When I was a Boy Scout, I loved camping, hiking and everything associated with being a Boy Scout and I was exposed to the word “spelunking,” which is the exploration of caves.
Missouri has more than 6,200 caves—second only to Tennessee—and is known as the Cave State. More caves are discovered every year.
Karst is the geologic term referring to locations with underground caves, sinkholes and losing streams, where water disappears underground and exits as springs. Missouri caves were used by Native Americans for shelter and burial ceremonies
Missouri caves are a habitat for many species of snails, crayfish and insects found nowhere else in the world and which cannot survive outside of caves.
Missouri’s limestone bedrock formed 300 to 500 million years ago as ancient sea beds that were then uplifted to form the Ozarks Mountains and surrounding area. These ideal conditions and formations developed as water seeped underground dissolving the limestone.
The Beaumont Boy Scout Reservation located West of St. Louis Mo offers underground caves to explore, and I looked forward to exploring a cave.
On the morning my troop was to explore the mud caves I was excitement, however, as I approached the entrance to the cave which was a hole in the ground the width of a small window and not the wide opening I imagined.
When I was told, I had to crawl into the hole my thoughts of being covered with mud from head to toe, quickly ended. Suddenly I was not interested entering a cave with only a flashlight as my guide.
I watched as fellow Scouts crawled into the underground hole, sliding over the dark muddy rocks. Suddenly I could hear my mother’s voice. “you are muddy from head to toe,” which I thought was a great excuse when I told my Scout Master. When he said I did not have to go, I was so relieved, plus there is no merit badge for spelunking.
Ever since I changed my mind about spelunking, my life of great exciting adventures has never suffered, but, exploring an underground cave is something I have yet to find any desire.