Today I was pressed into duty, on two days' notice, to guide our 11-year-old scouts through the upper main passage of Ft. Stanton Cave. (Steve Plimpton, who had secured the permit and was to be the tour leader, had a bicycle accident this week in which he separated a shoulder, and I was at hand.) The route we took was pretty casual, as we went down the main passage, past Crystal Crawl (see photo), to the Lunch Room and then back out. (In the end I decided to steer clear of "Skinner's Squeeze" and what I refer to as the "Big Muddy" passage -- through which very long, beautiful extensions of the cave, including one called "Snowy River," have been discovered in recent years.) However, the kids all seemed to eat it up.
Going on this overnight trip were Andy Greenwood, our scoutmaster (and de facto 11-year-old scout leader, since we currently have no active deacon-age boys in our ward), Adam Greenwood, Ray Mocho, Lucas Smathers, and Onesimo Chavez. The cave is about 170 miles from Albuquerque and lies about five or six miles east of the town of Capitan.