Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cave and Spring near Old Sand Mine at Nasco

At the area's district fair Friday night, I ran into the owner of the Old Sand Mine property on the River at Nasco. While talking with him, he told me about a cave near the old mine and gave me directions. Because he is in the process of selling the property, he suggested we make our visit as soon as possible.

We did so. We made plans late last night and got up with the sun to drive down the old Nasco Traverse to do a bit of real exploring.

It was an amazing morning. A spring below the cave empties into Lyons creek several hundred feet below. We crossed Lyons Creek after finding a suitable place to park our vehicle and found the spring branch the gracious landowner had described. Ascending a natural staircase carpeted in a rich emerald green moss, we made our way up the steep branch that is a series of tiny trickling waterfalls. Crystal pools of Ozark spring-water reflected the lush canopy of vegetation creating astounding contrasts with the vibrant moss that covers each rock along the stream.

Making our way breathlessly over boulders up the final steep climb, we finally made our way to a bluff which revealed a cave opening.

A stream of water flows from the mouth of the cave to disappear into the loose gravel that makes up the floor. It only took a glance to see that any attempt at exploring the cave beyond a few feet would prove a wet and painful experience. Though we had brought lights, we had not brought kneepads or any way to keep equipment dry. To explore into the cave (which looks can glimpse deep passages from the water's edge), would have required more determination than we had at the time. Hopefully we will get to return more prepared.

Running parallel to the spring-branch is a wash...though currently dry, it must have plenty of water throughout the year because the moss on bluff-shelves that create a picturesque "grand staircase" up the little hollow to an interesting bluffface some twenty-to fifty feet higher up the hill than the cave described.

The trip[ today was wonderful. We love visiting new places we've never seen. And this was one p[lace really worth seeing!

I would like to return in the winter if we can get permission. From the position of the cave's mouth, I'm almost sure one would have an excellent view of the White River from that position.

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