Weekend Adventures: Exploring the Kansas Underground

This weekend Frank and I did a little bit of everything! I paced a half marathon, we met up with the Kansas Speleological Society and went scouting for some caves on the Kansas Oklahoma boarder and went on a hike out at the Tallgrass Prairie. Basically, we had a great time.

Friday afternoon, Frank and I went straight down to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve for a 6-mile hike. The preserve is managed by the National Park Service and is probably some of the best hiking in Kansas. It has approximately 40 miles of marked trail where you can get rather far out into the Prairie. After Friday’s hike, we have officially covered all of the trails in the park!

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Nabbing the last trail at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

We got home in time to go on a bike ride with some friends and tried to hit the hay early. I had an early wake up the next morning for the Bill Snyder Highway Half Marathon!

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Bringing my group in to the finish line!

Saturday morning, I was up and ready to pace some people to their half marathon goals! I’ll write up a recap of the experience, but it was tons of fun!

After the race, Frank and I loaded up into the car for the Kansas Speleological Society (KSS) meeting in southern Kansas. We have done a lot of caving in the past, and really the only way to get access to new caves is to join one of these groups. Kansas isn’t known for good caving, but it has some stuff here or there. Luckily for me, I enjoy going into very small and tight caves, which is probably all that Kansas has. We spent Saturday afternoon out on a pasture, digging up sinkholes in hopes of finding new and unexplored caves. We found one with potential, but we still don’t know if it goes anywhere.

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Since I was the smallest of the group, I was sent in to see if the sinkhole lead to a cave.

In the evening, we camped out at a recreation and fishing area. Although Kansas is not overwhelmed in public land, it does have plenty of state recreation areas where there is free camping. We definitely take advantage of this Kansas perk.

The next morning, a few of the members of the KSS offered to take us to a cave on the Kansas-Oklahoma boarder. They were not too sure how far back it went and warned us that it was a wet and miserable crawl. We usually are not too picky about caves, so we took them up on the offer. This cave was a little deceiving. It had a big beautiful entrance, which lead to a tiny hole with flowing water. Frank and I loaded up with flashlights and kneepads and dove right in. I gotta say, this was probably the most miserable cave I’ve ever been in. I was face down and crawling in mud and water up to my elbows. Every time I thought “well, this can’t get any worse”, it actually would. There was even a section where we had to swim through cold and murky cave water. I always prefer dry caves, but I absolutely HATE swimming in a cave. The hole went about 1000 feet back and after an hour of army crawling through the miserable cave mud, we turned back. It’s always a joyful experience to see the literal light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in a wet cave.

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The entrance to the most miserable cave in the world.

When we got back to the car, we dried off and headed home. Overall, a successful weekend! Plus, after living in Kansas for a year, I finally made it back into a cave!!

How was your weekend? Any fun adventures?

By the way, I am going to be adding some more posts to my Weekend Adventures series including some “How tos” on backpacking, climbing, and caving.

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Adventures: Exploring the Kansas Underground

  1. Going into that tiny little hole would totally freak me out, and I’m not even claustrophobic! I am not really an outdoorsy girl. I like being in nature, but not camping, definitely not going into tiny little holes.

    Glad it was mostly fun for you. 🙂

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    • I’m kind of weird… I actually like small spaces, so caving is one of my favorite things to do. Haha! Camping can be tough. I have a pretty good system now, so I am generally pretty happy to do it.

      Thanks! It was tons of fun! Even the tough parts…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will have to read your “How tos” because last time I was in a cave… I was a kid! They seem scary to me. Hey do you see many snakes on your prairie hikes? Can’t wait to hear about your half pacing! I would love to do that someday but have no clue how to get involved.

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    • I’ll definitely write one. Caving isn’t too hard, you just need to get access to the caves, which is usually a pain. You just have to be comfortable and okay with tight places.

      Pacing was awesome!!! I just talked to the race director and he hooked me up.

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    • Yeah… I kind of have to work to make Kansas cool, but it can be. The caves and sinks were pretty fun. I got a little banged up though. Haha! I actually like tight places, so I’ve never felt claustrophobic.

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