Is there a cave club near you? There might be and you just don’t know it.
Roubidoux Grotto is a caving club based in the Fort Leonard Wood/St. Robert/Waynesville area in Pulaski County, Mo.
Karen Hood, chairman of the club, works for the Missouri Tourism Bureau and claims she found her love for caves and exploring them while she was planning the National Speleological Society (NSS) convention that was held in Pulaski County in 2015.
Roubidoux Grotto Cave Club is a non-profit member organization that was founded on Aug. 24, 2015, and officially recognized as a Chapter of the National Speleological Society on Aug. 31, 2015.
“While I was meeting with several cavers I met a bunch of neat people and realized that I love caving as well,” said Hood.
After the convention, Hood was then interested in starting a grotto in Pulaski County.
“We had leadership people from the NSS convention that were in town help us start up the Grotto,” said Hood.
The first chairman was Ron Jones, and according to Hood, Jones was able to get the Grotto off the ground with all his experience and knowledge.
“What I love most about caves is that you never know what to expect,” said Hood.
Hood started working with cavers in 2013 and has been working with caves ever since.
“Our main goal is to get underground and experience the caves, but also spread the word about caves, the environment, and safety,” said Hood.
The Roubidoux Grotto Cave Club tries to explore one cave a month. With over 7,000 caves in Missouri, there are several different types of caves to choose from.
“In caving communities you have people that are looking for what’s important to them, such as rocks, water, or bats, and then you have people who are just there to see and enjoy the hike,” said Hood.
Roubidoux Grotto encourages cavers of all types to join their club.
“There are so many different types of cavers and there are so many different reasons why people would like to join, and we encourage that,” said Hood.