Jump to content

Issue 53 has been released! Download your own high definition PDF copy with a TrailGroove Premium Subscription or read online in standard definition here.



Indian Cave SP, Nebraska


kwhowell
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is my first trip report, so forgive me if it isn't real fluid and lacking information.

Last Friday my old room mate and I decided to pack up and head two hours north of KC and do some backpacking at Indian Cave State Park, just inside of the Nebraska boarder. We left Kansas City at about 6:00 pm and rolled into the park around 8:00, just as we were beginning to lose daylight. We paid $23 for a two night vehicle pass as well as two nights of back country camping. They gave us a map at the entrance that was incredibly different than anything we found online, it came in quite handy. Once we hunted down our trail head (#3), I loaded up the dogs pack, strapped on my boots and hit the trail. Now this is Nebraska, and I wasn't expecting many hills but these were some very steep climbs. They were probably only about 250 feet worth of elevation change, but after two days it really wore me out.

About 30 minutes into the hike it was time for the headlamps. I was excited since I was trying out the Petzl Tikka RXP for the first time. Right as we got to the top of the first climb we were greeted with a great view of the Missouri River (Picture). You can't see the stars, but they were amazing. Or, I'm just too used to all the dirty light in KC?

post-1451-143508725405_thumb.jpg

A few more ups and downs and we decided it was time to start looking for a place to set up camp. We stopped at the first Adirondack we came across and found that a bird had decided to make its home, instead. We figured we'd continue hiking and set up at the next shelter. We hiked for another 30 minutes or so and saw the sign for the next shelter. Now it was about 11:00 pm and never did I expect to run into someone else hiking at that time, but sure enough, as we rounded the corner Adam caught the reflection of some packs on the trail in front of us followed by a voice shouting, "We got this shelter!" Well shoot! They obviously didn't want to be bothered so we kept hiking to the next tent site. We finally got to our campground at about midnight.

post-1451-143508725251_thumb.jpg

The next day we awoke to find that we had camped right up hill from a little drainage creek, so I went to fill water using my Katadyn Hiker. This park is practically eroding in front of your eyes and the soil is super silty. As a result, I was only able to pump about two liters before I had to give up on the filter. Luckily, I had also packed in my Sawyer Mini. The Sawyers are super easy to back flow, so he got us through the rest of the weekend. We started off the morning with a pretty gradual down then up, then straight down (picture) to the cave parking lot. There are some ancient hieroglyphics on the park's cave walls but unfortunately pets were a no-go, so I caught a nap while Adam went and snapped some pictures.

post-1451-143508725392_thumb.jpg

We went back up the same trail we came down and headed to the overlook. It was pretty amazing!

post-1451-143508725272_thumb.jpg

There was a lot more up and down, and then we stopped at one of the several shelters along the trail to catch a lunch with awesome views of the river and surrounding woodlands.

post-1451-143508725355_thumb.jpg

After a couple more hours we pretty much ran out of trail. We had to jump a fence (we got permission from the park blacksmith) in order to get back to the car without doing some major backtracking. Then, we ended up driving out to the nearest town, getting a case of beer, coming back and car camping that night. While we were sipping away we actually saw a huge (HUGE) tree that was dead go down in the woods right in front of us. It rolled down a pretty steep hill and took a few more smaller trees with it. On top of the loose soil, they did a controlled burn on one half of the park last year and did the other half earlier this year, so there was a lot of dead stuff everywhere. (Did I mention that the park is eroding in front of your eyes?) All the up and down must have wore out Ted, the dog, too because he barely moved when the tree fell.

post-1451-143508725329_thumb.jpg

Overall I think we did about 17 miles, and it was amazing! I plan to go back to Indian Cave SP several times. The views were great and the abundance of back country campgrounds offered a lot of options. On top of that, I have a hard time finding ups and downs like this anywhere close to KC. I recommend making a visit, just be sure to get an updated map at the park entrance and use it instead of the maps available online. It was a riddle at every trail crossing with the old map.

post-1451-143508725243_thumb.jpg

post-1451-143508725297_thumb.jpg

post-1451-143508725369_thumb.jpg

post-1451-143508725383_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

kwhowell.......

Very nice report!

I hiked at Indian Cave several times, taking along my two sons and some Boy Scouts. We practiced orienteering, compass use, and backpacking techniques.

It's a pretty popular area, the view of the Missouri River is great. I also remember the caves and loose soil you mentioned. I suppose this is a result of meandering of the river over the centuries, which left sandy soil deposits and carved out the cave. I can tell you the scouts loved the area, we had a great time.

Gary M.

Olathe, Kansas

Edited by Gary M
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks that's cool! My son goes to Creighton in Omaha we've been looking for something to do like this. Awesome! Heck we might just camp there when we go visit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

kwhowell.......

Very nice report!

I hiked at Indian Cave several times, taking along my two sons and some Boy Scouts. We practiced orienteering, compass use, and backpacking techniques.

It's a pretty popular area, the view of the Missouri River is great. I also remember the caves and loose soil you mentioned. I suppose this is a result of meandering of the river over the centuries, which left sandy soil deposits and carved out the cave. I can tell you the scouts loved the area, we had a great time.

Gary M.

Olathe, Kansas

Sorry for my unscientific guess. I have been informed the unique geology at Indian Creek is a result of the end of last ice age. When the glaciers retreated, the loose soil and windblown silt were left behind. I still would imagine the river had some part in the formation of the cave, which is actually more of an overhang.

I also thought the Missouri River is located at the southern-most edge of the massive Midwestern glacier pack. Maybe someone can give further info, perhaps I am wrong?

I do know my kids loved the "cave" and hardwood trees. They came home a muddy mess, but asking; "Can we go back?"

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Premium Member
Aaron Zagrodnick

Great trip report kwhowell! Were you ever able to get the run time issues with the RXP worked out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ran the headlamp for about five hours on Friday night and again for about two hours on Saturday. Both nights on the reactive setting, and It ran strong, as expected, the entire time.

Based on what I've read, the average time the battery is supposed to run on the lowest setting is 12.5 hours. I'm not sure if using the software to reprogram the lamp would make much of a difference - it may, I just don't know. Either way, I really didn't see the extra $50 value in this lamp compared to something less expensive. It was pretty neat to see it dim really quickly when I put a map in front of my face, or how it would shut itself off if I was staring into the fire for a few minutes, but my Black Diamond Storm works just fine. I plan on returning the RXP. Maybe once the technology becomes less expensive or they can figure out how to expand the battery life I'll be in the market for one, but right now I'll just deal with having to manually adjust the beam on a cheaper model.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...