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Perkins Cave
Camdem County, MO
24Nov07
Cavers: Jim Cooley, Craig Hines, Seth Alley, Wayne Fitzner, DJ Hall, Justace Clutter, Marcelo Kramer from Natal Brazil, two friends of Justace from KU, Pam Rader, Suzanna Langowski and her daughter Ariana.
Trip Report by DJ Hall.
(pictures)

Barred heavily and double locked, Perkins Cake like Joeís Cave a mile down the road, is 20 feet from the edge of a dusty farm road. After figuring out how to unlock the steel grading of the cave, we entered the crawl entrance into a moderate sized room about 7ft high with an array of nooks, crannies and short looping side passages. After waiting for everyone to crawl through the entrance, we proceeded about 100ft into the cave, as it narrowed to a 5ft wide stoop through stinky mud and various crawls of 2-3ft extending for about 300ft. We finally reached a small crawl that opened up into a room with several side passages. A side passage to the left went up into another large set of rooms with a generous amount of colorful graffiti.
After a short rest we continued on. The girls decided to explore a little in the immediate area, then go back to the surface. The cave divided into an upper passage and a lower passage. These passages joined together numerous times throughout the cave. There were several tight crawls in the lower passage and a nice chimney at one point leading jaggedly to the upper passage. We explored a good portion of the cave including a 35ft cyclical dripping water fall room containing the only real large formation I was able to find. Large brown hanging curtains and stalactites hung high above in the haunting dimly lit ceiling.
The cave was really void of any significant formations which was quite surprising considering the various pretties we experienced just hours ago in the newly found upper passages of nearby Joe Cave.
Perkins Cave did contain quite a large quantity of deep muddy passages. The further back we progressed, the deeper the mud sucked us in. At one point the mud was consistently knee deep. It took 10 to 15 seconds for each exhausting step. The mud literally sucked the strength from our legs and feet with each pull.
After slugging through this terrain for 100 or so feet, we rested. To this point we had been in the cave for several hours and after some discussion Jim Cooley convinced the group it was time to turn around. The way out was uneventful except that some of us unintentionally returned using the lower passage when we thought we were on the upper passage. I was quite confused as to where we made our navigational error. Jim had taken the upper passage and easily beat us to the final intersection. Turns out the upper passage split off at the top of the chimney, which we did not climb.
We exited the cave in darkness as a full moon was rising on horizontal beams, itís glow reflecting off a haze of high altitude ice crystals to the north. It was a glorious, cool, moonlit wonderland.
The high speed drive to Walnut Grove was about an hour and half. We stayed overnight at Trafton Kreemerís Cabin just south of Walnut Grove, MO. Shortly after we arrived, Seth quickly had a fire smoking while fire wood was hauled in from the pile and I set Craig up with a nice fire in the wood burning stove to prepare the evening meal. The meal the previous night at the hunting lodge had been a vegetarian feast of the highest caliber. Craig would no doubt not disappoint us in the least.
Shortly after getting everyone settled, a scream was heard from the bathroom! Suzanna had been startled by a dark object in the toilet. It took my eyes a moment to confirm what my brain was seeing. A small mouse had accidentally fallen into the toilet bowl and was peering up, eyes wide open and paws up in a begging dog position.
Upon further inspection, it became apparent the unfortunate furry rodent was devoid of life. It was quite an amusing discovery, especially in light of Suzannaís shrieks heard by everyone. I snatched the mouse out of itís liquid tomb and as I passed through the kitchen, with the mouse dangling by itís tail from my finger tips, Suzanna let out an even louder shriek, not at all amused by my crude method of disposal. I stepped outside and hurled the soaking fur ball into the darkness of the backyard, a whisper of a thud and cringle of leaves failed to echo in the crisp cool air.
As everyone settled their gear and sipped on wine, Craig finished his masterful meal of freshly steamed vegetables covered in a sauce of soy milk and coconut oil. His salad contained the largest water melon radishes I had ever set my eyes on, let alone tasted. We enjoyed the hearty feast and soon thereafter bedded down for the night looking forward to another exciting day of caving.