On May 13, 2017, Phillip, Mihai, and Erin lead a troop of 30+ boy scouts and troop leaders from the Belleville area through Mystery Cave. For many of these scouts, this was their first adventure underground. The troop was divided into 3 groups and taken on approximately 1.5 hour tours each. The first wave of students entered the cave around 10:30am. Most of the boys enjoyed the climb down at the gated entrance. The boys were very excited and impressed by the formations, break down pile, and Fossil Passage. In addition to frogs and salamanders, the boys found an unexpected juvenile rattle snake. The troop fearlessly trekked through the cave and hope to tour again. Everyone was able to climb back out of the cave with little assistance. The trip was a success. Phillip later made patches for each of the scouts to add to their patch collection.
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Mihai arrived at Park Et at 9:10 AM and had breakfast with Richard, who then drove both to Berome Moore. Jim was getting ready to lead a trip inside and told them that LEG was welcome to organize a trip into Berome after contacting him and MCKC. Jim also encouraged LEG to start a scientific study of the cave following the proposal Mihai wrote three years ago. Richard then drove back to Park Et to meet with Ciara and Ryan, hopefully two new LEG members. All arrived at Mystery at around 11:00 AM and entered it through the gated entrance after making sure that Ryan’s helmet and headlamp were OK. It took the effort and imagination of all four cavers to figure out how to attach the suspension to a hard hat! Once in the Cathedral Room it was decided to first visit some upper passages close to the entrance and then go down and follow the main stream for a while. The team admired the passage morphologies and young stalagmites along the Red Fork and Richard and Mihai offered explanations on how the features were formed. The Fossil Passage was visited next and horse teeth were found together with one healthy looking bat! On the way back to the Cathedral Room thanks were said to all previous cavers who had dug steps into clay slopes. Ciara and Ryan were impressed by the clear pool at the bottom of the room. A thermocline was detected while climbing down to the main stream: It was really cold below! The stream was followed up to confluence with the newcomers wet “baptism” passage. Ciara and Ryan followed it to the room with the pouring flowstone while Richard and Mihai climbed to the same room. The multitude of potholes throughout the visited portions was amazing and the former cave floors were clearly marked on the walls by different levels of clay-embedded rock fragments. The cave was exited at about 4:50 PM through the same entrance without any problem. The rock climbing experience of Ciara and Ryan was evident all the time. Mihai and Richard went to Park Et for dinner and relished the day’s trip. The cavers are grateful for Richard’s expert guidance and patience.
The Little Egypt Grotto is in the process of planning our annual 76 campout for the weekend of March 8-10, 2013. Trips into Mystery Cave as well as various other caves on the property are being planned. Stay tuned for more details!
On Saturday, February 2, 2013 members of the Little Egypt Grotto were lead by Phillip Ellison and Erin Thomas to the Paradise Room of Crevice Cave. Members along for the adventure include Ashlyn Ellison, Eric Ferre, Emily Ferre, Carl Ferre, Mihai Lefticariu, John Gulley, Amber Dry, Audrey Shire, Chris Thomas, and Kyle Thomas. Our day started out with the usual Park-et breakfast and then it was off to the cave. Once everyone was prepare for the day’s trek we headed to the entrance. Upon arrival, it was discover that the entrance was completely sealed off with ice. Determined to cave, Phillip grabbed a rock and began to hammer away at the ice. Before long we were filing into the cave, one by one. Our trip in was enjoyable; everyone seemed to like the variety of cave passage which included crawling, walking, and climbing. Once we arrived at the Paradise Room we were anxious to share the prized formations that we had come so far to see before settling down for lunch. Our crew agreed that the trip was well worth the venture. We attempted a group photo in front of the largest formation using candle light and limited headlights. Tea candles proved to be too small, but we now have an excuse to go back! Everyone exited the cave tired and muddy. To top off the day, we enjoyed dinner together at the local Mexican restaurant. (Photos by John Gulley)
On Saturday, January 12, 2013, Phillip Ellison and Erin Thomas lead new LEGers Audrey Shire and Amber Dry through Mystery Cave. This was Audrey and Ambers’s first wild cave tour. Due to poor weather predicted for the afternoon, our trip was limited to a few hours in the morning and only the upstream passages. We spent the morning exploring the cave at a leisurely pace, taking the time to scrutinize formations and look for fossils in the steam bed. Our trip was a success and enjoyed by our new members. (Photo by Audrey Shire)
Day: first Wednesday of each month
Location: Parkinson Auditorium on SIU-C Campus – go up the steps and turn left. The 2nd or 3rd room. Follow the mud trail.
Time: 7:00 PM
The US Fish and Wildlife is having a public hearing Tuesday Oct 30th from 5~8 pm at the Perryville Higher Education Center in Perryville, MO. The topic of discussion is a proposal to put the Grotto Sculpin on the Federal Endangered Species List. This will (dramatically) affect caving in Perry County. There are lots of concerns here. Please try to attend if possible. Your input could be invaluable.
The Department of Geology at SIU-C will present an excellent cave diving seminar by Stephanie Schwabe on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 4:00 P.M. in the Parkinson Laboratory building room number 110. Stephanie Schwabe is a widely renowned and respected cave diver and scientist. Please join us for an exciting talk.
Stephanie Schwabe is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London. She was named a NASA fellow in exo-biology for her discovery of a unique life system found only in the black fresh water holes in the Bahamas, and was featured in the book titled Women of Discovery: A Celebration of Intrepid Women Who Explored the World. In 2004, Schwabe was given the "Women of Discovery Courage Award" by Wings WorldQuest.
Our day started early as we planned to depart from the Parkette at 8:30 in the morning. Al Quaman, Ian and Skyler Ellison, Erick Christy with nieces Alyx and Sammi Williford, Phillip and Ashlyn Ellison, Erin Thomas, Dan Ellison and Brandon Wilson met for a group breakfast.
The morning was quite cool with the temperature in the low 30’s when we arrived. It wasn’t much better when we finished eating and began our trip to the cave entrance. All in all the preparations were all good with the exception of a pair of overlooked boots still sitting in southern Illinois. A quick side trip to the local Walmart and a new pair of our favorite cave boots were in hand and the trip was ready to begin.
On Saturday, October 6, 2012 the Grotto will be taking a group of young cavers on a tour or the upper north, fossil and perhaps a few other areas of Mystery Cave in Perry County, Missouri. We expect a group of about a dozen persons to attend with a few first time cavers present in the group. A trip report/interview by the Grotto editor will be forth coming with maybe a few photos 😉
It is our pleasure to introduce our sport new cavers so that we don’t become a society of “crusty cavers”.