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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    -21§: Spelunking hits the spot

    Mt. Lemmon’s Peppersauce Cave is full of intrigue for an afternoon of spelunking.

    Engineering sophomores Aidan Garza and Candace Bauer recently went to check out the cave after some friends of theirs went.

    “”We just put on some ratty clothes, found directions online, got some flashlights and we each had a hardhat,”” Garza said. “”We wound up hitting our heads a lot.””

    It wasn’t very easy to find and once they were on the mountain, they had to stop and ask around for directions.

    “”There’s like a plywood sign that someone made, but that’s it,”” Bauer said. “”Once you find it, the entrance to the cave is really small, but then you climb through into miles of passage.””

    Exploring the cave isn’t for the faint of heart.

    “”We would slide down a big rock slope and wade through some water and then, like, find a different passageway that we’d have to shimmy down,”” Bauer said.

    There are lots of narrow spaces through the cave and many underground pools.

    “”It’s a living cave, which means it has a constant temperature – somewhere in the 70s,”” Bauer said. “”It wasn’t cold or hot. It was actually really nice.””

    About 23,000 people visit the cave every year, according to the Central Arizona Grotto’s Web site – and it’s evident.

    “”People who had gone there before had spray-painted arrows everywhere so that you knew how to get in and out,”” Garza said. “”There were bottles and wrappers and stuff like that, but not much.””

    Garza and Bauer said it also appeared as if someone had had a party in one of the rooms, as there were enough candles all over the room to have a lot of people without flashlights. Since Bauer and Garza only went about a half-mile into the cave, they didn’t experience the entire spectacle.

    “”They say if you know the right way to go and you know the right routes and everything, there’s a room with a ladder in it, and like a book that you can sign your name in,”” Bauer said. “”Supposedly there’s a huge underground lake in there somewhere.””

    At any rate, Bauer and Garza had an exceptional time and cannot wait to return to the cave.

    “”If you’re not afraid to get dirty and you’ve got some time on your hands, it’s really fun,”” Bauer said.

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