I N T E R C O M Volume 46, Issue 5 September October 2010 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Grotto Website: www.caves.org/grotto/iowa Coldwater Cave Project website:http://www.caves.org/project/coldwater Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year, includes INTERCOM and Hot-Line subscriptions. INTERCOM subscriptions only are $13.00 per year. The Iowa Grotto reserves the right to decline membership during or after a probationary period. Due Dates : for submission of material for publication in the INTERCOM is January 1st. Send material for publication, e-mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Scott Dankof 515-986-3219 410 Hickory Circle Grimes IA. 50111 E-mail email@example.com Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Scott Dankof, the INTERCOM editor. Cave Rescue : Contact the Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services Central Dispatch at 502-564-7815 for cave emergencies only in the NCRC Central Region of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Iowa Grotto Meetings : are the fourth Wednesday of each month, third Wednesday in December at 7:30 p.m. in Room 125 or thereabouts of Trowbridge Hall on the campus of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. IOWA GROTTO National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Mike Lace Vice Chairman Ed Klausner Secretary Treasurer Phil LaRue Volume 46 Issue 5 C O N T E N T S _____________ Trip reports: Meeting Minutes 38 Toominator Crawl Toominates 39 OTR 40 Exploring the Land of Oz 40 YouÂ’re not in Kansas anymore! 41 October Arkansas Trip 43 MVOR 44 Book Review: The Secret Cave 44 Cover Photo: Mike Lace and Will Feltman in McGowen Cave, AR. Photo by Scott Dankof. ___________C A L E N D A R___________37 Nominations for Iowa Grotto offices (Chairman, vice-chairman and Secretary-treasure) will be accepted from Oct. 27th until Dec. 31st via E-mail or submission to the Iowa Grotto mailbox or at an upcoming Grotto meeting. December Grotto Meeting will be cancelled due to holiday. Normal meeting dates, times and location will resume on January 26th, 2011. New Iowa Grotto T-shirt design contest in full swing!! Please submit any T-shirt design for the next generation of Grotto T-shirts to Teresa Kurtz (Teresa Kurtz ) February 23rd 7:30pm Iowa Grotto Meeting
Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting September 22, 2010 The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Chairman Mike Lace, at 7:45 p.m., after a Power Point presentation by Mike Lace on the Caves of Isla de Mona and Puerto Rico. There were 9 members and 1 guests present. Minutes from the August 26, 2010, were read and approved. TREASURERÂ’S REPORT: General Fund: $2844.53; Coldwater Fund: $98.00; Petty Cash: $103.10. TRIP REPORTS: Joe Dixon reported on his trip to visit the caves at Wildcat Den State Park, Muscatine County with his children. John Donahue reported on the Grotto cave surveying and sketching workshop, at Lost Canyon Wildlife Area, Jones County. Grotto members in attendance were Gary Engh, Ed Klausner, John Kirk, Teresa Kurtz, Mike Lace, Dan Valentine and Brandi Zinn. The workshop was considered to be a success by all in attendance. Jason Rogers reported on his family trip to Mystery Cave, MN, and Crystal Lake Cave, Dubuque County. Mike L. reported that there was a lead checking trip in Winneshiek County attended by Bill Mulder, Dick Reth and Al Ticknor. FUTURE TRIPS: There will be trips to Doll, Engelkins or WerdenÂ’s Caves. Contact Phil LaRue if interested. There will be several different trips at Coldwater Cave the third weekend in October. See the Grotto website or contact Mike L. or Ed K. for details. The vertical training session scheduled for October 2, 2010, has been cancelled. See the Intercom and N.S.S. News for additional trips and events. NEW BUSINESS: Deb McCarty has donated a map case and many different maps to the Grotto library. Joe Dixon reported that his second manuscript on bats in Iowa has been accepted for publication. He then explained that he is putting together a list of caves below 50 meters in length to be evaluated for bat numbers and species. OLD BUSINESS: The Grotto is currently out of copies of the Cave Map Books Volumes I-IV. Volume V is still available. More copies of the first four volumes will be printed. There was brief discussion held on W.M.S. in the midwest. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:12 p.m. Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting October 27, 2010 The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Chairman Mike Lace, at 7:58 p.m., after a Power Point presentation by Mike Lace on the Caves and lead checking on the island of Haiti. There were 11 members and 1 guest present. Minutes from the September 22, 2010, meeting were read and approved. TREASURERÂ’S REPORT: General Fund: $2844.53; Coldwater Fund: $98.00; Petty Cash: $103.10. Treasurer LaRue inquired whether or not funds should be transferred to the Coldwater fund. Chairman Lace stated there is no need at this time. TRIP REPORTS: Liz Robinson reported on the N.S.S. Convention from last summer with Brad Smith. She attended the white nose syndrome symposium and the photo salon. She reported on the cartography session in which Ed Klausner was awarded a ribbon for his entry. She has the ribbon for him. Brad Smith then spoke on two films seen while at convention about the Floyd Collins rescue. Brad then reported on the O.T.R. John Donahue then reported on two trips to Kemling Cave. On the first trip, he, Chris Beck, Mark Jones, Teresa Kurtz and Brandi Zinn went to the Â“Land of OzÂ” where John did some sketching for the on-going survey. On the second trip, he and Chris Beck guided the land ownerÂ’s family on a short trip. Jason Rogers reported on his trip to Coldwater Cave. He reported that several site seeing trips were made that weekend by several grotto members and others from area Conservation Boards. Loren Schuett reported that he and a friend visited Spook Cave. FUTURE TRIPS: There will be trips to Doll, Engelkins and WerdenÂ’s Caves. Contact Phil LaRue if interested. Coldwater Cave weekend is the third weekend in November. There will be lead checking trips to Allamakee 38
counties. Contact Mike L. or Ed K. for details. See the Intercom and N.S.S. News for additional trips and events. OLD BUSINESS: Joe Dixon allowed Grotto members to review his manuscript on bat hibernacula in Iowa. In attendance at this meeting was Daryl Howe, Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Howe discussed with the Grotto members bat research and hibernacula data in Iowa and white nose syndrome (W.N.S.). He provided a copy of the U.S.F.W.S. decontamination protocol for W.N.S. control. Both decontamination and contamination prevention were discussed. The susceptibility of different bat species was discussed and many theories given. Mr. Howe is requesting the assistance of the Grotto with an expanded winter time bat survey. The Grotto is currently out of copies of the Cave Map Books Volumes I-IV. Volume V is still available. More will be printed. NEW BUSINESS: The November Grotto meeting is the third Wednesday of the month because of the holiday. Finally, this is the time for Grotto officer nominations. Nominations for new officer(s) or to retain the current Grotto officers will be accepted until December 31st. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m. Toominator Crawl Toominates Mammoth Cave, Kentucky By Ed Klausner Charles Fox, Ashley Gholson, Ed Klausner and Rick Olson September 4th, 2010 Nicole Bull, Tim Green and Ed Klausner September 5th, 2010 As usual, I had high hopes for a very low, rocky passage headed towards a blank are on the map. As usual, it didnÂ’t go far before it ended. Getting to the end of the last survey was no picnic as it is 1 to 1.5 feet high and the floor is completely covered in breakdown. We picked up the survey with Ashley in the lead, Charles reading instrument, Rick rear point and backsights, and I was sketching. After several shots, the character of the passage changed. It was damp, the floor was sandy and the passage split and became very low and narrow. The passage was named the Toominator Crawl as it was discovered by Rick Toomey. Since it was still early we headed down the tourist trail to an unusual lead. This one has been passed by thousands of times and very rarely noticed. It is along Fat ManÂ’s Misery and begins as a small hole under a ledge at floor level. The most difficult part of surveying this passage was the constant stream of tour groups. It was one of the busiest weekends of the season for Mammoth Cave. We tied to a survey station a few shots away and were soon surveying in this comfortable dry passage. The only problem is that it didnÂ’t go very far, barely 60 feet. The following day, I went with Nicole Bull and Tim Green to a lead that I had been avoiding. It is a bellycrawl in water but old trip reports indicate that it eventually gets bigger and leads to two domes. There is an obstruction in the passage that requires small people to negotiate. We headed to the Labyrinth with Dave West and Karen Willmes as they wanted to show me an easier way to a climb down that goes to an area that has many leads. Their way was certainly easier than the way I had gone previously. That accomplished, Tim, Nicole and I headed north through the Labyrinth. Unfortunately, Nicole did not have a wetsuit with her for the expedition. Both Tim and I had wetsuits, but there seemed to be little point wearing one as the coldest person will halt the trip. We started surveying and I was optimistic because the water level seemed quite low. That was true, but after the first station, Nicole had to lie in the water to read instruments and we were all in the water getting from station to station. We did remarkably well and surveyed to a good recoverable station a few shots from the obstruction. The only way to continue this is with wetsuits and hopefully, that wonÂ’t be too far. IÂ’m curious about the domes as there is no record of their size nor a description of any of the leads. 39
OTR Labor Day Weekend 1606 people, Dailey, WV Liz Robinson and Brad Smith By Liz Robinson Brad and I left the last Thursday in August and headed to Cincinnati to pick up some produce at Jungle JimÂ’s. We bought a whole jackfruit, several pounds of dragonfruit and fresh mangosteens for the SCUM Ridge kitchen as well as some cheese to contribute to the wine and cheese party. We then made our annual trip to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA before arriving at OTR and setting up camp on Sunday. We helped out at the sauna and I helped out at registration as usual. Steve Gaines joined us from Syracuse, NY and made a couple of major repairs on the hot tub that were real lifesavers. OTR was pretty dry this year. We had one day in which it rained pretty hard but the rest of the event was rain free. The one day of rain was insufficient to mess up the dirt road. It merely settled some of the accumulated dust. We attended the opening memorial service this year but neither of us spoke. Brad got in on the Randy Gandy cave trip. I did not go because I was having some problems with my feet, but they had a good time and the water levels were low. This year the awards were given out all in one night rather than a Saturday night and a Sunday night award night. In addition, ten free registrations were given out from randomly selected registrants. The most controversial event was the decision by the TRA board to take down the pavilion and build a new one. I have a strong opinion on this question. For purposes of preparing this trip report, I will not include a political statement on my position and why I hold it. However, there was a Â“great gnashing of teethÂ” on both sides of the issue on this matter and it remains to be seen how divisive the controversy will remain in the long run. Registration held steady from last year, but it was down from 2008. In light of the TAG Fall Cave In, I think it is safe to say that OTR no longer holds the record of being the worldÂ’s largest gathering of cave explorers. It is still a joy to see old friends and to make new ones at OTR. After OTR we went north and spend a couple of days with Steve in Syracuse who helped us put a tarp on our old motorhome. We also checked my bat house in Dexter. This was the second year in a row that the bat house was empty. I wonder if the previous residents were victims of WNS. The tenants told us that the bats have not moved back into my house so that is not a good sign. Meanwhile we must keep up hope. 40 Exploring the Land of Oz Kemmling Cave Dubuque County, Iowa September 25, 2010 By Mark Jones Chris Beck was putting together a push trip at Kemling Cave to cross a test pit dug on the eastern end of the survey in the Land of Oz. Teresa Kurtz, Brandi Zim, John Donahue were all able to make the trip on a gloomy Saturday. Our goal for the day was to push across the pit and survey any discovery along the way. Chris and I brought along our vertical gear and some rigging equipment. Knowing the difficulties of moving through this muddy cave we packed as light as we could to reduce fatigue. Since Chris had removed the cable ladder in the Grand Canyon due to corrosion issues with the previous ladder we also brought a new one for the descent. After quickly rigging the drop we were in the western expanses of the Grand Canyon. With very little water flow we moved quickly to the 4-way intersection for a break. We then turned south for a couple hundred feet to RobertÂ’s sumped drain elbow. Chris began bailing water and within fifteen minutes we had pushed on to the Southwest Arterial and made for The Whippy Dip. With trips to this section of the cave rather infrequent it wasnÂ’t surprising that a mud collapse had rendered it impassable. John and Brandi wallowed their way through after 30 minutes of mud moving. Once again we could thank our lucky stars for having
41 the 20' pit just behind our excavation for the gooey mess. Once past the Whippy Dip we squirmed through the tight section before entering the mined north/ south passage. It was an easy stoop-walk for several hundred feet to the east/ west cross-joint climb-up. Turning left we worked our way in easy dry cave to the last survey chip. While Chris and I set up for the swing across the test pit Teresa, Brandi and John broke out the survey equipment to record and inventory up to the pit. The cave opens up overhead from a 4' to a 16' ceiling. It seems very similar to the Grand Canyon except for being much drier. At the pit Chris and I pounded the star bit to gain a good anchor for the bolt. Within thirty minutes weÂ’d placed the anchor and Chris was suited up for the climb. It didnÂ’t take long for him to cross the 5' x 5' hole and stand on the eastern slope. Out of his vertical gear he raced up a dirt hill and was off! It didnÂ’t take me long to figure that he was scooping so I geared up and swung to the other side. Out of my vertical gear I started up the hill as Chris was returning. He told me of the sights ahead and bade me Â“AdieuÂ”. Over the incline the roomy canyon feel continued for another 200'. Not so many formations to begin with but gradually calcite crystals were more pronounced. Eventually several 6' white flowstone draperies and curtains hung from the ceiling interspersed with other common Kemling Cave features. No crossjoints were noted however there were some easy parallel crawlways that extended 30-50' before closing down. At one of the curtains was a fabulous 16" soda straw along with other nice formations. The passage was gradually transforming now becoming more boxy than canyon like. Trending east (I think) I arrived at another test pit somewhat deeper than the first. It may be 40' as opposed to the first one that was 30'. This didnÂ’t pose much of a challenge to skirt around to the other side. On either side of the pit were big piles of orange mud dug from the pits. Boot heel impressions from over one hundred years ago were now growing white flowstone. I took pictures of these great formations taking care to move over them. Chris had rejoined me at this point. The cave began closing down to a stoop walk over some large broken stalactites and stalagmites. Now a crawl would be required over delicate rock. Seeing no benefit to trashing these classic formations we ended the trip here. On the way back Chris and I poked into some of the crawls before swinging back to the surveying crew. Stating that weÂ’d found nothing of interest they happily accepted our report and returned to surveying. Actually since they didnÂ’t have vertical gear they gazed at ChrisÂ’ digital photos to live vicariously through them. As they finished up their survey to the test pit I stowed my gear for the return trip. On the way out Brandi & I checked out another parallel crawlway that extended about 30' before closing down. We had a nice trip out taking our time to conserve our energy. I didnÂ’t realize how muddy weÂ’d become until exiting the cave and shedding gear. IÂ’d bet there was over five pounds of sticky mud clinging to every bit of clothing or body. After cleaning up we visited with the landowners to discuss our newest additions to Kemling Cave. YouÂ’re not in Kansas anymore! Kemling Cave Dubuque County, Iowa October 3, 2009 By Mark Jones I was invited to participate (i.e. dig) at Kemling Cave south of Dubuque, Iowa the first weekend of October. Knowing that the group would be lost without my guidance, I accepted the offer. A cold, wet drive ended at the parking area where I suited up and waited for the others. Soon Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, Mike Lace and Heather Levy showed up. Heather was a recent transplant to Kansas whom Elizabeth had asked along for the day. Chris Beck and Brandi Zim soon followed and the group dropped the entrance shaft. Our goal for the day was to push a hopeful lead near ChrisÂ’ bridge work and dig on a blowing lead across the bridge. Ed and the girls took the scenic route past the Jug Room
while Chris, Mike and I headed straight for the cable ladder in the Grand Canyon. This shortcut saves several minutes with a 15' cable ladder climb down to the floor of the canyon. The western passage of the Grand Canyon is a 20' tall, 1'-2' wide narrow slot that snakes around for several hundred feet before closing down. At the 4-way intersection Heather crawled westerly to the iron red formation and the boxwork. All but Mike followed her to enjoy these beautiful formations. Mike scurried ahead to drain the sump leading to our starting points. Returning to the last 4-way intersection we turned left (south) down a 6' tall, 2' wide winding course, with several stoopwalks and duckunders. Along the way we slid by a lone bat hanging in the passage. Soon we topped a 3' mudbank berm that dropped back down to the RobertÂ’s sumped drain elbow. Mike had already slid through and we all gathered up the soupy mud as we each passed through. In spite of our best efforts, we still ended up very wet and slightly cold. On the other side we popped into the Southwest Arterial, which was a roomy 5'7' tube that was once probably the prettiest spot in the cave. Numerous formations of all types were once abundant here, but due to the lead mining, were destroyed or removed. Even with this destruction, the cave has rebounded well, depositing oodles of 1" baby stalactites where 3' stalactites once hung. Just past this point to the west was the hopeful survey lead that Elizabeth, Heather, Brandi, Mike and Ed broke out gear to inventory. Chris and I made our way to the blowing hole which has had become the focal point for big new cave. The initial dig had Jim Roberts and me lugging sticky, slimy mud up 8' and sticking it to the walls or other convenient spots to make more room. Our second attempt resulted in the floor behind me falling away, revealing a large pit that could take all the fill we could give it. (If weÂ’d have filled that pit before breaking through, it would have been the biggest excavation since ArmstrongÂ’s Folly in Sullivan Cave of Indiana.) We couldnÂ’t know how fortunate this was until today. The third dig had widened the mud tube and took a sharp turn to the ceiling. A drainage ditch was dug on that trip to allow the water to assist us in opening up the dig. Unfortunately the results were less than spectacular. I spent the first half hour scooping 8" of the stickiest, slimiest mud in my life from twelve foot of crawlway. I finally got to the ceiling turn and looked up to see a 6" hole that opened up to a smooth rock ceiling. This view was all possible due to the wonderful Sten light IÂ’d acquired late last year. After Mike had arrived from his disappointing survey (36') he began passing words of encouragement to me, spurring me on to dig even more. All this time Chris and I were moving the slurry back to the wellplaced pit. I estimate we moved over one cubic yard of this material. By the time IÂ’d tuckered out in clearing the passage, I was completely covered in a Â‘Â“ Â¦Â” of mud. We christened this section the Â“Whippie DipÂ” after MikeÂ’s favorite eatery. Mike was next to tackle the project which took him a little further toward the ceiling. Ed relieved Mike and shortly thereafter reported that he could stand up and Â“That it goes!Â” Heather next took the lead and the last thing we heard was her skipping down new cave! After clearing more mud Mike returned to the other side. Being that our breakthrough was made by a Kansan, Elizabeth quickly named the find Â“The Land of OzÂ”. It took some time for Ed and the rest of our survey crew to gear up, all the while the cool wind blowing past us. Several short, miserable shots were required to gain the vast expanses on the other side. By this time Brandi had joined the others scooping MY booty. Ed stoically took book with Elizabeth and me giving support, all this time we heard very little from the crew in Â“The Land of OzÂ”. Chris kept bailing the mud into the pit until he pushed through to the stand-up area. Unfortunately he was too exhausted and uncomfortable from all that mud removal to push to the other side. He deferred to me, so I slid into the widening Â“Whippie DipÂ”, stood up, and climbed the muddy slope up to the left 7' into a boxy 2' crawlway. Heather was giving me constant encouragement as we surveyed this 20' dry section. The 42
water was entering the Â“Whippie DipÂ” from a formation choke on the right. Once tied off to a survey chip Ed followed me to Â“The Land of OzÂ”. The crawlway quickly opened up into a 3Â’wide x 4' high tube that had obviously been mined. The miners had removed much of the dried mud in search of lead ore nearly 150 years ago. From here on out it was one marvelous sight after another. The wooden rails and supports had long disappeared, but their impressions were visible in the floor. We walked very carefully to minimize disturbing these sites. We could stand in a few spots in this north/south passage (We think.) A good survey will reveal the truth. Several hundred feet later we came to a crossjoint that took off in both directions. Mike, Heather and Brandi were good enough to stop scooping here so that Ed and I could enjoy ourselves. I headed to the left which took me several hundred feet nearly perpendicular to the first section. Comfortable stoopwalking and crawling on a dry floor was a welcome experience after wallowing in the Â“Whippie DipÂ”. At one point I noticed carbide writing with the date of 1866. Finally I couldnÂ’t keep scooping anymore and set a rock in the passage to show where I turned back. Regrouping at the intersection we carefully returned to the dig site. I was really tired by now and took a great deal of time to recharge on the long trip out. Finally we could see the light at the shaft and climbed to the surface. During the exit from the cave I thought my light had dimmed quite a bit. Once outside I discovered that it was encased in mud. I donÂ’t know how I could see through that much mud. We posed for a photo to prove the true muddiness of our trip. The landowner was excited about our find. A total of 6 hours was spent on this adventure. It will take numerous survey trips just to inventory our discovery this weekend. Life is good! 43 October Arkansas Trip 10-29 thru 11-2-2010 Mike Lace, Will Feltman, and Scott Dankof By Scott Dankof Late afternoon, Mike and I arrived in Arkansas. We stayed at WillÂ’s caver motel. It was close to the caves we visited that week. Our first objective was Sgt. PeelerÂ’s Skunk Cave. Will had shown us this cave many years ago, and finally we were getting around to mapping it. The stoopway entrance slopes down and opens up into walking passage. Immediately a crawlway takes off to the left, while the main passage goes straight ahead. We surveyed into the crawl, with me taking lead tape and Mike sketching and running instruments. We mapped past two shallow pits to where the passage pinched down to a end. I took a couple pictures and we crawled back to the main passage. Mike pointed out a snake skin on a ledge. Ir looked like a copperhead skin. Good thing itÂ’s not summer! The main passage continued on for about 30 or 40 feet and sloped up towards the ceiling to a short 10 foot long pancake crawl. I squirmed through trailing the survey tape behind me. On the other side of the crawl it opened back up and the perfect survey point was waiting for me. I taped off the measurements as Mike sketched and took instrument readings. Continuing on, we came to a junction. An upper left crawlway closed down after about 20 feet. From a canyon below, we could hear the sound of dripping water. We could tell that past landowners had dammed this passage up and used it as a water source. You could see daylight as you looked up towards the ceiling and through a small drill hole to the surface. We continued surveying in a passage that took off to the right. After a couple easy survey shots it ended in a tight formation choke. Back at the junction, Mike climbed down into the canyon and took a look at the water. Before leaving the cave we crawled down the first side lead to take pictures in a nice formation area. Mike reminded me, (to get great pictures always think about how Mark Jones would do it). Hmmm,
44 I always thought you do the opposite of that. THE SECRET CAVE: Discovering Lascaux (2010) by Emily Arnold McCully. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (Macmillan ChildrenÂ’s Publishing), New York. Hardcover, 40 pages, 9Â” x 11Â” format, ISBN 978-0-374-36694-0. Available for $16.99. Reviewed by Danny A. Brass. Once again, I am delighted to be calling attention to a childrenÂ’s book about the painted caves of SW Europe. The Secret Cave is a delightful and beautifully illustrated story recounting the remarkable discovery of Lascaux CaveÂ—one of the most visually stunning decorated caves to ever be foundÂ—by four French teenagers. Readers will follow the exploits of Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas as they plunge ever deeper into the labyrinth of Lascaux and the transformation in their own way of thinking as they ultimately come to understand the full significance of what they have uncovered: spectacularly beautiful wall paintings dating to more than 17,000 years ago. Making use of a host of beautiful, fullpage watercolor paintings and clearly expressed dialogue, McCully brings the adventure of underground exploration and the thrill of discovery to life for young readers (ages 6 9/grades 1 4). This interesting and visually impressive story of one of the most extraordinary places on Earth is an excellent selection for introducing young readers to the complex disciplines of anthropology and archaeology, the important role played by caves in early human culture, and the unbridled excitement that comes from firsthand observation and discovery. MVOR MVOR, Savertown, MO (Just south of Hannibal) Weekend of 22-24 October 2010 About 205 or so People including self and Brad Smith This was the closest MVOR for us since we started attending in 1992. It was only a three hour drive for us. I was very familiar with the way. I have been to Lock and Dam 22, on the other end of the street, on business many times. We were able to leave in the afternoon on Friday. This time we decided that with the short length of the trip it was worth taking our tent rather than camping in the back of the truck. Even with the heavy rains this worked out just fine. We arrived in time to pitch the tent and get to the Howdy party which normally is hot dogs but this time they had a chef make a really nice jambalaya which we enjoyed more than the hot dogs. The next day we went on the Geology Field tour which we had already singed up for. The tour was supposed to leave at 8:00 but somehow the schedule misprinted it at being 9:00 and in all fairness to others who might have signed up we waited until 9:00. There were other cave trips going out to privately owned caves. Most of the owners wanted those on the trips to decontaminate before arriving and again upon leaving the cave. The MVOR had set up a decontamination station which was apparently rigorously enforced, both for the bats and the good of landowner relations. We went to a geode mine near the IowaMissouri boarder in Alexandria, MO. Jo
45 Schaper our geologist guide had arranged for us to have a discounted admission allowing us $15 of 20 lbs of geodes. We did dig a few up and brought them home. A few we accidentally broke but we brought the crystal back anyway. There was a fundraiser at this MVOR. Meramac Valley Grotto has an option to buy the one acre that houses the entrance to Berome Moore Cave, an 18+ mile cave with ancient jaguar footprints in the area known as the cat track passage. Purchase of this lot would give cave rights to the caving community. The management plan is to preserve the cave for legitimate caving groups only (as opposed to tourist trips for scout troops etc). For tax purposes, the owners would like to have this accomplished by 31 December 2010. They had items for sale, a 50-50 raffle as well as a container labeled Â“feed the Pleistocene Kitty.Â” MVOR voted to donate $4000 to the effort so they are well along. Let us hope that they make it. In addition to the caving events and the decontamination issues, there were non caving events and activities, including a tour boat ride, and the historical sites in Hannibal. These were particularly oriented to Mark Twain, and his characters, and Â“The UnsinkableÂ” Molly Brown. Lock and Dan 22 also offered their first tours to the group since 2001. Friday night we had rain during the night and in the morning. For the most part the weather was decent. We look forward to the spring MVOR, Mike Lace in Sgt. Peelers Skunk Cave. Photo by Scott Dankof.
Intercomis a publication of the Iowa Grotto of the
National Speleological Society, Inc., an internal
organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The
Iowa Grotto, is dedicated to the exploration, study, and
conservation of caves.