Post details: Ritter Springs 2005

11/17/06

Permalink 12:40:01 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 743 words   English (US)

Ritter Springs 2005

About this time a year ago (hey, better late than never) I took some of our newer (at the time) members out and showed them around Ritter Springs Park. The park is just north of Springfield on Fantastic Caverns Rd. We met up on the northside, and after some discrepancy over where, exactly, we would be meeting, we managed to make it to the park without losing anyone (barely).

RACCCCC

Raccoon, MJames, Colt 45, and Darkcloud of the RACCCC (the Reaching and Cooning Cave Caver’s Club – though I may have added an extra “C”), all showed up, along with Piplnr and his wife, and a few strays, mostly local high school kids.

There are three caves at Ritter Springs, two of which are normally open to the public. The third, Bat Cave, is barred and only accessible by special permission… though there may or may not be another way in. After a long walk to the lake - and a cursory search for snakes near the waterfall - we plumbed the first cave; a fairly basic, linear cave with a few crawls and tight corners, but nothing too difficult and no decorations to speak of.

Cave #1

I did manage to find something new in the first cave, that being an odd vertical shaft that Piplnr and I were able to completely stand up inside, though not at the same time of course. It reached almost to the surface, and the ceiling was little more than earth and roots hanging over our heads.

Two of the smaller members of our expedition were also able to squirm down a ridiculously tight side-passage I had never before noticed. I began to follow them, but thought better of it as I watched their feet disappear around a tight corner. The rest of us were left standing around for what seemed like an hour with no way of communicating with the pair. At one point we heard banging sounds coming from inside the wall, and I was afraid they were trapped, but they eventually found a place big enough to turn around and we all made it back all right.

Root Room

Next I led the group out to see the Bat Cave entrance, and we were able to check out some of the new trails along the way. We eventually reached a bridge, which led me to realize we were going the wrong way, but we weren’t far from the cave, and I had no trouble finding it once I got my bearings.

Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky when it came time to track down our third and final cave of the evening. The third cave is actually a large crack in the ground, around 20 feet deep, with cavernous offshoots. There’s not much to it once you get down there, but the climb down is worth the trouble.

My krew

The trails get pretty hairy en route to Cave #3, and we all seemed to have different recollections of the park and different ideas on how to get there. After wandering around for an extremely long time a few of the group decided to split up. We did eventually find the place, but we lost a few people along the way, and it was getting dark by the time we got there. Luckily it’s a short cave, and only a couple of people felt like braving my rope, which was barely attached to a nearby outcropping. The airflow was also pretty bad at the bottom, and quickly filled with CO2, prompting us to make a hasty retreat.

Cave #3

It was dark by the time we got out, and we had to use our flashlights to find our way back, which made crossing the river a lot of fun. There were only a few of us by the time we got back, but luckily one of the people we lost was waiting for us at the parking lot. Piplnr and some others had given up long before we got there.

When we got ready to leave were all horrified to find the front gates closed ahead of us, meaning we were all locked inside the park – or so we thought. I was furious at this point, after being lost in the woods for hours, and considered just ramming the fence, but I decided to check the lock first and lo and behold, some kind-hearted individual had only fake-locked the gate. I waited until everyone else was out, and then fastened the padlock behind me.

Comments:

Comment from: Pablo [Visitor] · http://roundrockjournal.com
A faceless horde, no question about it. Fascinating series of posts. I live vicariously through your adventures!
Permalink 11/17/06 @ 19:41
Comment from: Pablo [Visitor] · http://roundrockjournal.com
My, but you do look like a young bunch of faceless horde beings.
Permalink 11/21/06 @ 08:07
Comment from: Sertile [Visitor]
Like I said, they were all local high school kids except for Piplnr, who's totally ancient.
Permalink 11/21/06 @ 16:56
Comment from: Punctual [Visitor]
:( i was the lost soul
Permalink 11/30/06 @ 12:46
Comment from: Bob [Visitor]
Wow! Your entry was a trip down memory lane for me. I used to visit this park and the first cave you mentioned over 20 years ago. I have been down the "ridiculously tight side-passage" you mentioned. I was 18 or 19 years old at the time and literally had to raise my arms above my head in order to fit my shoulders through the hole. As I recall, I had to squirm around in order to bend my knees and then my waist around the tight corner. The passage did eventually open up enough for us to crawl. Now, over 20 years and 50 lbs. later, I would not have the guts to try it again.
Permalink 02/22/07 @ 15:24
Comment from: Outdoorsey Chick of Spfld [Visitor] · http://myspace.com/loverofshopping
This blog entry is almost the exact way it is every time you go in all three of these caves. Although if you're not trained correctly, I don't advise you go into the notorious "Bat Cave," for it has 'bad air' as well, only WAY worse. I am a very outdoorsey person. I am studying outdoor recreation supervision at MU and I can recollect all these memories of Ritter Springs Caves and the park itself. I worked for the day camp for 2 years, and I still work for the outdoor initiatives dept of the City of Springfield. You have really shown the true aspect of these caves. I can agree with most points of your interest of the caves. Nicely portrayed. Oh. And just so you know, it's always 'dummy' locked when there's someone left in there. And there's also a back entrance for these types of situations. Just remember for next time.
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Permalink 03/16/09 @ 11:43
Comment from: Randy baker [Visitor]
Love Ritter? Know all the caves well. My step sons when 12 and 10 came home covered in red clay and exploring the bat cave (this of course was 18 or so years ago before they barred it off)...it's not that hard to find but it is on private property so be careful. To make it easier to find follow the trail back south immediately after cross the waterfall/dam bridge...go roughly 50 yards and hang an immediate left...cut through the woods directly east (take a compass to help)on an old deer trail for 100-125 yards and you will be there...

Great memories!
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 大連の風景はまるで絵のようTory Burch で気候も温和だし、街は多彩で活気に溢れた都市MBT シューズ である。私の紹 介を見て、トリより多くの友人の皆様に大連をご理解
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