An Awesome Surprise by Judith Miller

When I finally typed “The End” on my latest manuscript and sent it off to my publisher a full week early (not bragging or anything), my daughter, granddaughter and I headed off to Missouri for a few days of vacation time. While exploring on the internet, my daughter had located a couple of places she thought would provide some activity and interest for all three of us.

We rented a cabin—it was a very modern cabin—with washer, dryer, microwave, and all other necessary appliances, as well as a pool and patio where we grilled hot dogs and made s’mores. But before we arrived at the cabin which was located near Elephant Rock State Park and the Johnson Shut-Ins State Park, we stopped in the small town of Bonne Terre, Missouri, to take a walking and boat tour of the huge man-made cavern and scuba diving school.  Don’t get too excited about this. I did NOT scuba dive, but I was totally captivated that we were riding in a boat through a flooded mine that contains more than a billion gallons of water and also provides beautiful echoes.

The water is over one hundred and eighty feet deep and the temperature in the cavern remains at a lovely 62 degrees year-round. The walking tour allows time to take in the beauty of the formations that man carved into the ground while mining lead. Mining in this region of Missouri (about 100 miles south of St. Louis) played an important role in the economic stability of the area for more than 280 years.

Bonne Terre mine was abandoned back in the early 1960’s and subsequently filled with ground water. The old equipment, lockers and caves can be explored on underwater diving expeditions. Divers can become certified divers by completing the course and Jacques Cousteau spent five days diving and exploring the underwater beauty at Bonne Terre. They said the divers jumped down into the water from that hole up above, but they were just kidding–at least I hope they were.

If you ever find yourself near St. Louis and looking for something of interest, I highly suggest a tour of the mine. All three of us had a good time and now my daughter hopes to go back and get certified in scuba diving. As for me, I’ll stay in the boat.

How about you? Did you explore any new and interesting places this summer? If not, I hope you were able to enjoy some of God’s wonders outside your front door!



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