Infamous Travel Bug Prison
June 7, 2003

I broke some detainees out of a prison deep inside a cave in Madison County. Really. Let me explain...
In the Geocaching sport, there's a little side game involving Travel Bugs. Travel Bugs are game pieces - usually unique keychains, small toys and stuffed animals - that players move from geocache to geocache. The idea is that these Travel Bugs will eventually move across the country, and you can track their progress on the Geocaching web site.
A few players got together and placed a geocache container deep inside this small narrow cave, but not before going out and collecting some Travel Bugs from area geocaches and placing them inside. They named their cache the Infamous Travel Bug Prison.
I like a challenge, and exploring a cave sounded fun. A couple of nice folks from Broken Arrow, Alan and Teresa, first tried to find the prison two weeks ago and didn't give up until they'd spent four hours searching. So I headed out early on a Saturday morning to take a crack at it.
This cave is located above a picnic area next to Pine Creek at the southern end of the Madison County Wildlife Refuge. It is only a couple miles east of Hwy 23. GPS coordinates are N 36° 12.036 W 093° 41.629 (WGS84). There is a nice spring coming out of the mountain here, along with several small caves.
I followed a well-worn path up to the cave opening. There are actually two levels to the cave. I first crawled down the lower level but after ten minutes it became too narrow to go any farther. I then backed out and went up to the upper level. As I crawled to the back of the upper level I saw cave crickets and salamanders and small versions of flowstone, stalactites, and cave grapes. I was filthy when I finally made it back out, but it's an adventure I'll never forget.
On the way home I drove through Withrow Springs State Park, just because I'd never been there. They were having a kids' trout fishing derby in the spring-fed stream.