH Met at Our Lady of Grace at 8:30 AM. Headed up I-83 and as we approached Harrisburg, Pa the adventure began. PA 581 had an exciting detour through downtown, ugh an extra 20-30 minute detour. So much for an early start. It was after 10 when we finally arrive at the park on Airport Rd.
Having rest room available after the long ride was a big bonus, just don’t use them later to clean up. Being a warm summer day everyone opted to carry their gear to the cave entrance. Yes the electric fence is on. Don’t stand in the stream and test the fence. Just ask Randi who was in flipflops. Mr Bud tried to tell everyone it would be wet and muddy, no one realized how wet and muddy.
With maps in hand the young men take the lead. It is amusing how everyone tried to stay dry while going through the culvert. Suddenly the culvert ends and there is a choice, go low right or high left. Oh, there is water. Splish splash and high stepping in attempts to stay dry.
A passage to the right, let’s go. Darn, there is nothing to grab hold of to get up. It sure is low but does it go. That didn’t go far, where to next? Let’s keep going down the main passage to the big junction on the map. Here we stand in knee deep water and a little island which Breanna took refuge on. Which way should we go, left or right?
Left we head with plenty of water. Up over the steps we go and start poking around ending up at the rice paddies. Time to take a rest and a snack. Heading back to the steps we head left in a wet muddy low passage. By now no one is trying to stay dry but being wet is taking its toll. People are getting cold.
The crew gathers up and discusses the options, go further or head out. The decision is made, they have been caving for about three hours. Some had plans for the evening that did not include caving so out we head. Everyone was out in a flash.
As warm as the day is, no one has a problem walking back. It takes a while to warm up when the body core is chilled. Back at the lot everyone bagged the contaminated gear then deconned themselves with Clorox wipes. Ron setup a tent which was used to change out of the last layer left on, either shorts and top or a swim suit for street clothes. Everyone is famished and head off to a local pizza joint for nourishment.
If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you’re just curious about what’s involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee at www.caves.org/youth. Or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d enjoy hearing from you.
“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but well placed footsteps, kill nothing but time.” – cavers’ creed