At the First Upstream Sump the cave is bisected by a large east to west trending joint in the limestone rock. Cave passages are abundant along this joint, although it also appears to be the reason for the Mystic sump. Two major sections of cave, Little Mystic and Cricket Creek, intersect the East-West Joint.
In 2001, cavers found the way around the First Upstream Sump. The Echo Connection at the end of the Borehole leads to more upper level Mystic passage. Shortly into this section the passage becomes dry clay floor in beautifully sculpted, wide open “trunk” passage. Cruisin’ is known as one of Scott Hollow’s finest passages; three quarters of a mile of easy walking through big cave. Cruisin’ intersects the lower level Mystic stream passage at four locations in this new section of Scott Hollow.
Four hundred feet below Scott Hollow, along the base of Flat Mountain, flows one of West Virginia's finest cave streams. Mystic River is the main conduit through the Scott Hollow cave system, stretching five miles from deep under The Knobs to within two miles of the Greenbrier River. Exploration continues at both ends of this unusually large stream passage, and it is likely that many more miles of cave will be found.
Most cavers reach Mystic via Middle Earth, a small infeeder stream that intersects the far downstream end of the North-South Passage. There are two other ways to reach Mystic River, a climb down from the Omega Trail and a rappel from PAG Alley. All three ways come into Mystic at the same area, between Craig's Creek and Middle Earth. Mystic is 60 feet high and 40 to 50 feet wide here. Downstream is a nice walk as the passage turns into tall, sculpted canyon. A quarter mile downstream of Craig's Creek is the first Mystic sump, a big lake where the passage descends under water.
Upstream Mystic from Middle Earth is very different terrain, although the passage is still large. For most of the mile and a half to the Upstream Sump, the trail is either over boulders or walking through water, knee to chest deep. Along the way, there are several particularly nice spots including John's Flowstone, Double Waterfall, Amber's Garden, Ho-Hum Hall, Kansas, Vista Del Rio, and the Borehole.
The last of these intersections, Seven Junction, is one of the largest areas of Scott Hollow Cave. Just past Seven Junction is Super Bowl, the largest room in Scott Hollow. Super Bowl is over 200 feet in diameter and 60 to 70 feet high. The large borehole passages leading out of this room make it a spectacular sight, yet to be photographed. Exploration continues beyond this area, at Breakdown Mountain. Breakdown Mountain is over 100 feet high and is the current upstream terminus of upper level Mystic. There are numerous ways on near Breakdown Mountain and much time has been spent in this area looking for new passages.
350 feet downstream of the First Sump, the stream emerges into large open passage again. The tall ceiling is gone; the passage now being over 100 feet wide and 10 to 20 feet high. Mystic flows straight as an arrow here for a half mile to the Second Sump. At the Second Sump, the passage once again descends under water. At the First Sump, an upper level allows a dry way over the submerged passages below. This luxury does not yet exist at Second Sump.
Photo By Ed McCarthy