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Having arrived at the entrance coordinates for the Holy Grail Cave, we took some time to prepare and help each other get ready for our second caving experience as an Exercise and Sport Science Caving group from UW-L.

Having arrived at the entrance coordinates for the Holy Grail Cave, we took some time to prepare and help each other get ready for our second caving experience as an Exercise and Sport Science Caving group from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Unlike some other caves, the Holy Grail is best accessed through a drilled entrance as pictured here.

Unlike some other caves, the Holy Grail is best accessed through a drilled entrance as pictured here.

The ladder descending into the entrance of the Holy Grail.

The ladder descending into the entrance of the Holy Grail.

Name plaque marking the entrance to the cave reads "Welcome to Holy Grail Cave" and certainly bids a warming welcome to all who enter!

Name plaque marking the entrance to the cave reads “Welcome to Holy Grail Cave” and certainly bids a warming welcome to all who enter!

Students working to carefully descend into the first chamber of Holy Grail Cave.

Students working to carefully descend into the first chamber of Holy Grail Cave.

Now inside the cave, we had the opportunity to enjoy a quite rustic cave environment full of opportunities for exploration and curiosity.

Now inside the cave, we had the opportunity to enjoy a quite rustic cave environment full of opportunities for exploration and curiosity.

This rat marks a point in the cave where water carried the figurine to during spring flooding that occurs each year in this location.  When snowmelt occurs, the Holy Grail Cave fills with water and deposits a new layer of sediment throughout the cave.... One time also carrying this rat to a deep chamber of the cave from the entrance where it had been placed as a Halloween joke by the cave's owner.

This rat marks a point in the cave where water carried the figurine to during spring flooding that happens each year in this location. When snowmelt occurs, the Holy Grail Cave fills with water and deposits a new layer of sediment throughout the cave…. One time also carrying this rat to a deep chamber of the cave from the entrance where it had been placed as a Halloween joke by the cave’s owner.

Mud drying on the side of one of the cave slopes in a somewhat deep chamber of Holy Grail Cave.

Mud drying on the side of one of the cave slopes in a deeper chamber of Holy Grail.

 

Greg Brick, our guide and facilitator for the Holy Grail experience.  Greg is a very knowledgeable geologist and experienced caver that helps lead tours for outside groups.  http://www.gregbrick.org/

Greg Brick, our guide and facilitator for the Holy Grail experience. Greg is a very knowledgeable geologist and experienced caver that helps lead tours for outside groups. http://www.gregbrick.org/

 

More natural ground debris within the cave...

More natural ground debris within the cave…

 

Some of our group!  Definitely enjoying the rustic caving experience at Holy Grail Cave.

Some of our group! Definitely enjoying the rustic caving experience at Holy Grail Cave.

A unique soda-straw and "tulip" formation on the ceiling of the cave.

A unique soda-straw and “tulip” formation on the ceiling of the cave.

 

Intently listening for the underground river that lies below the section of the cave that we were able to explore.  The river was accessible via vertical passageways as Holy Grail has multiple levels with varying degrees of adventure.

Intently listening for the underground river that lies below the section of the cave that we were able to explore. The river was accessible via vertical passageways as Holy Grail has multiple levels with varying degrees of adventure.

 

Photo of a veritcal passageway leading toward the river.

Photo of a vertical passageway leading toward the river.

 

Old gauge from previous geological and speleological activities.

Old gauge from previous geological and speleological activities.

 

Exploring the inner depths of the cave!

Exploring the inner depths of the cave!  Our class had the chance to spend only a minimal amount of time in the cave due to difficulties in transitioning the entire group into the cave from the drilled entrance. However, there were many opportunities for adventure and exploration!

 

An attempt at a perspective shot of a very vertical section of the cave that holds some drastic contour and texture changes.

An attempt at a perspective shot of a very vertical section of the cave that holds some drastic contour and texture changes. While flash photography can be a definite challenge in cave systems, this distantly illuminates the opposing walls and sharp descent. In this photo, I am nearly standing on a section of the descent.

 

Holy Grail's sign-in sheet and map log at the entrance to the cave (on our way out).

Holy Grail’s sign-in sheet and map log at the entrance/exit of the cave.

 

Flipping through the various maps and documents posted at the entrance/exit.

Flipping through the various maps and documents posted at the entrance/exit.

 

Exiting the cave!  Our brave class was eager to climb back out of the "cave well" and back into daylight.

Exiting the cave! Our brave class was eager to climb back out of the “cave well” and back into daylight, only to find a rainy, damp Saturday afternoon on the other side.

 

Emerging victorious from the entrance to Holy Grail Cave!

Emerging victorious from the entrance to Holy Grail Cave!

 

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