Archives for: November 2005, 10

11/10/05

Permalink 12:15:31 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1064 words   English (US)

carthage underground with reporter

A few weeks back, we returned to the Carthage Underground with Max McCoy, a reporter for the Joplin Globe, to do a story about us and the Underground.

We started out the night, as always, by meeting up at our usual spot. Most of our group sort of trickled in, but everyone showed up just in time. For this one, we had Underdog, Willard, Sertile, David Keetz, Anne, Dave, Hiccup and myself. Half of us loaded up into my vehicle (which had a canoe strapped to the roof) and half loaded up into Anne's.

An hour later we pulled into the Carthage Wal-mart. We were meeting our friend Dru there as well as Max McCoy, and neither was there yet. Max was the first to arrive, and he had a paranormal investigator with him that he was doing a story on. She'd been interested in coming, Max had asked me if it was all right, and I told him to go ahead and bring her.

We told Max we were running in to take a leak, and several of us went inside. We did our business, and then I started looking around to see if we could buy an extra set of plastic paddles for one of our rafts. It appeared that inflatables rafts and accessories were a seasonal item, though, because we couldn't find them anywhere. We did, however, find Dru wandering around inside, and everyone was finally present.

Back outside, Max was already interviewing the people who had stayed. We milled around for a bit while he asked us questions and signed a couple books for Anne. It was pretty cool to actually get interviewed for something like that.

With that finished, we drove down to where the Underground was located, dumped off the canoe and boats, our gear, and most of our group, then we went and parked somewhere else. It was just a short walk back to the entrance, so everyone didn't have to wait long for us to return. Once there, several of us picked up the canoe and started leading the way, and it seemed a lot heavier carrying it that far.

Just outside the entrance, we stopped to take a break. We wandered inside the upper level and showed everyone around a little bit. There was a road inside that sloped down into the lower level, but there was lots of debris in front of it. We decided it would probably be better to take the canoe in through a second entrance that was directly next to the other one, because it went straight into the second level.

We picked up our junk one more time, went through the second entrance, and followed the road that sloped down into the lower level. The entire level was flooded, and we stopped at the shore of what was basically an underground lake. For many, this was their first time there, and everyone was pretty stoked.

A few of the guys started airing up Sertile's inflatable boat, while I started hooking up the trolling motor to the canoe. Unfortunately, once it was hooked up, it refused to work. I thought maybe the battery was dead or no good, but I found out later the trolling motor had just had some sort of mechanical problem. Which sucked, because hauling it and the extremely heavy battery for it down there had been a real pain in the ass. There was nothing I could do about it down there, though, so I aired up my raft and we were ready to rock.

Six of us loaded up into my canoe, another three loaded up into my inflatable boat, and another two loaded up into Sertile's boat which was tied to the rear of my raft. We put Anne at the head of the canoe with the propane lantern, and I took up the rear with oar duty. We finally shoved off and got to exploring.

We paddled straight into the darkness, with no general direction in mind. We joked around about the supposed reptiles that lived in the cavern and did our usual pirate schtick. It was pretty similar to the last trip we had made there, although it was ten times easier with everyone having room to sit comfortably in the boats. We just made a big lazy loop around the western side of the level until we were back around by the entrance again.

After that, we headed off in a different direction, where we stopped to let Max take some pictures. We just sort of bobbed in the water for a while, turning around and around a few times. When he was done, I realized I didn't really have any idea which way we'd come from anymore. It wasn't a big deal, since the place had four walls and all you had to do was follow them until you found your way out. It had also happened every single time we'd been there. Still, though, it was a little embarassing to do that in front of the reporter.

In all, it took us about an hour to find our way back to the entrance. It wouldn't have mattered, but Max had told us that he and the paranormal investigator had to go to a seance later on that night. No, I'm not making that up. We made it back to the shore with almost no time to spare. Max thanked us and told us he'd had a blast, then they made a quick exit.

It took us a little while to deflate the rafts and load everything up. Plus, none of us were really in the mood to carry all that crap back out of the Underground. Eventually, though, we did, although we stopped outside the entrance while a few of the group went into the upper level to check it out.

On the way back to the car, we just loaded everything into the canoe and had everyone help carry it. It was slow-going and very tiring. We had to stop a couple times just to rest, but finally made it back to the car. There, everyone sat around for a bit while I went through the big ordeal of strapping the canoe back onto my vehicle.

With that done, we all loaded up and started heading back to Springfield, wondering what the newspaper article would say about us.

Underground Ozarks Blog

Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.

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