The Texas Caver

Material Information

The Texas Caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Valdina Farms Sinkhole Contents: Feature articles: The New and Improved (?) Valdina Farms Sinkhole / George Veni -- An Introduction to Cave Photography / James Jasek -- Cavers Challenge Landfill Plan / Jay Jorden -- Speleonews -- TSA news: January '88 TSA Project: Comal and Kendall County / George Veni -- Schmidt Ranch Caves from staff reports -- Eisenhauer Bat Cave -- Book review -- Dispatches -- Indiana Joe -- Trip reports.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 33, no. 01 (1988)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-04673 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4673 ( USFLDC Handle )
11407 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

USFLDC Membership

Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text


the Texas Caver Vol. 33, No. 1; Feburary, 1988 CONTENTS Featur e Articles .... . ... ... ... .......... ........ ........... ......... ... ......... ........ ......... 3 Speleonews ........................................ .............. .... .... ....................... ... .... 9 TSA News ........................................ ... .... ............... . ..... ....... .... ........ 10 Ei senhauer Bat Cave . .......... .... ...... .... ....................... ... ............ ......... 15 Book Review ............... ..... ... ... ... ...... ...................... .......... .... ...... .... .... 16 Dispatches .................... .... ........ .... ........ ... ... ... . .... . . ..... ... ... ........... ... 17 Indiana Joe .......... ...... . ... ...... ...... ..... ..... . ...... ... ..... .. .... ... .... ... . ........ 20 Trip Reports ...... ..................... ... .... ............... ....... .... ..... ... ....... ... ..... 21 FRONT COVER ARTWORK Another prize-winning pen and -ink drawing by John Brooks 1988. INSIDE FRONT COVER PHOTOGRAPH Jim Bowden crawl ing in upstream side passage o f Valdina Farms Sink hole, Medina Co, Texas Dec 5 1987. Photo by George Veni BACK COVER PHOTOGRAPH James Jasek's photo o f caver in back section of Inner Space Caverns Co-Editors Dallas Staff CAVE RESCUE Jay Jorden 1518 Devon C ircl e Dallas, TX 75217 214 398-9272 214-220-2022 Photographer Dale Pate P. 0. Box 1251 Austin, TX 78767 512-452-5184 James Jasek Managing Editor Rob Kolstad Call Collect 512-686-0234 The Texas Caver is a bi-monthly publication of the Texas Speleologi cal Association (TSA) an internal organizati on of the National Speleo logical Society (NSS). It is published in February, April, June, August, O ctober, and December. The Texas Caver openly invites all cavers to submit articles, news events, cartoons, cave maps, photographs (35 mm s lid e or any size black & white or color print), caving techniques, and any other material f o r publication. TSA dues are $ 10 /year which includ es the Texas Caver. Subscrip tion rate i s $6 per year for out of state subscribers. Purchase single and back i ss u es for $2.00 each by mail, post paid; $1.00 each at con ventions. Send subscripti on and back i ssue requests to the Texas Cave r U. T. Station, Box 8026, Austin, T exas 78713-8026. Please include o l d addres s in address c hange correspondence. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Texas Caver, U. T. Sta tion Box 8025, Austin, Texas 78713-8025. DEADLINES: Article s, announcements, and material for publication mu s t be submitted to the editor by the 12th o f the month preceding publicat i on. EXCHANGES: The Texas Caver will exchange n ewsletters with other g rottos at the Editors' discretion. Contact o n e o f the co-ed itors. COP't'RIGI IT I 988 Texas Sp e l eo l og ical A ssoc iati on. Internal organizat i o ns o f the National Spele o logical So c iety may reprint any item first appearing in t h e Texas Caver as l o ng as proper credit i s g i ven and a copy o f t h e new s letter co ntaining the materi a l i s mailed to the co edito r s. Oth e r o rganization s s h ould contact the co ed itors. Printed in th e R e public o f T exas (...,) by Kestrel Printing (Ronnie Fi ese l e r a n d D e borah J. T o lar) Typese t at CONVEX Computer Cor po r a ti o n Ric h a rd son, Texas. 20 Years Ago from staff report; The cover of the February 1968 Texas Caver d epict s John Fish of Austin peering down into a crevi c e in a Mexican cave where he does most of his exp lorin g Also in the issue is an article on Arden Cave by Carl E. Kunath. Arden is a single tube with a mapped l e r gth o[ 1,175 feet. Fish was caver of the month. He was vice ch. irman of the University or Texas Grotto in 1965. l e Wa.< instrumental in exploration and survey of Sot n o dt Tlamaya, Sotano de San Agustin, and Sotano -1e Ia.! Golondrinas for the Association for Mexican Ca1 Stu dies. A photograph and article appeared on stalact e-like formations beneath the Lincoln Memorial in Wash 1gton, D.C. Luther Bundrant wrote a rescue report of fi, boys lost in Dead Deer Cave near San Antonio. Th( 1ssu e edited by George Gray, also included a cart( n by Wayne Russell, and reports from the Abilene rotto, Abilene Grotesque Grotto or "Groty Group and Southwest Texas State. A caver puzzle was a l so er .osed. l


the Texas Oaver Feburary, 1988 Page 3 Th e New and Improved (?) Valdina Farms Sinkhole by George V eni Introduction In 1977, a proposal was made to significantly enhance the recharge of the Edwards Aquifer This pro p osal raise d a lot of controversy and opposition from c aver s and environmental groups because it involved damming Seco Creek and diverting flow down into Val dina Fa rms S inkhol e (Medina County.) Many questions were r aise d about the f eas ibility of the project, such as, 'Coulrl the cave sustain the amount of water projected to flow into it, or would it silt up and overflow?" and What will be t he impact on the uniqu e ecosystem of the c ave?". Co nflicting "expert" testimony was heard and t h e p roject was approved on the b e lief that it would accept all the flow diverted into it, and that not only would the biota not suffer, but would actually benefit from the extra organic material (food) washed in. In 1981, plans were approved for construction and the d a m was completed the following year. Several times since then, the cave had taken small to moderate amounts of flow through the diversion channel but it wasn't until May and June of 1987 that a large flood finally hit it. During that time, as much as 20 acre feet /hour (108,667 gal / min or 243 cfs) was recorded entering the cave. The peak flow has yet to be calcu lated but was much higher This high-volume recharge persisted for several weeks before tapering off in July On 5 December 1987, I led a team of cavers into Valdina to evaluate the effect of the flood for the Edwards Under ground Water District. The Trip The first team into the cave consisted of Allan Cobb Andy Grubbs and Scott Harden to assess the cave's biology They entered first in order to look for aquatic fauna in the cave's many pools before those pools became muddied and disturbed by other cavers walking through them. Prior to the flood, the cave had one of the most rich and diverse cavernicolous faunas in the state of Texas. This included many troglobites and was the type locality for species of troglobitic harvest men and salamanders, as well as containing several other rare and unusual animals Valdina Farms Sinkhole also contained a very large bat population comprised of three


Page 4 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Can1 different genuses. The predictions saying the cave's biology would not significantly suffer were wrong. Biologically, the cave was devastated. Almost no terrestrial fauna was found and no troglobites of any kind were observed. The intensive search for cave life included looking under rocks and pieces of organic debris, netting through pools and look ing with dive masks, and even straining sediments for minute animals. On land, the most common inhabitants were many washed-in frogs All the frogs were starved and with little chance for survival. In the water, how eve r there were many washed-in fish including sunfish, but catfish predominated. The second group in the cave was the survey party: Joe Ivy, Linda Palit and Jack Ralph. They concentrated on finding a bypass to the downstream sump by using an aluminum extens ion ladder to explore nearby domes One dome led into one of the larg est known rooms in the. cave. It was surveyed (measures 20 m x 10 m x 15 m high) and checked for offgoing passages but none was found This high room is nearly under Seco Creek, downstream of the recharge dam, and is in itself a significant recharge site. Large plunge pools and organic debris testify that a great amount of water enters the cave at this lo cation. The third and final group was the hydrogeology team, Jim Bowden Karen Hohle and I, who explored the entire known cave noting physical changes since the flood photo documenting these changes, and interpreting the nature of flood-flow and the effectiveness of the cave's continual use as a recharge site. Following this examination, Jim and I used SCUBA to dive the downstream sump and follow the course of the water into the Edwards Aquifer The sump proved 100 m long The air-filled stream passage on the far side was followed for approximately 340 m to Sump 2. In total, the n e wly exp lor ed and surveyed passages increased the cave's total length by about 500 m or 80 percent of its previous l ength. Comments Under normal flood conditions, cave invertebrates (the majority of cave species) survive by retreating into cracks and crevices, and away from the swollen cave stream passages The recharge flood greatly exceeded such normal conditions With the cave's entrance pit flooded to nearly the top for several weeks the hydrostatic pressure within the cave forced water into the nor mally air-filled cracks, thus drowning the terrestrial fauna. The d e mise of the cave's aquatic faun a is l arge l y due to the washed-in catfish. Catfish are predatorscavengers that are w ell s uited for cave life. All catfish observed in the cave were apparently well-f e d and healthy. As s uccinctly put by Allan Cobb "Instead of things w as hing In to feed the salam a nd e r s, the salamanders fed the things that were washed in The chances for recovery of the cave fauna do not appear good. The catfish will dominate the aquati c sys tem, and subsequent floods will further eliminat e and hamper the recovery of any remnant populations o f ter restrial fauna. The impact upon the bats could not be adequatel y evaluated because of the wintertime exploration, during which the bats had migrated to Mexico until spring. Further evaluations will be needed to determine the status of the bats and if the above tentative conclusions are valid. The area of prime interest in extending the survey of the cave is downstream into the aquifer. Valdina Farms Sinkhole represents a very well developed conduit system with a rare (for the Edwards Aquifer) bu t excel lent opportunity to examine first-hand the hydraulics of the upper portion of the aquifer's phreatic zone. While the cave was in flood, one water well about 8 km away began pumping muddy water for the first time in its his tory. Although this doesn't prove the cave goes th at far, it's very lik e ly that the cav e can be explored a long way beyond its sumps. As well as can be determined so f ar, the cave can significantly and effectively recharge the Edwards Aquifer. Two water-level monitoring wells, within 10 km of the cave, showed water levels still rising in October 1987, four months aft e r the flood. Although total recharge for the flood has not yet been calculated I've estimated i t to be well over 12.3 million cubic meters ( + 10,000 acre-feet or +3.3 billion gallons). Because an upper, air-filled bypass could not be found for the sump for the more conventional (non SCUBA) teams to pursue, the next area of importance in surveying are the two upstream passages at the west end of the cave. This will better define the cave's drainage network from Seco Creek and adjacent areas. As far as it has been exp lor ed, the cave shows n o evidence of silting up. Several sediment banks were c u t and scoured. The large amounts of bat guano that dee ply covered the floor of the cave downstream from the entrance, have been all washed down into the aquifer. Evidence of the guano may appear as elevated nitrate l eve l s in downgradient water wells. Interesting patterns o f scouring, siltation and flow, and their implications, are b e ing examined. The water district has taken a serious interest in the cave and its continued exp lor ation. They are realiz ing that only with adequate exploration can effective assessments be made about the relationship of the cave to the aquifer along with its fate due to floodin g The Edwards Aqui f er supplies water to the Metropolitan San Antonio area, among others. The exploration continue; ; contact George Veni


the T exas Caver Feburary, Hl88 Page 5 An Introduction to Cave Photography by James Jasek Every spelunker has his or her own reason for venturing under the surface of the earth, and besides the pure p leasure, I go caving for the photography. To my mind's e ye, there are few features found on the surface more beautiful than those underground, and since photography makes it possible to relive a cave trip through pictures, it is easy to understand why photography is an important part of any cave trip. The attitude that any picture, regardless of the quality, is good enough does not make good sense, espec ially when you consider the effort cavers put into eac h picture. The cave photographer should have enough knowledge of photography providing at least, a good historical record of the trip. The quality of the photography depends more on the person behind the camera than the type or brand as many people with thousa nd-dollar cameras produce fuzzy out-of-focus pictures, while others with simpler cameras produce fantastic photographs. Incidentally, there is a difference b etween a picture and a photograph, even though the words have about the same definition. A picture is has tily shot with little or no regard to the exposure, while a photogra ph is the end result of camera work done by a person, regardless of the camera, to produce results with a l ot o f thought and feeling. Just because you own and use a simple camera does not mean you cannot produce photographs, and even if you only use your camera to preserve a historical r ecord of each trip, there is abso lutely no reason not to be proud of your photography. All i t takes is a little knowledge of the craft of photography, and your photographs can stand on their own along w ith your personal achievements in speleology. If yo u are working with a simple camera, you must learn to shoot your pictures only within the limits of the camera, and you will always have evenly produced pictures. Today, most people have a fairly sophisticated auto-everything camera that is capable of producing really fantastic photographs, but the person behind the camera must understand and be able to apply the basic prmciples of photography. Beca u se of the harsh, total dark environment of the cave, it is not possible to pull out your camera a snap away and expect good results. To e nsure excellent pic tures, you must customize your exposure technique to the environment of the cave. In the great outdoors, the sun provides a constant light source that can be eas ily measur e d for exac ting and repeatable exposures, but in the tota l darkness of the cave the photographer must supply artificial light for the exposure. Since this artificial light is an instantaneous burst of energy that is not easily measured, we assign a value to the light known as a guide number. The guide number depends on the quantity of light emitted from the flash, the size and shape of the reflector and the speed of the film to obtain the f-stop for the exposure based on the flash distance. Your understanding and u se of a guide number is the key to perfect cave pic tures, regardless if you are using a simple camera or a highly so phisticated electronically controlled machine The guide number, G is equal to the aperture, A, times the distance, D or G=Ax D, which can be shortened to GAD for easy recall. GAD is normally used to compute the f-stop for the exposure by dividing the flash distance into the guide number. For examp le: A caver standing 20 feet from the camera is about to rig onto a rope for a long climb Using a guide number of 80 in our examp le, the aperture for the exposure is A=G/ D = 80 /20 = f4. Nothing could be simpler! So how do we determine this guide number? The procedure is easy. Stand at a set distance and shoot a Jim Bo wd e n s ilh o uette

Page 6 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Cave, series of photos at different apertures if your camera has adjustable f-stops, or shoot a series of pictures at different distances for cameras with a fixed aperture. When the film returns from the photo lab, pick out the most pleasing picture to determine either your guide number or the correct shooting distance. Since we are determining a guide number for cave photography, your test exposures must either be conducted inside a cave or under conditions that simulate a cave and by shooting your test pictures in your back yard at night, you can approach the conditions of a cave The guide number the manufacturer applies to your electronic strobe is based partly on pictures taken in an average room with lightly colored walls and nor mal room lighting, which has the effect of boosting the guide number of the unit. In the total darkness of the cave, the flash supplies all the light for the exposure, as there are no other exist ing lights or reflections to "boost" the exposure. The test exposures conducted in total darkness determine the true light output of the strobe or flashbulb This would help account for the underexposed pictures you are getting if you have not made an adjustment in your exposures, based on what the manufacturer recommends. In your back yard, at night, have a person stand 10 feet from the camera and shoot your first picture at the manufacturer's recommended f-stop. Record the frame number, distance and f-stop on a sheet of paper or in a notebook that has been divided into columns as shown. Frame Guide Number Distance F-Stoo Number To ensure matching each exposure to your recorded data, have the subject hold up one finger to indicate the first exposure, two fingers for the second, and so forth for each additional exposure The results of your tests will depend on the accuracy of your data and being able to match the data to each slide or print. After exposing the first frame at the manufacturer's recommendation, shoot a series starting at this aperture in half-stops all the way down to the last f-stop on your lens. If you start at f8, work your way down to f1.4 or the widest aperture. Repeat the same series for 20 feet If you are doing these tests with a simple nonadjustable camera, shoot a series of pictures at different di s tances in increments of one foot starting at 4 feet up to not more than 20 feet After the film returns from your favorite photo lab carefully choose the slide or print that please s you then compare this frame to your data. The guide number is found by multiplying the f-stop of the best exposure times the distance. The guide numbe r for 10 and 20 feet s hould be very close to the same value or you made an error in your procedure. It is very easy to make an error in recording the data, so take your time. If you a:re using a simple camera, you will immediately notic e how the distance affects your expo sure. The best exposure of the se ries is your fixe d tance to always stand to ensure perfectly expos e d cave pictures. You will now b e able to predict how a particu. Jar picture will turn out when you vary the shooting tance. If you are s hooting color slides, you will also notice how little tolerance you h ave in your s ho oting tance for a good s lide, but if you are s hootin g color negatives for color prints, you will see that you have a much wider range in shooting distanc e for a very accept able exposure. If you are doing these tests with one of th e new, high-tech strobes that i s controlled electronically by the camera for through-the-le n s metering, you cann ot deter mine a guide numbe r by changing the aperture. This i s because the TTL metering will a llow a good exposure over a wide range of f-stops The guide number ca n onl y b e determined b y changing the value of the film s peed by rotating the co mpensator di al. Stand at ten f eet fro m t .he subject, and shoot the se ries by changing the film speea toward the plu s s id e of t h e dial. The best expo sure will indicate the n ew film speed to set your auto-ev e r ything camera for perfectly exposed cave pictures. This method o f determining a cave guide number really does work a nd it will only cost you one roll ol film and an evening's time. Scott Harden rappelting Into Valdlna Farm; S inkhole, Medina Co unty Tex:JS, DX-> 11187. Photo by George Ve nl.


the Texas Caver Feburary, 1988 Page 7 Cavers Challenge Landfill Plan by Jay Jorden Ca vers, environmentalists and politicians are bat,.. tling a Northern Arkansas landfill proposal that could thre aten the Buffalo National River as well as many caves, wells and springs. Th e MOLES (Middle Ozark Lower Earth Society) a n i nternal organization of the National Speleological Society, put out an urgent call for help from cavers in surrounding states. Tom Aley, a registered hydrogeologist and director o f t h e Ozark Underground Laboratory in Missouri, con d ucte d dye tracing in the proposed landfill site near Pin dall, Ark The community is located about 20 miles south o f Harrison. He said residents of Pindall raised a $30,000 war c h e s t to fight the landfill plan through pie sales, raffles and o t her fundraisers, but the conservationists still have a tough fight ahead. Aley said the proposed 45-acre landfill is in the Boone formation. I have done groundwater tracing from immediately a d j acent to it, he said "The dye came out in five local wells a nd three springs, two of which contribute to the B uffalo River. The most important of these is Mitch Hill S pring. I t is an immediate tributary to the Buffalo contri b u tin g fully 1/4 of the river's flow, he said "We have p u t o ut enough dye to turn the spring green in the trace." Aley said downstream from the spring, the output r e p r esents at least 25 percent of the low flow of the B uffalo River He has been working for a citizens' group at Pin dall, Ark. named Citizens Against Land-Fill (CALF) Aley did the hydrology work for them. "We got this tracing done and then we got the park service concerned about this," he said. The National Park Service sent in Jim Quinlan fro m Mammoth Cave, Ky., a research geologist, to investig ate. The park service opposes the landfill and said so in public hearings said Aley "The folks I work for oppose i t along with The Ozark Society, Audubon Society and a dozen other conservation groups H owever, the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology issued a permit for the site about 1 l / 2 m onths ago, on Aug. 15. "What we did then was to go down and have a p ress conference on the State Capitol steps in Little Rock about this on Sept. 9," Aley said. The Arkansas Gazette responded with two editorials and extensive coverage on the problem. "Both of the editorials were in favor of our posi tion," said Aley "A political cartoon in the Gazette even s howed a garbage truck backed up to the Buffalo River, with the caption 'Is this a good place?' Sen Dale Bumpers publicly stated and wrote to newspapers, including the Arkansas Democrat, that the permit should be revoked Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt agreed that the permit should be revoked and wrote to the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology Aley quipped that the department is known locally as the "Pollution Permission Commission." Opponents of the landfill have obtained an adjudicatory hearing before Administrative Judge Jeff Davis on Nov 5-6 in Little Rock "He may not be the one that hears it," Aley said "The procedure is a hearing, and he makes a recommendation to the commission and they vote. The department carries out the will of the commission, the Arkansas Pol lution Control and Ecology Commission." "What has been happening in this is we have been joined by the Park Service They are putting an enor mous effort into this. It is a very big state issue Aley said it has gone so far that gubernatorial candidate Frank White said he will fire the head of the ecol ogy department, Phyllis Garnett, if he is elected. White, a former governor is running against incumbent Bill Clinton who has taken a head-in-the-sand stance. "Clinton has tried to do damage control," said Aley. "He wants the folks to take a good look at this. But if he were really opposeed to it, the permit would not have been signed." The park service and its attorneys met with the hearing officer about protocol recently and Ms Garnett was present. "Apparently, she was just real irate about our press conference said Aley She demanded that the park service not say anything more about this in public MOLES members issued a press release on Monday, Oct. 13. "Cave explorers in Northern Arkansas announced today they will study and map some of the numerous caves in the vicinity of the Pindall, Ark. landfill on the weekend of Oct. 18-19. The cave studies will be coordinated by Joe Vandiver chairman of MOLES, a organization of the NSS. [Ed Note: The mappmg ts tn progress as this is published.] . Vandiver said his orgamzatwn Issued an urgent appeal for experienced cave mapping teams from states to help in the project. [Ed Note: Terry Holsmger and Raalen Brown are contributing from our Grotto.] "The Pindall landfill which was recently issued a state permit, is a major pollu tion to caves springs wells and the Buffalo NatiOnal R1ver said Vandiver . The National Park Service, CALF and other orgam zatimis have successfully appeal e d for a hearing on the landfill permit, the release stated. "We want everyone at the landfill to just how cavernous the region around the landfill IS. However there a r e s o m a n y caves near the landfill that we study a nd m a p th e m all before the h e aring


Page 8 Fe bur a ry, 1988 the Te xas Ca1 without help from cavers from other s tates," sai d Van diver Areas with caves are very sen sitive to g round wate r pollution," said Vandiver. "All too of ten c a ve r s m u s t literally crawl through the results of wast e dis p osal mis takes We hope that our studies and ca v e map ping will help citizens and the National Park Service reve rse t his ill-conceived state landfill permit. "Arkansas needs to become more lik e o t h e r states and begin protecting groundwater supplies and caves from the hazards of landfills Jeff Henthorne of CALF said "Our group is very pleased by the planned cave study. The area is really full of caves. For example, along the fault zone just south of the landfill site, almost every well passes through at least one cave The closest water supply well to the landfill passes through six caves and three of these were at least 14 feet high. "The decision by Arkan sas Pollution Control and Ecology to issue a landfill permit Cor this site shows a total disregard for protecting water quality in our wells, springs and caves," he said. CALF planned a pie supper in Pindall on Satur day, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. Cave explorers will be guests of honor at the supper and will summarize their findings. In addition, a number of candidates for public office have been invited to speak. The public is encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Joe Van diver, chair man of MOLES, at HCR 2, Box 809 Hollister, MO 65672, (417) 334-6036; Jim Terry of MOLES, at Route 2, Box 22, Harrison, AR 72601, (501) 743-1395; or Jeff Henthorne of CALF at P.O. Box 206 Pin dall, AR 72669 (501) 4392471. Also, contact Alec Gould, Superintendent, Buffalo National River 72601 (501) 7 41-5443. Pindall i s a bou t 20 mi les south of Harrison on Ui 65. We h ave bee n g e t t i ng horrible landfills in Nort l ern Arkansas," said Al e y "Everyone has upped the ant h e re. If w e w in t h is one, we wi ll damn near stop landfi i n N orthern Ark a n sas If we l os e this one, then w e w u g et some atten tion f ocused on it in any case. That w hat i s h appe nin g w i t h t h e oth er event this weekend." National Park Service, P O Box 1173, Harrison AR ToiJrr1)' Phlllpo' pholo oC So h o o d e Hulzm>JO(.JLJa, Laken Jan. 28, !OM. Mr. Pblllpo ll8ed a KDdak Pony cazren wll b a lo()(.b p lck ror 1 1 Llml exparure.


the Texas Caver Feburary, 1988 Page 9 SPELEO NEWS 1 Carlsbad Bat Colony from reports Carlsbad Caverns bat colony estimated to be o;ver one million: The bat colony which occupies a p rti o n of Carlsbad Caverns during the summer is c rre ntly estimated at approximately one and one-fourth illio n bats, according to Park Superintendent Rick s lith. At one point in the earl y 1970s the colony had oppe d to as low as an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 b ts. Based on research, the earlier declines had been a t ributed to the effects of pesticid e use in the vicinity of tBe park, with DDT and its breakdown elements of. DDE and DDD being the major pesticide residues found m the t!sue of dead bats. The use of DDT was banned in this C untry in 1972. In addition to the DDT ban, other factors which ay have contributed to the rec ent increase in bats at arls bad Caverns National Park are the abundant moist r e received this year, which in turn has increased a a ilable flying insect s upon which the bats feed and the Dead Caver Found in Fitton Humor by John Brooks The photo at right depicts V eteran Caver Terry ols inger as h e was discovered collapsed on a recent trip Fitto n Cave (still located in North Arkansas). At the t' e o f his collapse, Terry was a member of all grottoes e t of the Rocky Mountains and south of Minnesota. e h eld offices in almost all those cav in g organizations. Terry's Van h as been willed to Mike Brown (the e a er) but with a stipul ation: Mr. Brown must organiz e erry's "stuff" in order that his parents be ab l e to cull y valuable from it. Mr. Brown was unavailable for c mment at press time. Whi l e Terry's death has not been comp l ete l y c nfirmed and of course no autopsy has been performed, t ere are those who s uggest that this particular collapse i r e lated to s uffocation or inhalation oJ; fumes from b rning duct tape. Terry achieved f ame through his ab)lity to exploit o eli nary, highly avai labl e materials in urrorthodox, hi the to unthought-of applications. Se lf -rescue after b e ing I tin caves was one of his specialties. The Texas Caver news staff will carry any furth e r d v e lopments as they a r e reported. sealing of two mining shafts which had been cut into the portion of the cavern where the bats roost in the early 1900s By sealing the shafts, natural temperature and air flow patterns were restored to this portion of the cavern. Since the shafts have been sealed, the bats have resumed roosting in dome s wh ere it appears they roosted prior to the cutting of the shafts. The domes now being occupied by the bats apparently were not used as roosting sites from the time they were cut until they were seal ed in 1981. The r ecent estimate was made by the traditional method of visually checking the amount of ceiling space occupied by the bats and multiplying the square footage by the average number of bats per square foot. Research i s currently underway to devise anot. her counting method, using videotapes of the exit flights and computer analysis of the tapes. Evening bat flight programs are offered at the park each night during the summer and early fall at no cost Currently, the talk s at the cavern entrance amphitheater begin at 8 p.m. MDT, and flights are taking place about 8:30 p.m. although the times will gradually move up as s unset occurs earlier at the end of summer. .-John Brooks' photo o f Thrry Holsinger collapsed in Fitton O we


Page 10 Feburary, 1988 lhe Texas Can. TSANEWS January '88 TSA Project: Comal and Kendall County by George Veni Everyone was very kind and helpful : "I hope this will be of some help in your research But they didn't understand. It' s hard to explain when your work hobby and dissertation research are so closely related. But I am very grateful that many Texas cavers wer e considerate enough to come help with what they perc e ived to be "my research". By the time you read this, "The Caves of Bexar County" will be available for purchase. When I com pleted that 10+ year endeavor, I swore I'd never do anything like it again. Then I started my research in Ken dall and Coma! Counties. For the most part, I was stick ing to caves in one particular rock unit but soon real ized since that unit has the most and long est caves in the area, that during the course of my di ssertation I'd end up doing 70 percent of the work n e eded to produce "The Caves of Coma! County" and "The C a v e s of Ken dall County." With James Reddell con stantly e gging m e on, You can' t stop with jus t one county surve y now you know how to do it and s o Coma! and K e ndall coun ties will be easy I convinced my se lf to take on the job. The county surveys are publis h e d by the Texas Speleological Survey in r e c ent coop eration with the T e xas Memorial Museum. The surve y s present all the information known on the cav es of a p articular county (d escriptions, maps, l e ad s, hi story, biology g e ology a rch ae ology e t c .). The y a r e v a lu a bl e tool s for a nyon e interest e d in e xploring or m apping c aves in t h a t a rea, as w ell as b e ing u se ful for t ho se who may w ant t o do a cav e biology study, g e ologi c di sserta tion e tc. The surve y i s s imply a n ecessity from whi c h eve ry o n e b e n efits. Although I put a tre m endous amount of tim e and e n e rgy into the B e x a r County surve y it w as f a r from a o ne-m a n e ffort If the Coma and K e nd all surve y s w e r e to b e s u ccess ful I need e d h e lp t h e re, too. The idea of a T S A proj ect see m e d a good w ay to ge t l o t s of data for t h e s urv e y s plu s getting a bunc h o f pe opl e t og ethe r for so m e go o d old f as hion e d ca vin g a nd cam a r a d e ri e A t t h e T S A meeting, during OTR, I go t the "OK" from t h e g e neral m e mb e r s hip a nd t h e n e w officer s a nd b ega n planning for J a nu a ry W e met t h e week en d o f J a n 3 03 1 19 88, at Cas c ad e Caverns. B y t h e t im e the week e n d w as o v e r 70 p e opl e h a d r egister e d a nd wo rk e d as 17 diff e r e n t t eams. Follo win g i s a b ri e f s y n op s i s o f eac h t e a m s acco111plis h m e n t s Team 1: J a m es R eddell, A Rich a rd Smi t h a n d M a rcelino R e yes w e n t in sear c h of the K appe lm a n Caves. They found t h e old r a nch subgivide d but mad e Ian. down e r contacts and located the caves on the topo map (topos w e r e provid e d to all team s for thi s purpose). From t h e r e they w ent to Ebert C av e, onl y t o find i t s lo cation map was way off Finally getting in s id e the cave, the y collect e d some c ri t t e r s and f ound some p assages not on the e xi sting m a p. L as tly Brie f Cav e was discov e red and biolo g ized The prese nce o f a rotting r a bbi t in t h e c av e made t h e ir ex plor a tion r athe r bri ef. Team 2: J ac k and Vi c ki e R a lph w ent to W y ley's Cave Jo e Sumbe r a w as to join the m and h e lp car r y on the exi sting s urv ey but h e be came ill and had t o cancel at the last minute. R alph X 2 d e cid e d to go for a look b eyond the end o f t h e s urv e y the n r eturn with S umber a in a couple of w e e k s to fini s h the map. J ac k our i llust r i ou s T S A c h airma n h a d the ignominious mi s for tune o f g etting stuc k earl y into the cav e, thus c a lling a quick end to the trip. Teams 3, 9, 11 and 17: Kim Maloy l e d these f our teams out to t h e Kl a r R a n c h M a ry Kay Manning Bill Mixon and John S p e nce b e g a n the r esurve y of J(]ar's Cave to correct some di sc r e p a ncies in the m a p T hey m appe d the h ardest 1 5 0 m o f t h e cav e b e fore calli n g it a day: In B a dweath e r Pit, Doug All e n Tim Jon e s and D a l e Pate al so m appe d 100 + m through the gri m mest part of that cav e Andy Grubbs and Chris Tibodous fol low e d the m with a p artial photo surve y of the c a v e On the surface, Arlyn M a loy Kim M a loy and Mark Ulmer fought t h e c edar bra kes to lo c a te some of the other K lar C av es, notably Python Pit, m easure d a t 27.7 m deep, Tic k Cave, surve y e d at o nly 12 m long ; and Crinoi d P i t whi c h w as surveye d t o a w a t e r crawl with blind sal a m ande rs. Pla n s a r e in t h e works t o r eturn t o t h e caves a nd compl ete t h e s urv eys Teams 4 and 14: John C ro ss l e d A frie nd l y sign gr ee t s c av e rs at I

the T exas Caver Feburary, 1988 Page 11 Eisenha u er Ranch, which included Karen Ashworth, R alph Batsche, Colin Berry, Craig, Michae l and Pat Bit tinger Carol Carlson, Ivy and James McLane Kenny McGee, A l an Montemayor, George Sanders, and Jerrald Saulsberry. The Bittinge rs surveyed Eisenhauer Goat Cave, Geo rg e and K enny squeezed into new discoveries tn Baby Raccoon Cave and 60 / 40 Pit, John led some surface s urv ey ing and everyone else either assisted with the above or roame d the ranch looking for dark holes in 1ts dozens a nd doz e ns of sinkholes Team 5: Carolyn Biegert, Bill Elliot, Cynthia Grant Phil Jank, David McKe nzi e and Paul R eav l ey got off to a very late start due to car trouble. They were looking f or Bear C re e k Bat Cave (only to di scove r that nlght, bac k at Cascad e Cavern s, that Bill Russell h ad already s urveyed it a few years ago ) but instead were rewarded with a new find -Little Bear Creek Cave. The c a v e was mapped for 25 m to a h an d s a nd kn ees watercrawl, and a craw l was exp lor ed abou t 200 m with no e nd in sight. The cave f eeds water to a p e r e nnial spring situated below t h e cave entrance, that has never gone dry. The owner claims that a f te r a storm water pours out of the cave f o r up to a month. The entrance passage may be a recently form ed addi t i on to a l a rg e cave. Plans are unde rw ay for a trip. Team 6: Brian Burton, Sarah Gayle, Mark Minton, Jim Radema k e r and Nancy Weaver went in search o f H e n s on 's Water Cave. This cave had the potential to drop into Prasse l Ranch Cave, beyond the current end of exp loration (Prasse l 's i s t h e 12th longest cave in T exas at 2 62 km) Un fortunatel y, the entra nce pit to HWC had been filled with trash Severa l s ink s a nd blind pits w e r e lo cated in c ludin g two new caves but none of any real s ignificance. There is talk among some hardco r e digg e rs in nearby San Antoni o to t r y d i gging open HW C. Teams 7 and 8: TSA v el"p J oe Ivy led John


Page 12 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Ca1i Brooks Mike Cagle, Steve Dalton, Jay Jorden, Linda Palit and Dale Pearson to the Schmidt Ranch t survey some of the pits there. Forlorn Hol e was mapped at over 30 m deep, a cave 33 m to the west (it's presently not certain if it's a new cave or one of the known Schmidt caves for which there is no de scription or location) was surveye d to a tight 6 m deep and a snug side lead in Two Step Cave was pushed by Linda and Dal e to a 20 m de ep pit. Teams 10 and 15: Chris Broyles Joe and Thomas Hollar Mik e Houlihan Jim Kirkwood, Matt Sear, and Mik e Watson w ent in search of caves in the Fair Oaks subdivision. Although most of these cavers didn't know how to survey, they s ignificantly contributed to the pro ject by finding one new cave, several new sinks, correct ing e rron e ous locations for some caves and doing a biolo gic collection in D ay Afte r Cave. Team 12: Joann D e Lun a Suzie Lasko and Peter Sprouse look e d with Mr. Kirschke for Kirschke's Unknown Cave, whose location r e m a ins unknown Afterward, Mr. Kirschk e s howed them two new caves in a "swag" (creek), which they surveyed, biologiz e d and named Swaglet Cave and Swag Hol e They also sought out Schaeffer Cave a nd Pit, and although they didn't get into these caves, they found out who the owner i s to approach him for a future trip. Team 13: While William Liv e ly, Darrell R ees Tag Swann, a nd Don Swanson unfortunately did not get und erground, they produced some worthwhile information a nd landown e r contacts. They first w ent to Doe Skull Cave and S i ebe niecher 's Small Cave. Due Skull and sse wer e r espect ively filled by s ubdivi s ion construction and quarrying op erations. Moving n ex t door to the neighboring Kohl Ranch, they learned the section of the ranch with all the caves had been so ld They locat e d the new owner, who w as mor e than happy to show them the caves -but after h e r ecove red from pneumonia R eturning to Cascade Caverns, they r ece iv e d new assignments a nd went in sear c h o f Noll Cave and the rumored Malikoff Hill Cave. In both cases, they again e nded up with informati o n on contacting the owners. Ranch h a nd s didn t r eme mb er Noll Cave in particular but said that m a n y caves exist on t h e r a nch The loca tion and exi stence o f MHC was co nfirm e d by a relative of the owne r 's who a l so said the owne r would probably be fri end l y to cavers Team 16: Bill Russell and Katie Aren s continue d the ongoing dig at Richter Sink near Honey C reek Cave. According to Bill, "Onl y two m ore hours of digging to where we don t h ave to dig any more. In summary, about 600 m were surveyed in 11 differ ent cav es. Seven of t h e cave s were finished a nd four a w a i t furthe r trips Bio l og i c collecti o n s were made in 12 caves. Twenty known caves, that e ith er didn't h a v e loca tion s or whose locati on in the fil e s were wrong, were located or r e l o c ated. E l e v e n n e w cav e s wer e di sc overe d and se ven fri end l y l and o wner contac t s wer e establis h ed for caves not visite d during t h e proj e ct. Overall, not a bad weekend. The upcoming publications on Coma! and Kenda i Counties have gotten a great boost thanks to ever y o m efforts. Currently, there are 122 caves known in Com, County, 155 caves known in Kendall County and the n are many more caves yet to b e found Many lead s exi; in the files and I welcome calls to give out more informa tion if you want to go caving there ( 4019 Ramsgate Sa: Antonio, TX 78230 512-699-1388) The publications w i l probably go to print in two to three years and the m01. information in them, the better they will b e If you ha11 any info on the caves in these counties, please l e t m know ASAP. DO NOT ASSUME I already have it. As for other goings on during the project, t h er were sales of books maps, and other goodie s fro AMCS, NSS and TSS. Mike Walsh clean e d out hi s clost and gave away a couple dozen T-shirts, b andana s an poke-a-dot rocks. Carl Ponebshek produced magnificent f eed for the returning cav e r s, kept t h e coff and cocoa going at all hours and baked several hot sweet roll s for Sunday breakfast prior to the TS.!J me eting. I made a point of p estering se veral peopl e knew had information on Coma! and Kendall countif. and thus answered several questions about cav e s an: lead s in the files. On Sunday, the TSA BOG m et, bu you can read about that when t,he minutes are The weekend was a success. The succes s Wii achieved not by tallying survey data, or counting n e 1 caves and lead s, but because everyone had a good t i m 1 Projects county s urveys and dissertation resear c h ali all fine endeavors ; but if we don't enjoy doing t h e m then they can n eve r be truly successful.


the T exas Caver Feburary, 1988 Page 13 another way on could be found. Schmidt Ranch Caves from staff reports When Mike returned with the tool, Joe pounded away at the bedrock, to no avail. The sketcher, John, then lay at the entrance to the With daytime temperatures rising above th e 60 s at lead, recording data as Dale and Linda used a tape and the end of January, it was a good time to gv caving in Suuntos. Photos were also taken. C e ntral Texas. The Texas Spel e ological Association As the crew surve yed out of the cave, individuals Winter Board of Governors, held in the cedar-covered began climbing out. Back at the surface a surface survey hil l s of Kendall and Coma) Counties was t he perfect setwas completed to a nearby 6-meter drop. Then, after a ting for a great weekend. late lunch, it was on to TwoStep Cave, which was In the combination Board of Governors Meetmg deserving of its name. and TSA project, coordinator George Veni said that The pit opened up at the bottom of a moderately more t han 600 meters of cave passage were mapped and deep sink, under some boulders. The first part of the 20 k nown caves located or relocated. Nin e new caves drop was against a wide wall which met a fair-sized w ere located, he said. ledg e strewn with large rocks. Below, the side of the pit About 50 cavers from around the state, mainly became fluted with old draperies and a small hole opened fro m within a HoustonSan Antonio-Dallas triangle, up at the right side The climb about 20 feet to the hole campe d Friday night at Cascade Caverns near Boerne. appeared chimneyable It was past this high entrance at the meeting hall where cavers signed u p for the Saturday trips to area ranches. A warm breeze stirred the liv e oa k s and post oaks around the Cascade camp when we arrive d about 1 a .m. Saturday. Remembering that past w inter TSA meetings have been in bitterly cold temperatures, this was a r e f resh ing change. At the Cascade pavilion V e ni had already ass igned most cavers to tasks I a t a rea caves. His files were organized; cave areas w e re noted m c ounty map s on the wall. Heading to the Schmidt Ranch ncar Boe rne was a team comprised of inda Palit, Joe Ivy and Dale of San ntonio; Mike Cagle and Steve Dalton of Fort Worth; and John Brooks and ay Jorden of Dallas The group met t the pavilion, then departed about :45 a .m. It was about a 10-mile drive the ranch where we found the Shadows and Ugbts cover the breakdown _t" columns In tbls shot rrom the Guw Pink a.ves by John Brooks !Table owner trimming a cedar fence with a chain-that the lead began. The cavers were soon directed down a drive, past The triangle-shap e d s queeze was tight -marked R c rds of goats at his rock ranchhouse, and into a back "tight place" on the map we saw of the place -and it astur e which opened up into a vista of tree-lined hills earned its name quickly Two compact cavers found We found Forlorn Pit without much trouble and themselv e s on the othe r side of this constriction as well. igged it. The entrance drop, slightly less than 80 feet The y were met with a 60-foo t drop, for which a rope w as as desce nded in short order. Joe, the first down, found required and grim muddy lead s a t the bottom. baby rattler at the bottom, which retreated under a W e w ent as far as anyone ever should go in that ock l e dge on the other side of the pit. There it stayed mess," one quipp e d after the v enture t h e entire visit, occasionally shaking its barely audi-Afte r s uns e t w e had returned to the rock ranc hr a ttles. The cave was grim indeed a small eyelet hou se and were' chatting with the owner as crickets 0n the floor which permitted only two in the group beg a n c hirping outside a nd the w arm breeze the entry. Beyond was a nasty crack, a room and a grady s m ell of ceda r onto hi s front p o r c h H e was reg a lmg us mud l e ad. with tales of his youthful explorations of caves in the While Mike climbed out to retrieve a small rock Bo e rn e a r e a a nd urging u s to return. And return w e will. hmmer to try to enlarge the hole, the rest busi e d the m-The Schmidt R a n c h c r e w mappe d one n e w cave, selves with bug collections and other work in c luding pushed lead s in anothe r and m a d e collections moving breakdown on the floor of the pit to see if a l o n g with a thoroughly e njoyabl e e xp e n e nce of bemg


Page 14 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Caver there for it all. Waiting for us when we returned to the pavilion at Cascade Saturday night were steaming heaps of spaghetti, salad and other culinary delights, courtesy of Carl Ponebshek of San Antonio. There was also plenty of camaraderie to go around as, group by group, cavers returned from their respective caves and reported what they had found. Discussions continued past midnight. On Sunday morning, cavers who stumbled bleary eyed down to the pavilion for coffee were greeted as well with mounds of Carl's custom cinnamon rolls. So many rose, steaming, from the oven that Ralph was obliged to take a big bowl with him as he ventured into the camp ground! BOG Meeting At the BOG meeting, the minutes from the September 1987 meeting at Lazy L & L Campground were read by TSA Secretary Carolyn Biegert and approved. Johanna Reece, treasurer, reported for the period from Sept. 18 to present. The current TSA balance was $2,452, she said Received since the Old Timers' Reunion were memberships of $2,032 Revenues were also received from sales of back Texas Caver issues, patches, sales of My Mommy Was a Caver and donations. Expenses included $1,142.74 for three issues of the Caver, including printing and mailing; $66 .23 for the TSA fall project at Kickapoo Cavern; and $90.38 for res cue equipment, including stickers. From OTR to the present, a treasury balance increase of about $940 was noted. For 1987, TSA received $2,548 in memberships. Other income: $54 in the logo fund, $37 in back issues, $6 for My Mommy Was a Caver, and $45 in donations. Interest on the TSA account was $118.79. For seven issues of the Caver, about $2,700 was spent. About $230 was spent on safety and rescue equipment and about $120 for a special mailing, $50 to Bat Conservation International. Johanna said printing, mailing and other costs for the past 20 issues of the Cavera little over 3 1 / 2 years was an average cost of $381.57. She said that's only about $30 over the budgeted $350 per issue. The consensus was that the publication has been hitting pretty close to budget, and that this was accept able. It was moved by Bill Elliott, seconded by Jay Jor den, that the nominal cost the postal service c harge s per issue (about 30 cents) to give forwarding information be spent. On bulk mailings, such as the Caver, publications are normally discarded instead of forw arded, unless the fee is paid. The question of exchanges was discussed, with a motion made, seconded and approved that s uch exchange new s letters go to the TSA library manage d by James Reddell in Austin. Elliott also moved that the negatives, maps and other originals from C aver i ss ues printed should also be filed to the library The motion was approved. A motion was also made, seconded and approved that free issues of the Caver be sent to certain grottos for the use of new members. Jack Ralph, TSA chair, named Scott Rose as con servation chair. A co-chair was also sought. Joe Ivy, TSA vice chairman, said a tentative date and location for the TSA Convention is April 30-May 1 near Uvalde, at Bob Oakley's ranch. Mike Walsh said the Texas Cave Management Association will h ost a national cave management symposium somewhere in t h e Lone Star State in October 1989. ft was announce d that TCMA and TSA are fielding trips to Gorman Fall s the second weekend of every month. The contacts are Butch Fralia and Terry Holsinger. Butch is reached at ( 817) 346-2039, home, and (817) 293-1300, extension 5620, work Terry is at (817) 595-1406. Following much more assorted business and discussion, the BOG adjourned after about two hours. To paraphrase from a tongue-in-cheek sign posted at the TSA meeting: There is no problem so small that you can t add a little guilt to it and make it a big deal! TSA Winter Project by Craig Bittinger Destination: Eisenhauer Goat Cave and Cascade Caverns Personnel: Craig Bittinger, Pat. Bittinger, Michael Bittinger, Colin Berry Dates: Jan. 30, 1988 Saturday morning, we met up with Kenney McGee, Carol Carlson, Ivy McLane and Ralph Batsche from Houston and Alan Montemayor from San Antonio. T hey and several other Houston cavers accompanied u s o n a 30-minute drive where we met John Cross, who took u s on to the Eisenhauer Ranch. Mr. Eisenhauer was a ver y nice man who gave us a warm welcome and offer e d to slay the fatted calf for our benefit. His ranch was covered with impressive karst, sinkholes and chall e n ging four-whe e l-drive roads. We split into two work p arties: one to map the cave and one to explore nearby sink s Ivy was interested in learning how to map and was soon reading Suuntos like a pro. Ralph, Carol and Ken ney ran tape and set .UP stations. The cave was m appe d in about two hours. The major excitement was whe n a scorpion was discovered between Craig's legs. Time ran out and we returned to Cascade Caverns just in time to catch the last tour. The visit was impressive and about as near to actual, wild caving as any commercial cave tour I have been on. The tour in cluded wading through mud, water and low ceilings. An enjoyable weekend was had by all


A N Feet 0 10 20 I I I :SCAt.. I!: T CAVIE CONAL COUNTY TE XAS a:> . oo )'.,...). .. ill> 0 : 41': a .o .'<:J. .,.;. u.o .. '. . 0 0 .. 0 ,,,, 0 I D . '' ,... C ... ) . :. 'r ""'""' . .. . . . ) v"'c . . f t I 'I .\''r .. . q>j ,,, 0 ,. .. 0 ""' 0 b". 0 0 0 <' ... \l () . 0 t SLWTO TAPE SUP.VEV January JO, 1988 Craig Bltllnqtr (arot Carlson Ivy He Ralph Orrtd by Cral9l'l\tlnqtr c II 0 Texas Speleological Association B B "l "' cr E; 2: ::< .... <0 00 00 "' "' .... en


Page 16 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Caw Under Plowman's Floor Zephyrus, $7.95 SBN: 914264-25-7 from Kirkus Reviews, 15 July 1978 Richard Watson, Author LC: 78-16386 "Under Plowman's Floor is a novel that peels open the dark, spooky world of caving. It portrays with power and precision one man's quest to explore the unknown, to discover not just what lies in the mysterious depths of. the earth but of his own heart." Willard Manus, author of Mott the Hoople. Plowman's Floor is a valley full of virgin caves in the Kentucky cave system being explored and surveyed by the speleologists who inhabit cave expert Watson's likeable novel -the story is as much about the growth of fellowship as it is about testing stamina and the finding of underground wonders Fred Lawson begins caving after World War II, at the same time teaching bookkeep ing and typing and coaching baseball and basketball at an Ohio high school. He's recalled for the Korean War, then takes up caving seriously, leaving his wife and fam ily behind as he crams his time with caves. The hill people who live around the cave system come to depend qn the cavers for income, and after many years, Fred is chosen to lead the expeditions and be in charge of the site. But Fred at last is seduced by a virgin cave system under the floor which leads him into many secret solo explorations, and, despite his success at uniting two distant systems, his last effort is fatal. The life and lore down under : not for everyone -but medita tive and rewarding. Under Plowman's Floor is the story of an ordinary, quiet, contented man who becomes intensely devoted to cave exploration. While he lives a routinely satisfactory external life, his vital inner life mergest with the inner world of the cave. We follow this man from his first trip underground, through his metamorphosis into an expert long-distance caver, through the peak of his career as director of a caving group exploring one of the most demanding caves in the world. We see him begin solo caving, driven by an inner need, at the age of 55. Some thirty years after his first caving trip, he reaches a goal and a death alone underground that make him into a legend. This is not an ordinary story. Yet, as the reader comes to feel the hopes and aspirations of this caver, and the excitement and joy of this kind of exploration, what might ordinarily appear to be an incredible obsession is accepted as natural and fitting. One finishes this novel with a kind of answer to the eternal question, "Why climb that mountain, why explore that cave?" Watson was for more than twenty years a member of a small group of cavers who led the exploration of the Flint Mammoth Cave System in Kentucky, now the world's longest as the result of their efforts. He is coau thor of The Longest Gave, (Knopf, 1977), the story o! this exploration. His vast practical experience and prob ing turn of mind have combined to produce a thoughtful and richly detailed novel of udeniable authority and ver isimili tude. Carlsbad Bat Book from staff r eports The president of a leading organization formed to study, preserve and educate the public about bats has given high marks to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and a book published by an affiliated nonprofit org aniza tion which aids the park. Dr. Merlin Tuttle, president of Bat Conservation International Inc., headquartered in Austin, Texas, recently wrote to the park and said that "Carlsbad Caverns is likely the most important site in the world for public education about bats." He added, "Your staff has a unique opportunity to enlighten people regarding the values and conservation needs of these long misun derstood and rapidly declining animals." To back up his assertion, Dr. Tuttle cited as an example a businessman who gained an interest in bats and their welfare through a single visit to Carlsbad Caverns where he attended an evening bat flight program and later became a major financial contributor to bat conservation. Dr. Tuttle also had high praise for a new book ent.i tied Bats of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, published earlier this yer by the Carlsbad Caverns Natural History Association, a nonprofit organization formed to aid the park. Dr. Tuttle described the new book as being ... exceptionally well written, designed and illustrated and (is) the most factually accurate of any similar publica tions" he had seen He went on to say that his library contains virtually every popular publication ever pro duced on bats, but that the Carlsbad Caverns bat book, in his view, "is by far the best of its kind available in the U.S." The new book was coauthored by Dr. Kenneth Geluso, who is now with the University of Nebraska Biology Department; Dr. J Scott Altenbach of the University of New Mexico Biology Department; and Ronal C. Kerbo, Cave Specialist at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.


Feburary, 1988 Page 17 DISPATCHES Bats edited by Jay Jorden Edit or's Note: The following was excerpted from 1 History, issues of October and November, 1987, vely: Dr. Gary F McCracken, who recently wrote an e in the Texas Caver on Mexi-free-tailed bats, also authored results of a study, along with K. Gustin, of how female find their offspring in colonies .._ g millions of infants. en, an associate professor the Department of Zoology and Graduate Program in Ecology Ethology at the University of nessee in Knoxville, has studied ursing behavior and genetic struc-in maternity colonies of Mexi free-tails since 1981. Much of the research was in Cave north of San which houses an 20 million free-tails and cur rently the largest known of the species. At least a other such nurseries, scattered through much of American southwest, also have summertime populathat exceed one million bats. Results of tests that females usually find and nurse their own in the densely populated ceiling clusters. The stualso indicate that noise perhaps is a factor in moth l ocat ing their offspring as well as smell and m e mory the pup's last known location Mothers then search for young using noise and smell, but other pups as ell as adults, may attempt to steal milk from her. In the same issue is a review of The Cave of Lascaux: The Final Photographs," by Mario Ruspoli. The in a wooded hillside yielded rich galleries of magnificent prehistoric figures painted about 17, 000 ago. Lascaux is a compact cave, consisting of a main entrance hall and two branches ending in cramped, dead-end spaces. But it ranks as the most spectacular of 200 or so art caves discovered to date in W este rn Europe. Prehistoric artists painted a special frieze in the main hall, a sweeping panorama of animals painted high on the chamber's curving limestone walls More than two figures make up the breathtaking display. The re seven bulls including one 18 feet long, the largest nown cave painting along with twelve horses six deer and an animal with two prominent horns which guides and archeologists persist in calling a "unicorn." A pas sage to the left lead s to a corridor containing an arched ceiling composition of three red cows and a Chinese-style horse At the bottom of a 26-foot pit off the right-hand branch of the cave is the Shaft of the Dead Man, including a painting of a stick figure man falling backward before a wounded bison with horns lowered The man has a bird's head and below him is a pole with a bird on top. Also found in the shaft were 60 stone lamps. Hundreds of thousands of tourists saw the paintings before green algae growing in the underground lights threatened the paint ings The cave was closed and a realistic replica built about 200 yards away m an abandoned quarry. The paintings were recreated there as well as restored in the original cave. The saga of the cave makes fascinating reading. An article on elephants in the November issue of the American Museum of Natural History publication postulates that elephants communicate ov e r great distances by uttering very low-frequency noises Low-pitched vocalizations of musth (lusting) males are barely audible. A 1980 study s how ed that elephants hear frequencies well below the human range, infrasound. Of 25 different calls made by African elephants, 15 were in the lowfrequency range called rumbles. In an earlier article, it was also described how some elephants travel inside a large cave to collect min e rals important in their diet. But each year, another 10 p e rc ent decline in their numbers is noted because of tusk hunting. NEW GUINEA CANNIBALS by Mick ey McGuire Editor's Note: This article reprinted without permi ssio n from the D ece mber 9, 1987 i ssue of Weekly World News. Accompanying the picture of a three-toothed skull and a jungl e riv e r was the h ead lin e Cannibals pots boiling for shocking rites! Subheadmgs mclud ed: "Peaceful jungle scene masks a valley of death" a nd 'We thought w e were in a Tarzan movie, says witness to


Page 18 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Can1 tribe's secret ceremony Many of you know that this editor's dream cave trip is to New Guinea; it may now be a nightmare. Dozens of men, women, and children, most maimed beyond belief, were rescued from a tribe of savage canni bals who were keeping them as slaves -and using parts of their bodies for ghoulish sacrificial meals! The prisoners screamed out their joy and threw themselves at the feet of their liberators in gratitude. Many of the poor devils had been so horribly butchered they could do little more than writhe on the ground like legless lizards. "It was the most ghastly sight I've ever seen ... a hellish nightmare of unimaginable suffering," declared Austrian botanist Franz Wolff. Wolff was the leader of an expedition that stumbled across the cannibal village deep in the jungles of New Guinea. "Most of the slaves had no hands. Some were also missing at least one foot Ears had been sliced off and tongues cut out. "All of the adult men had been castrated and many of the women had lost one or both of their breasts. 'It. was absolutely the most ghastly scenario a sane mind can imagine Why they didn't all bleed to death or die of infection, I'll never know." Wolff said there were 63 people being held in the cannibal village. Skulls and partial skeletons found in a nearby river bed clearly indicate that dozens of other s laves weren't as lucky as those lib erated. "I'm not all that sure the living slaves are the lu cky ones," Wolff said. "I saw one man of about 22 who had only one arm. Everything else had been lopped off, roasted over an open fire and eaten one piece at a time." Wolff said as near as he could determine, the canni bals had kidnapped their slaves from other tribes in the jungle and brought them to their own village. The cannibal settlement was moved periodically to prevent search parties from locating it. Wolff said the survivors they freed w e re turned over to a German missionary group that operates a clinic in the village of Timdena. "The cannibals offered no resistanc e when we releas e d their captives," h e added. "We had guns and that's one thing they have a great fear of. We told the authorities what we found and the location of the cannibal village. But I don't b e lieve any one will go in after them. "That's just the way things are in this part of the world," he said. Editor's Note: I'm not as excited as b e for e about the unexplored caves of New Guinea. Petroleum Spill edited by Jay Jorden Editor' s Note: the following was from reports in the Aus tin American-Statesman and The Associated Press on August 20, 1986: AUSTIN Oil company officials say a petroleum spill nearly three months ago in rural Southwest Travis County may have caused high levels of hydrocarbon vapors in three caves, one nearly two miles fro m the mishap "We can't be 100 percent sure that the hydrocar bons in the caves are from the spill, but we are assuming that is the case," Shell spokesman Mike Hays said T ues. day. In late M ay, earth-moving equipment puncture d an underground pipeline operated by the Shell Pipeline Corp., dumping about 2,300 barrels of crude oil n ear a creek. Hays said experts monitoring the spill do not believe any oil r eac hed either the environmentally sensi tive Edwards Aquifer or Slaughter Creek, about 1 ,000 feet south of the spill site. Workers could drill two monitoring wells in to the aquifer as early as next week Officials said area drinking water wells, including Sunset Valley about fou r miles northeast of the site, will also be tested. "We don't anticipate finding any problems with the water, but we want to take the extra precautions," said Hays. "We are committed to doing what is righ t and necessary." The spill site is on the edge of the aquifer recharge zone about 1.5 miles south of U S. 290 One cave is about 2,000 feet southeast of the site. The others are northeast, one about a mile away and the other 9,500 feet away. Hays said crude oil seeped into the ground and could have vaporized to move within fissures in the rocks to the caves. He said investigators do not believe any liquid oil seeped into the caves. Officials sealed the three caves as a precaution after investigators measured airborne hydrocarbon level s rang ing from 50 to 200 parts per million in the caves, Hays told the Austin American-Statesman. He said the levels were "potentially hazardou s" to anyone who might try to enter the caves. Workers for the Garey Construction Co. were u sing heavy equipment to rough out an extension of Slau ghter Lane which is to cut across Circle C municipal utility districts owned by developer Gary Bradley Workers carried off more than 2,000 barrels o f t h e oil, and 100 to 150 barrels evaporated or were treated by plowing the area, Hays said. He added trenches to cap ture the oil were collecting up to half a barrel a day. Hays said the spill has already cost an estimated $500,000 in cleanup and monitoring work and could cost twice that before the job is completed. Shell has hired Radian Corp. of Austin to monitor the spill.


[the Texas Caver Feburary, 1988 PagP. 19 Edwards Aquifer edited by Jay Jorden ditor's Note: The following was from an article by The ssociated Press that moved on May 18 1987 : SAN ANTONIO Citiz e ns l e d by a priest calling or care in the city's water supply squared against Hevelopers in a debate over a 150-acr e shoppmg mall vera recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. The debate is over a development north of San tonio that is over the Edwards Aquifer, the sole urce of drinking water for more than 1 million p eo ple in Bexar Coma!, Hays, Medina and Uvalde counties. "We are very proud of the high quality of water that we have here. "W e want to maintain a high quality of life h e re, the Rev. Rosen do Urrabazo said at a public hearing onday night. "We want the busin ess community to come to San Antonio and dev e lop. W e need the work. ut don't mes s with our wate r," said Urrabazo, pastor of San Antonio's Immaculate H eart of Mary Catholic Church. More than 1 000 p e opl e attended the hearing to listen to community organizers, d eve lop e rs city a nd state age ncy officials talk about the aquifer and the d e v e l opment. The debate between developers a nd c itizen s groups has placed in the middl e Mayor H enry C i s nero s, a pro g o nent of economic developm ent. "Al l of us together in the Edwards r egio n h ave joint goal s We want to protect the aquif e r ; we want to ensure a n d protec t the water quality for future generations and w e must have sustained economic vitality for our egion," sa id Cisneros. D evelopers and some city and state agencies believe regulat ions are in place to protect the aquifer but cit izens groups argue that those regulations a r e inade quate. Construction at the mall and the surrounding area i s at a s tandstill until after the public d ebate and hear -i n g The City Council must approve zoning proposal s a t h e s ite. D eveloper Oliff Morton said state agencies need more money to deal with the enforcement of r e gul atiO n s. H e asked state officials if placing a 150-acr e mall W ould be harmful and state officials said they could not b e absolutely sure. Tom Fox g e neral manager of the Edwards Under ground Water District, said there also is a risk of over u mping from the aquifer by the ye a r 2015 "This i s a n evolutionary process. This i s so mething hat we a r e going to b e doing continuously," said Fox. ' W e are not going to sit down and walk out of her e oni g h t with a set of rules that a r e going to b e in place for t h e next 20-30 ye a r s Rabid Bats edited by Jay Jorden Editor's Note: The following was from the Dallas Morning News, June 22, 1987 : DALLAS H ealth officials are warning people to avoid bats after three Dallas residents were bitten by the night creatures and forced to undergo rabies vaccinations in the past week. Generally, about one bat-bite case a month ts reported in the state, said James Purdue of the Texas Department of Health. That figure sometimes increases in early summer when Mexican bats migrate north, he said County health offic ial s said two of the incidents invol ved a 70-y ea r-old m a n who suffered a bite from an infe cte d bat he picked up n ea r hi s White Rock home last week and a youth exposed to a diseased bat earlier in the week. The third in c id ent inv olve d a Dallas animal control officer who was bitten while gathering bats that residents h ad r eporte d n ea r their homes The three victims r eceive d multiple rabies vaccina t ion s hots at co unty h ealth clinics. The c i ty Animal Control D epartment in the past t wo days has collected b etwee n five and 10 grounded -pregnant or nurs ing -bats around the city in an effort to prevent simi lar in c idents said Thomas Hickey, manager o f t h e department. Bats collected are being tested for rabies to deter mine whether anyone who may have come in contact with the animals needs to see k treatment, said Hickey W e don't want to alarm people, but a common se n se approach i s need e d in this situation," said Hickey. H e warned against touching or moving bats that appear s ick o r disabl e d "These in c idents do not involve bats attacking human beings ; t hey in volve grounded bats that people touch," said Hi c k ey. . Officials said they hav e no sctenttfic explanatwn for t h e recent spate of bat-related incidents but specu lated t hat t h e warm weath e r and the damp sprmg may hav e co n tributed to an inc r ease d bat population Mosqui toes, which bats liv e on, thrive in s uch weather c ondi tions. About 1 percent or 2 percent of bats a re rabid but up to 2 0 percent of bats found on the ground carry the viral di sease said state h ealth offic tal Purdue. Co un ty h ea l t h officials may i ss u e a formal advisory on t h e bat probl e m a f te r tests h ave been co mple ted on the bats collected from around the city, said Hickey. "For n o w w e just w ant to a lert people a nd e n courage t h e m no t to tou c h bats or a ny injure d e ven t h o u g h t hey m ay feel compas s ion f o r them, satd C h arles H a ley, a n ep id e miologist at the D a llas County H ea l t h Departme nt. H a l e y a l so advised owners to h ave the ir p ets vaccinated against r ab ies.


Page 20 Feburary, 1988 the Texas


. e Texas Caver Feburary, 1988 Page 21 TRIP REPORTS Trip Report Comments by Rob Kolstad Oh, I can hear some of you grumbling now. "Those mmies up in Dallas are just sitting on the Gaver. hey got all those fancy computers and they let it sit on eir desks for six weeks before they mail it. I sent in y trip report over two years ago and it's STILL not ublished." The good news is: that's not the way it really is e've had tremendous support in recent months: arties fro m many different authors on a wide spectrum of pies, cartoons, and -last but not least -a treasure ove of fine photographs. We get the Gaver out as close to the deadline as asible. This month was a national co nference tha.t. ept u s off the computer for a couple weeks. The other news: We've cleaned out the files. This onus -size set of trip reports (in this bonus-size Texas aver) catches us up to within three or four months of e present. If you haven't seen your ancient trip report, e're not going to publish it. Please don't be angry. ere's s ome of the reports you're going to miss : "DFW rotto Vertical Practice", 1986; "Wild Woman", 1984 three reports), 1985 (many reports), 1986 (even more ) "J V C 1985 "M. ll. C eports ; omt enture ave ; 1 Jean s ave 984 (two paragraphs); "Sherfield Cave, Ark.", 1985; tc., etc. You get the idea. I personally participated in any of these trips -they were all terrific. Unforunately, it's old news We promise to try to keep up now that we're on the eading edge of the wave. Gorman Falls by Jay Jorden Destination: Cicurina Cave, Blue Ribbon Fissure, other lead s; Lemons Ranch and Gorman Falls state park site, San Saba Co., Texas Personnel: Jody Butch Fralia, Quinta Danny Sherrod, Keith Robertson, Wilkinson, Heuss, Jeff . Bobby Moore, Connie ... Jay Jorden Uates: Jan 8-10 1988 This wa.'3 the first in a series of scheduled monthly ltnps to the Gorman Falls state park site in San Saba County, which now includes the Lemons Ranch property recently purchased by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Texas Cave Management Association, in agreements with the TPWD and Texas Speleological Association, is inventorying the cave resources of the proposed park site. The week of the intense ice storm that gripped North Texas in its cold clutches, Bobby and Connie drove over to Jay's and the trio departed south for Gorman. Since the temperature had been in the mid-teens the previous night in Dallas, every conceivable form of warm clothing was brought along on the trip. Luckily the treacherous ice that glazed overpasses and hills in Dallas stopped south of the county line. The driver stopped near Waco for a snack and continued. As usual, the drive between Lampasas and Bend went through a prolific wildlife area. Dozens of deer were spotted, along with armadillos and other creatures! This part of the Texas Hill Country evokes a wild It was after midnight when the group h1t the d1rt road from the closed Bend country store that wound up the hills by the Colorado River. In the year since I had been to Gorman, the state had purchased the Lemons property and changed the gate configuration on the road. This delayed our search for the right turnoff since we kept thinking we had driven past it. When we figured it out we drove down the familiar road to the falls and the ponderous gate lock We found the rest of the group already bedded down for a chilly night. Cold was not the word for it, for the author's toes turned to popsicles sometime in the night. With the chilly dawn came the rustling of camp cookware as cavers sought to shake off the ice Hearty, warm cowboy coffee and bacon and eggs helped immensely to provide an optimistic tone for the day. Some flour tortillas were warmed on camp stoves, and Bobby even dragged out some venison for the repast. After eating and visiting, we were ready for the day's work. The plan was to drive to Lemon s Ranch, where one group would hike in a 500or so-acre in search of caves and another would return to a bad a1r cave found on a previous trip. For the bad air, Keith produced a state-owned oxy gen meter with an audible warning to detect low concen trations. Keith, Connie, Bobby and Jay tackled the bad air cave. Butch, Quinta, Danny, Jody and Jeff headed for the large pasture. . It took some time to locate the bad a1r cave, the p1t entrance to which was hidden in scrub. Only a shallow sink belied its presence. About 30 minutes was spent in search of the entrance. Jay found it under cleverly


Page 22 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Caver disguised flagging tape. Keith made sure it was flagged more obviously. The cavers delighted in descending into the chimney to escape the cold. It was warm inside, fog ging glasses and warming popsicle toes. The cave entrance is a narrow, elongated slot that drops to a floor about 12 feet down, then opens up to the side and drops another 15 or so feet A long slope leads to small canyon passage another 15 or 20 feet below and a chute to one side is at the lip of a small pit, 30 feet or so. It was above the entrance to the chute that explor ers encountered bad air the last time. Keith found an old-fashioned beer can the kind opened with a church key and we named the cave Blue Ribbon Fissure. Some glass shards at the bottom of one drop were the other evidences of previous visitation. Normal oxygen concentrations, defined by the government, is 21 percent. We were getting readings just under that in the cave. However, the audible alarm went off when the sensor was lowered into the last pit. Keith wanted to check out the pit, anyway. We returned to the trucks for rope and gear, includ ing surveying instruments. Inside the cave once again, a tieoff point was found at a group of formations and Keith rigged up to rappel. The lip of the pit was in a tight constriction but rocks rolled down the slope at the bottom where the rope had coiled. Jay handed Keith the oxygen meter. Immediately below the lip, the air quality deteriorated, dropping to 19 1/2 percent, then 18, then 16. Bad air is defined as 19 1/2 percent or below in government studies. Cavers, Keith said, have explored in the Hill Coun try at 19 1/2 percent, or even 18, but 16 percent is very dangerous. Not so reluctantly, Keith turned back. We mapped out of the cave. Photos were taken. Everyone got out safely and, back at the trucks, the other group was pulling up. They had mapped about 200 feet in another cave After a lunch snack, the decision was made to go to Cicurina, or what everyone thought was Cicurina, and some nearby pits. Back on the main road, we made another turn and found the area. Down a slope were several small pits. After hiking around for a while, some of the chillier in the party decided to get warm again underground. We descended the most inviting of the holes and found a medium-sized room past a hands-andknees crawl. A sheer pit lay in the center. It looked like about 20 feet to the floor. Jay got his rope and gear from outside the cave and descended. The cave was indeed Cicurina. Apparently, this revelati n answered a nagging question that had dogged previous trips. Butch found a steaming entrance about 150 feet away that con nected to Cicurina. The large room below the drop had three leads, one of which blew cold air (the second entrance connection) and two others. Since Cicurina had already been mapped, Jay exited. Back on the surface, more surface ridge-walking was taking place but t.he sun was fading fast and the temperature dropping. Keith returned to a couple of caves he knew about, one of which was really intriguing. It was a pit entrance on the side of a hill, away from Cicu rina. Butch said he had been about 100 feet inside it and it kept going. The ridgewalkers kept in contact with the trucks via walkietalkies. Finally, we were called back to head quarters. Farewells were then said, because Bobby, Con nie and Jay had to return to Dallas. Butch and the rest of the crew were going to check out a possible fieldhouse location and do other work on Sunday morning before leaving. Gorman Falls State Park by Keith Reuss Destination: Lemons Springs Riverfront caves, Gorman Falls State Park Personnel: Butch Fralia; Keith Reuss; Terry Holsinger; Mark and Pamela Porter; Quinta Wilkinson; Linda Palit, Trip Leader Dates: Nov. 13-15, 1987 Purpose of Trip: The purpose of this trip is to locate all caves within 1,000 feet of the Colorado River from the southern boundary of the park, going north ward along the river to near the end of the river road out of Lemons' Camp. Caves will be located, flagged and accessed for potential hazards to the public. This will be done due to the opening of Lemons' Camp for fishing, possibly in early 1988. Trip Chronicle: Thursday evening, I talked briefly with Rooney Burnet, Texas Parks and Wildlife Depart ment, about the trip and got from him copies of topo graphic maps of the park and some tags to use for numbering the caves for identification. Later Thursday night, I called James Jasek in Waco to inform him of the trip and invite him to meet with us at Lemons' Camp. He related to me some of his informa tion about cave locations of the area. He noted there are very few if any caves in the area we are going to be searching Friday night, when I arrived at Lemons Springs Camp, I spoke briefly with the park resident. He told me of three caves he knew of on the park. One was a pit he described as being over 75 feet deep and located near a trash dump ... The other cave was possibly the cave named Cicurina Cave .... I later drove to the campground near Spicewood Creek. Butch, Terry and Quinta drove in later Friday night. Saturday morning, we began hiking around and looking for caves Mark and Pamela came in while we were hiking near Spicewood Creek. We covered the are a to the Lemons Camp headquarters and took a break around noon for lunch. On Saturday morning, we shuttled Butch's vehicle


Lbe Texas Caver Feburary, 1988 Page23 to the north end of the river road. We drove back down road and met the others who had been hiking from Lemons Camp headquarters. We hiked northward and took a look into Gorman Cave. After this, Terry and I hiked up the bluff to find a cave I knew of from a previous trip. Having completed our search area, we returned .... [twas getting late, so we returned to our base camp at Spicewood Creek. Campfire discussions included future caving plans into the area. second weekend of each month in 1988. We all felt it would be beneficial for both parties to schedule a meeting between cavers and park officials con cerning their priorities for the caves of the area. Report: The area along the river was searched in three sections. .. No caves were found in the first area. One dig hole of possible archeological significance was located. This twofoot-deep, 15-foot diameter hole has recently been dug .... The second area (is) hereafter called the central riverfront area. .. One shallow cave was found on the bluff above Spicewood Creek .... A two-foot by two-foot rock filled sink is approximately four feet deep. Dirt fill is at about the six-foot depth. No enterable passage was found beyond this. One other crevice was observed on a wall on the west side of Spicewood Creek .. No other caves were found within this area. In the northern riverfront area, about five cave entrances were located in a cluster ... No other caves were found within the search area. Based on our findings this trip and previous findings by other cavers, we can conclude with high certainty the caves within 1,000 feet of the riverfront have been located. The following recommendations were made. The dig hole in the south river search area should be visited by a park archeologist and assessed for its value. The two-foot by two-foot hole above the bluff near Spicewood Creek should be visited by park personnel and judged for possible hazards. The several caves .. in the north riverfront area should be explored by cavers on a future trip. Caves should be explored to their extent and writ ten up in the report from the next trip. These caves should also be more accurately located. Additional work beyond the specific goals of this trip were the locating of four more prominent caves of the area. A 60-foot plus deep blind pit on the ridge south from Gorman Cave was located. ... The entrance is described as a one-foot by three-foot vertical crevice, mostly hidden under a rock shelf. Technical descending equipment is required to enter the pit. A reportedly deep pit, name unknown, located northwest of Lemons Ranch Cave, can be found .... The pit entrance is located in a shallow sink, partially hidden in a tree. According to the resident manager at Lemons Camp, the pit is over 75 feet deep. A cave fitting the entrance description and approximate location of Lemons Ranch Cave was located .... A cave possibly being Cicurina Cave (Rattlesnake Hole) was located .... In conclusion, the trip was very successful. All goals were accomplished. In addition, four prominent caves of the area wee found and marked for future reference. A goal of some future trip will be to do a mileage log of the main road and any side road leading to caves. The four caves located should be accurately located on the topographical map of the area. The caves also need to be explored and identified. Inner Space! by Jay Jorden Destination: Inner Space Caverns; Georgetown, Texas Personnel: James Jasek, Jeff Johnson, Bill Evanson, Sheila Knight, Jay Jorden. Dates: Oct. 11, 1987 On the way to Central Texas on a Saturday night, Sheila and I stopped in Waco to call Jim. It turned out he was going to Inner Space on Sunday. We stayed over in Waco and visited Jim, Mimi, Amy and Jeanie. Arising moderately early on Sunday, we packed the gear and drove to Georgetown, pausing only briefly at a fast food joint to settle Amy's stomach. When we arrived at the cave, Jeff and Bill had been waiting for us about 20 minutes The manager, Jim Brummett, was at a National Caves Association meeting, but we stopped in the tour building to talk with the assistant manager before entering the cave. This was to be a photo trip. Jeff, Jim and I all had our Olympus cameras and strobes. After passing by a couple of cave tours, we arrived at the Press Room. The cave management had something they needed us to check out in the area and we spent about 20 minutes doing so. Earlier this year, when I was last at Inner Space, the back passages were mostly flooded. In fact, the water had encroached in the Press Room and was many feet deep possibly to the ceiling in the succeeding pas sages off-trail. The flooding occurred after the heavy rains of mid-summer and the neighboring quarry influenced the drainage. However, this time the water had subsided There was really little trace it had ever been there, other than the fact that some formations were cleaner and the glop in the Mud Room was deeper. The "duck" and its bowl were still in the usual place After some discussion, it was decided to go to the Squid Room and Dragon's Mouth for photos. While Jim did some experimental photography, we wandered about exploring and taking more pictures. We toured by a bone room while Jeff and Bill went exploring down some side passages. Then we decided,


Page 24 Febura.ry, 1Q88 the Texas Caver following more photos, to go to the Volcano Maze. The Volcano is an odd formation, with mud-walled sides and calcite beginning to encrust its walls. It turns out that tons of gloppy mud and water surround it on all sides and everyone had a great time sliming through it. Photos were taken. The ceiling of the volcano area has interesting nodular formations. By mid-afternoon, we were quickly making our way back to the trails, where we noticed the ladder leading to a ventilation shaft in the cave, where a fan was blowing. Someone said the reason for the fan was to keep down algae growth. Photos were taken, then on we went past more tour groups. Many tourists' eyes were wide with astonishment at seeing several intrepid explorers of the deep. "How was it?" one asked. "Muddy. Very muddy," we replied. They were repulsed. Back at the surface, Mimi and Amy were back from Austin. We cleaned up, changed clothes and went inside for a drink before hitting the road. Meanwhile, one of the people on the next tour, who had asked questions at the desk, had said he worked on a construction crew that had apparently intersected a cave while digging a pipe line in Austin. We gave him some information and got his name and phone number. Soon, we were on the road north to Waco. We stopped at the Elite Cafe, where Jim had made photo graphic prints of the old restaurant, to eat supper It's right on 1-35 and a good place for dinner. As the sun set, we turned the truck north to Dallas. Another enjoyable weekend trip; more are needed. Gorman Falls State Park Site by Keith Heuss Dates: Destination: Gorman Falls State Park Site, Lemons Springs Camp cave research Personnel: Rune Burnett; Heuss; Terry Holsinger; Souby; Jarvis Tousek; Walsh; Quinta Wilkinson; Butch Fralia, trip leader December 4-6, 1987 Keith Susan Mike and Trip purpose: General cave research of the Lemons Springs area Report: The first item on our agenda this trip was to talk to Dave Paddie, the resident ranger at the Gor man Falls office. On our way over, we met Rune. Dave had no cave leads for us. On our way out, we checked a small entrance we saw from the road .... This may be the cave that James Jasek calls The Devil's Stinkhole. It once had a lot of trash dumped in and around the entrance, but is fairly clean now. We proceeded on to the unnamed expected 75-foot deep pit we located on the previous trip from a lead from Steve Densmore. Butch and Jarvis entered the cave first. With hopes of a promising lead, Rune and I entered the pit. A 13. 5-foot chimney leads to a ledge which divides the fissure room into two pits, both of which lead to the same room. The larger passage is easier to nego tiate. Down another 29.5 feet is the floor of the fissure room A hole to one side of this dirt and rock sloping floored room leads into a canyon passage. Exploration beyond this point was stopped due to bad air at a level about halfway down this 5foot-tall hole. Rope and fresh air will be required before further exploration will be possible. Air quality measurements were taken by hanging a sensor into the canyon passage at the bottom of the hole. Oxygen content measurements were taken using a MDA Scientific Inc model 330 oxygen analyzer with a sensor probe at the end of a 6-foot cable. Carbon dioxide coo tent was measured within a Drager Multi Gas Detecwr using a Drager Detector tube to measure carbon dioxide. Its sensor is on the end of a 10-foot tube, resulting in measurements being taken lower in the pit. Oxygen was measured at 14.5 percent (21 percent being normal), and carbon dioxide measured at 8.25 percent (0.5 percent being normal). Recommended low level for oxygen con tent is 19.5 percent for breathable environment. Outside air temperature on the day the readings were taken was the upper 70s. Hopes are that cold weather might clear the bad air out later in the winter. After exploring the fissure pit, we ridge walked around the area from the cave .... We found one small fissure ... We divided up at this point. Rune and Susan went to Gorman cave to take measurements and verify materials needed to install a bat gate. Air quality meas urements were taken near the point where Gorman Cave gets nasty, being the proposed site of the gate. Oxygen content was 19.5 percent and carbon dioxide was 4 per cent. The remainder of our group went to Lemons Ranch Cave. During this time, Mike Walsh arrived and headed to Gorman Cave. Terry and I did a surface survey from the road to Lemons Cave entrance to get an accurate location for the cave. Terry and Jarvis entered ana determined that the cave we had located was definitely,! Lemons Ranch Cave. They went virtually to the end of the cave and closely compared it to the cave map. From Lemons, we went to Pasture No. 1, or th1 windmill pasture, being the 720-acre pasture at the west end of the park. We parked at the windmill am searched around ... Several fissures were found ... It past sunset when we were leaving the windmill for camp. Sunday morning found us searching for a fissurl system Mike Walsh located the day before, north of Gor man Creek. Terry also found some fissures while we wert out. We then went to a cave we believe may be Cicurina Cave .... While at the 60-foot level, Butch and I werl peering into a second drop requiring rope. Some breell


he Texas Caver Feburary, 1 988 Page 25 ould be felt When a family of mice almost ran up my ants leg, well, about time to leave .... On our return to camp, we stopped at the corral nd f oun d some dirt fill e d sinks. We also locate d a n n trance a long side the road which may be Crystal Crev ce ... I n conclusion, another succe ss ful trip. We accomlis hed much and l eft with much more research to b e one. Jcfi Polk Rappelllng lhe Entrance or Eagle creek Cave. Photo by Rob Kolst3.d. Rappelling Eagle Creek by Rob Kolstad Destination: Eagle C r eek Cave, Palo Pinto County Personnel: Rob Kolstad, Bob Mazanec, Jeff Polk, and Tony Sanders Dates: Sunday, January 17, 1988 Our Saturday trip aborted due to bad weath er, the ur of us gathered at Kolstad's house a t 10 am to on a fun-fill ed afternoon of caving and climbing. Ith us were old standbys Sanders, Polk, and Kolsta d and newcomer Bob Mazanec, an SMU student maJormg in Compu te r Engineering (what e lse?) We lun c h ed at the Whataburg e r in Mineral Wells before comp leting ou r driving to the rest stop on the far side of Palo Pinto. Gathering our caving and vertical gear, we greeted the others at the r est stop with stor ies of our bi rd watching. Few of them believed us however c i t in g the unlikel y r eq uirement of h ardhats for viewing eve n the most dange rou s Texas birds. A ten minute walk b rough t us to the entrance of Eagle C r eek Cave. From t h e accompanying illustration, you can see that Jeff was able to rappel the entrance wh i ch we we r e all later abl e to negotiate. The cave h as changed little s inc e our previous v 1 s1ts: it is still rather s mall tight, and short. We scouted for new entrances or breakdown which might r evea l new features. None was found Polk and Sander s helped Mazanec learn basic rappe llin g and ascending techniques while Kolstad photo graph e d t h e process. A dinn e r at K-Bob 's in M in e ral Wells topped off the day a nd all were home by 9:45 pm Arbuckle Mountains, Okla. Dates: Feb. 17 1985 by Rob Kolstad and Jay Jorden Destination: Grim Rippe r Cave and others Personnel: John P Brooks, Brian Burton, Mik e Brown Jay Jorden, Rob Kolstad, Terry Hols in ge r Kerry Rowland and Sharon G l en ning Bobby Moore James Savage This dispatch also includes r efe r e nces to a possible acc id ent r eport, s ince i t was as if wease l s had ripped our fles h f ollowing a n excurs ion into some o f the tighter, nas t i e r holes in the Arbuckle Mountains. J ohn Brooks r et urned w ith a nasty c u t on one hand, a nd kn ees t hat l oo k ed as if they h ad been in a meat g rind er Jay h a d so r e s hould ers a nd numerous contus ion s abou t hi s h a nd s, arms a nd other extre miti es. Brian was dazed a nd dizzy a f te r hi s helmeted head bounced off rocky p r o j ections. But o n with the tale. We embark ed on the j ourney from John's abode in Dallas a nd a by-now infamous eatery in Denton wher e the Fort Worth a r ea co n t ing e n t met up. I t was dete rmin e d t hat t h e groups would remain as two, with the Fort Worth a rea contingent a nd oth e r D all as f o lk s, including Rob a nd Mike, doing a surface s ur vey to tie in oth e r cave data in the Wild Woman a rea a nd exp loring p i ts near Joint Venture. John, B ri an a nd Jay e l ected t.o do so m e rid ge driving a l o n g a previou s l y uninv est igated r oad on t h e r anch and t r y to p u s h some l eads discove red t h e prev i o u s


Page 26 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Caver weekend by John and Brian. (Editors' Nok for which, see additional trip report.) The Dallas trio headed up the road, which was still splotched with some snow remaining from a previous storm. Many sinks were seen; a few were explored. One of them proved to enter into Grim Ripper Cave, which ate some flesh upon investigation. John descended first, after Brian cleared a rock at the entrance with a little persuasion using a sledge. John, hesitant at first, descended, clearing rocks along the way. He paused at the bottom of the first minor chimney, then discovered another, deeper chimney offset from the first which extended about 40 feet down and about the same distance in length. The chimney took skin off on the way down, allows John. At the bottom of the chimney, John saw puddles of water which had in ftoodstage cascaded down to a small ftowstone slot, beyond which it appeared the cave con tin. ued. But the slot was impassable to a human body. Jay soon joined the intrepid explorer at the bottom, bringing equipment support with him, and the end of the cave studied for a time before it was agreed to bid a retreat. At the entrance again, the duo conferred with Brian, who became intrigued. Actually, some Easter caver types would refer to the Grim Ripper scenario as a "suck-in cave." "Man, it goes at the bottom! It really does!" both exclaimed to Brian, who was whipping on his Wheat lamp and scurrying inside. In fact, the cave did have promise. But all were too scratched up in the final analysis to continue pushing it. Meanwhile, the other crew was busy at work. After driving to the fork in the road near the windmill, the group split into two: the tourists and the works. Bobby and the rest of the tourists watched the workers setup their survey at the Rattlesnake entrance to Wild Woman (rumored entrance, at any rate). Bobby then led Kerry and Sharon into Wild Woman's rocky mouth. The Mike Browns, Scott Pannell, Terry Holsinger, and Rob Kol stad then proceeded to record a surface survey that was to link not only all known (or suspected) entrances to Wild Woman but eventually even Joint Venture and Deep Sink caves. With Terry bird-dogging holes in the ground, Mr. Savage acting is a movable survey marker, Terry and Mike Brown (the larger) holding tape, Rob running instruments, and Mike Brown (the younger) recording data with impeccable handwriting, the survey crew racked up 7,000 feet of surface survey within two hours. The workers returned (by this time with the tour ists) to the van for a quick snack (turns out Kerry and Sharon cook up a real storm and shared some beef bur gundy in the drizzle) As a group, we then hiked back to the farthest reaches of the Spider Sink complex to check out the next known deep pit: The NTSS Pit. The NTSS has what must be described as the most spectacular entrance so far observed in the Arbuckles. Mike Brown (the skinnier) donned his vertical descending gear; Rob rigged the rope (a lot of implicit trust in their relationship, you know); Mike descended. 50 feet or 50 down Mike announced: "It doesn't go." We're hearin& that a lot in the Arbuckles. On we moved to a pit Kerry had discovered 1 Kerry's Kaverns, as we optimistically named the cave, is a very thin vertical pit. Mike (the leaner) and Terry both descended: Mike on 8-ring; Terry using the l rope as a handline Two rooms with nice formations greeted them on the bottom. So did mud choked pas sages. The arduous descent took Mike almost half an hour for the 80 feet; Terry climbed out much more quickly. The tourists and workers rendezvoused back at thel van with Jorden, Brooks, and Burton. Yet another grouping found all but Brown and Kolstad eating dinner; the two outsiders sped down 1-35 to rendezvous with Rob's friend at the DFW airport. The Arbuckles continues to yield interesting pits. Kolstad found a pit in which rocks echoed for 5 full seconds (physics tells us that's feet; common sense die tates that the rock is only in free fall for short periods or time and hence is much less deep than that). Future trips should unlock even more of the mysteries of the Wild Woman Cave System. GUADS CONSERVATION by Rob Kolstac Destination: Hell Below Dates: September 4, 1987. Personnel: Rob Kolstad, Jefi Polk, Tony Sanders. Labor Day. Three day week end. Guads! We finally put together a crew with equipment gumption enough to tackle HELL BELOW: a 70 fool drop in the dark. For those of us of the chicken persua sion, this is quite a feat We planned to leave North Dallas at around l :OC on our way to the ranger station overlooking Canyon. By 4:30 we were on OUT way: we had a new water pump, new oil, new inspection sticker, new cave gear, 100 pounds of new carbide, new film, new batteries, new maps; we were prepared for anything. Traffic W&S kind to us with the exception of southbound central expressway; once we reached 1-30/l-20 it was smooth driving all the way to Big Spring where McDonald's pro vided the culinary fare. Realizing we were short on cash (*oops, so we weren't prepared for everything), we searched Big Spring for a money machine which accepted Dallas-based money cards We might as well have been searching for the lost cities of Cibola; don't waste your time in Big Spring. They laughed at us. We took a new route (for us) via highway 176 lo 62/180 and thence to Carlsbad I don't know why we used to enjoy driving 180 from Weatherford so much.


the Texas Cave r F eb ur ary, I 988 Page 27 The new s p ee d limits make the trip quite enjoyable. D riving south of Carl sbad, we found the correct exi t to Dark Canyon Road and Queen Highway We e v e n found Queen. After that, the going was toughe r W e r e e ntered Texas (heading south into f a r west T exas ) at Dog Ca n yo n. W e w e r e warned o f t h e Plague and figur e d that t his really wasn't where w e inte nd e d to be. The posted map had all kind s o f new roa ds pen c ill ed in *sigh* Being the first night of bow-and-arrow deer season, w e asked so m e deer hunte r s for dire-etion s. Deer hunters a r e a l ways h appy to provide direction s. The proble m i s: so m e deer hunte r s don t actually know the way themse l ves, s o they fabricate plausible directions in an attempt to be helpful. We found ourselves atop a mountain overlooking Dark Canyon alright; unfortunately, it was the wrong mountain. At 4:00 am we gave up the fight and s lept for 3.5 hours. Kol stad, ri s in g at the c r ac k of dawn as u s ual took ove r the driving and navigating tasks. He quickly drove a nd n av igated onto a n arrow dirt road which was unpassabl e to two wheel drive ve hicle s (like the one he was driving) owing to t h e rain of two hours before. Happily, we had fixed t h e leak s m the speleovan the J:ur('S Jasek' s Speetacui:U" 1087 P h o t of :1. l:u-gc room in hJ.d\:l.J}OO C'.wc


Page 28 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Cav1 month before. More deer hunters (now dressed in camo with camouflaged bows and olive-colored arrows) were more than happy to direct us back down the mountain to the correct turnoff. We angled our way through the canyon and up so called Three Mile Hill (we measured 2 .7} to meet ranger Ransom Turner at his abode beneath the lookout tower overlooking Dark Canyon. The sunrise was spectacular; Ransom was surprised to find us 20 minutes early for our 8:00 am (MDT, one earlier than CDT for free) ren dezvous. After discussing nature, caving, politics, conserva tion, equipment, mud, Three Mile Hill, Pink Floyd & The Moody Blues, the speleo-CD player in the speleovan, prusik knots, breakfast, camping, world affairs, and many "'her important topics, we undertook the journey to HELL BELOW. Ransom's two wheel drive small pickup truck nego tiated the roads nicely considering six inch ruts, mud, and impassable (to me} obstacles greeting us every few feet. We arrived at the parking lot (ok, so it wasn't a lot) for HELL BELOW and greeted another caver waiting for his friends to visit other caves in the Guads. Descending the hill, we walked for 5 minutes to the entrance to HELL BELOW. The entrance to HELL BELOW contrasts with some other Guad caves, e.g., Cottonwood. Where Cot tonwood Cave's entrance ranges upwards toward 100 feet, HELL BELOW's entrance is more like 2 feet by 2 feet. It must be noted that it is significantly easier to gate HELL BELOW than the main entrance of Cottonwood. I am sure this is why they discovered HELL BELOW; having bought the gate, it proved simply too difficult to install it at Cottonwood. Tony, ever the adventurer, opened the gate (we cleverly had the key this time, unlike a recent trip to Fitton where it took two hours in 100' heat to pick the damned combination lock} and lowered himself into the first room. Ranger Ransom advised us to suit up in our vertical gear for the descents to follow. We did. You know, Ransom Turner has to weigh more than I do. But by golly he is a hell of a caver. Chimneys and climbdowns have no effect on his calm, cool demeanor. To give you an idea what a chicken I am, just the first chimneys were quite a challenge to me. Of course, I negotiated them easily. After they threatened to throw me down the fast way. Ransom rigged a backup knot well above our drop and we negotiated the slim passage which leads to the 70 foot free-drop into HELL BELOW's first room We carefully avoided landing on the precious cave pearls at the bottom of the first drop. I had no accidents on the way down (longest drop I've done in the dark} and my pants were dry. I was pleased. Twenty more feet over a lip brought us closer to the floor of the entrance room. HELL BELOW's rooms are similar: parallel vertical walls, 20 to 60 feet apart, 100 (or more) foot ceilings, hundreds of feet in length, and irregular bottoms which lead down to multi ple levels below. It is the irregular bottoms which got to me nexl Well, actually, it was the traverses around the irregula bottoms. As Ransom explained, the difficulty of th traverses varies with the distance of the fall. The mo! difficult traverse would only drop one 20 feet or so; th easy ones could send one spinning down 100 After traversing the shallow pit, we exited to oui left through a low lead to another room similar to the first. Breakdown climbing and. two more traversl J brought us to the middle of the large rectangular room A medium-high lead to the left brought us to the onl. tourist attraction of our conservation trip, The Gn. Joint. GJ features narrower passage (four feet) with new and almost-new gypsum flowers and white gypsum walls. It was just before our foray the Gyp Joint that Kolstad discovered that his speleo camera had decided to turn on its back and play dead The GJ has 30 feet or so of walking passage, includinga pair of puddles being slowly covered by calcite ice. Thr end of passage featured aragonite crystals and a lower crawl which we did not negotiate. Returning to the paths which conservationists han marked with stones (to keep explorers from walking on the more delicate parts of the cave), we walked about two thirds of the length of the room to find an exit the right. This new room contained several lakes on our left (of quite respectable size} along with large flowstonr covered cones. We went to the right across breakdown to mud-covered cave coral and another lake, complete with sump. Colorado divers are said to have explored the sump with only negative results. At this point, we unpacked our conservation gear: scrub brushes, a pail, and a fire-fighting device known in the trade as the piss-pump. As you are all probably faro iliar with brushes and pails, I'll describe the sprayer in more detail. A bag holds roughly three (four?} water and has straps to sling over your back (a pint's < pound the world around; four gallons weights 64 pounds no kidding). From the bag, a hose leads to a metal con traption that somewhat resembles a high-tech bicycle ail pump. One simply pushes the end away from one anc then pulls it back towards one to eject a very powerf[ thin stream of water. With only a minute's practice, onr can accurately spray the tiniest of dirty formations at' distance of ten feet. With only three more minute's practice, one that one's wrists and other body parts are not used tc moving so much water around. With another twent) minute's practice, one decides one would enjoy scrubbin! and moving with pails more than one is the pain of moving water in a high-speed stream at dH\j little formations Our goal was to clean that end of the room. Caver. had tracked mud onto the cave coral and the cave not cleansed itself. Ransom explained to us that cavli can tolerate a certain level of visiting and will clean U1


Feburary, 1988 Page 29 d continue growth with no other conservation effort. en this level is exceeded, however, the cave's condiion deteriorates and efforts like ours are required to 'estore it to pristine condition. I never envisioned myself ashing a cave; I can't imagine who is going to dust it. We cleaned about 200 square feet of cave. In the rocess we completely emptied one little lake of its ater. Scrubbing, high-speed spraying, and simply aumping mas s ive pails of water brought out a new shine and lus ter in not only the cave coral but also the rocks e d to tramp to the stunning lake at the end of the room. I now believe I can be much more careful in dirty g cn,ves; they are a bitch to clean. Our exit was uneventful except for the vertical ascent. Tony's light failed and required a new felt (always the last thing you change, of course) before he could rrs um e exit. By that time, it was only he and Rob c limb out: not exactly Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the rope set. Hob climbed the first 15 feet (of t he 20 foot drop) easily b ut had a hell o f a time learning how to get over lips (Cave lips; keep it clean). Tony also experi enc ed a l certain amount of education in this manner. I 1-hb proved again what a fine physical specimen he iis bv wheezing his way to the top of the 70 foot climb. [ Rob. learned he is acrophobic. This i s not something learn e d lightl y 40 feet off the floor. Rob' s solution: he !climbe d with his eyes closed. No m esses in the pants, teither. R.ob shouted "Off Rope" to Tony, as Rob moved t r o m the m a in climbing rope to the safety rope. Learn tra m Hob's mistake. Just as Rob shared his "don't set your hand on fire" experience, now hear this: Off Rope p1c a n s OfT The Entire Rope; not just Off This Part of the fope. As Tony began his climb, the safety section of the rope tightened and pinned Rob to the side of the slender [for Rob) passage that marked departure from the climb [ng a r e a. Coupled with packs which w e r e also too wide for the slender (for Rob) pass age, Rob wa.; basically Happily Ransom came to the re sc ue and was abl e disconnect Rob's packs' straps and Rob was a ble to fxtricate him se lf (with only minimum impact on Tony's dun bing). Tony climbed the 70 feet in about 20 seconds and was already smiling and walking out of the slender (not f o r Tony) passage by the time Rob had exited it. Rob V o w s to lose so me weight. Again. For sure, this time. The climb out, while uneventful, was challenging. footholds, and general climbing were fdi!Tercnt. than say, Manley's Water Hole. I O ur return to the ranger station and the concomi1 lalll s unset combined with high winds and dus t made a spectacular sight. While Tony and Jeff journeye d to visit the entrance of Cottonwood Cave, Rob interviewed Ranger Ransom f o r < ln upcoming spotlight in another well-known caving Lpublication. The trip down the hill and into Carlsbad was quick and easy; the dinner at Sizzling Sirloin (....,.,.........,......,....) was outstanding, as usual. We then journeyed to the Southwest Regional. West Texas Pseudokarst by Jay Jorden Destination: Mineral Wells Palo Pinto County, Texas Personnel: Eric Spears, Jay Jor den Dates: Nov. 8, 1987 This was a lead-checking trip out to Mineral Wells for a day to escape the bright city lights. The 4-x-4 made it out okay, with a minor charg ing problem still bugging the owner. In Mineral Wells I sw ung by Eric s and we went looking down by the Brazos River. Not much was found but w e took the truck through its paces in the riverside hill s. We talked to a landowner or two. We ate at Eric s and visited with his family, includ ing the newest (and third) little girL A few stories were traded. And, about six hours late r it was time to hit the road back to Dallas. On the way back. a check was made in Parker County for pos sible cav es. Arkansas Caving In Autumn by Greg Mooty Destination: Hidden Springs Cave and Janus Pit Dates: Octobe r 15-18, 1987 Personnel: Janis and Woodrow Thomas, Mike Ponder, and Greg Mooty The long, arduous drive was like so many before, tiring and boring. Mike and I listened to both sides of a good half-dozen cassette tapes before arriving at our ren dezvous point, Gunner Pool early Friday morning about 2:00 AM. Wood row and Janis were sound asleep in the back of their truck when we got there. Arkansas caves are about as far away from Bowling Green as they are from the metroplex. The light of morning illuminated our wonderful camping spot by the water and we arose to greet the day. The brilliant f all colors surrounded us and we slowly came to life with a hot. cup of del Bueno coffee and instant oat meal. After the usual salutations and trading of gos s ip including a story about the English sport of ferret l eg ging we were on our way to Hidden Springs Cave. This was to be a casual photo taking trip and w e spent a leisurely four hours in the cave taking pictures. Janis, dressed in a tight, bright red sweater, was our mod e l for most of the pictures. Two unneeded


Page 30 Feburary, 1988 the Texas Cavtr Sa-So knee pads were donated to enhance the qualities (quantities ?) of the tight sweater for a couple of comical shots, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Back at the entrance, we imbibed a cool one and relaxed, surrounded by the glorious autumn reds, yellows and golds of the forest. Woodrow and I hiked down to a small cave entrance not far away that Chuck Cluck had told us about, while Janis sat back and graded some overdue homework papers and Mike strolled through the woods. We wormed our way into the tight, sandy and muddy hole, only to be stopped by a tight squeeze at the end of the cave. Woodrow convinced me to force my smaller body into constriction (He still owes me a rootbeer shake for the last one of these), but it got too tight. A quick trip back to the cars and we returned with our cave packs and some persuasive instruments conducive to restriction enlargement. About an hour later we were a good five meters deeper into the cave, only to reach the real end of the cave We returned to camp just before dark. Woodrow and I, sandy and muddy from our adventure, decided that filth was worse than the torture of the ice cold creek. The water was literally "so cold that parts of a man just disappear". A quick dip under water and we were up on the rocks. The cold night air blowing across our wet bodies was much more comfortable than being submerged in the icy creek. One more quick dip to wash off the biodegradable soap and we were back on the bank drying off our shivering bodie& It was cold, but it wasn't as bad as ferret legging. By this time, Mike had started a cheery fire. He also needed the warmth of a camp fire, having just fallen in the creek while gathering wood. Everyone enjoyed a hearty meal and we relaxed to enjoy the fire and the music of the Three Bobs. We turned in around ten PM. We were warm and comfortable in our sleeping bags long before the rain started to fall. The sky was clear in the morning and the only rem inder of the rain was the wet caving clothes which had been left out to dry from the previous day. After break fast, we packed up the wet caving gear and headed for Janus Pit. Just on the other side of Mountain View, Mike and I hung our wet caving clothes out of the car and proceeded to blow dry them while driving to Janus Pit. We soon arrived after only one wrong turn and were surprised to find the clothes reasonably dry. Near the entrance to the cave, we encountered two local cavers preparing to drop the pit. We allowed them to go ahead of us and then soon followed them down At the bottom of the pit, Mike elected to return to the car, not feeling well. Janis, Woodrow and I soon caught up the the two others They were carrying cole man lanterns and they really lit up the cave. We trekked through much of the cave with them, stopping at Olympus Hall where we bid them farewell. After visiting this part of the cave, we turned back. We had planned to follow the other major passage of the cave. On our last visit, we had turned around in big walking passage in this section of the cave. However, a water crawl was required to visit this section of the cave We had been in the cave about five hours, and were not looking forward to the cold water. We sat around until we came up with a good enough excuse not to do the rest of the cave. On the surface, we awoke Mike from a snooze ano were soon back at camp. Another cold, invigorating dip to clean off the cave grime, and we were ready for dinner Music and conversation was the focal point around the camp fire again this evening. We discusseo whether we really believed that the sport of ferret leg ging existed at all, or was it just the ruse of ont extremely macho, and some would say too macho indivi l dual. Sleep was soon upon us and we retired to our bag1 for the night. We had breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen The proprietor remembered us when we told him about our previous breakfast experience at his establishment After breakfast, we journeyed to look at the entrance of a nearby cave and were soon on our way back to the metroplex It had been a beautiful Arkansas autumn weekend. My Cave! by Jay Jorden Destination: My Cave; Pocahontas Co., W.Va. Personnel: Art Portmore, Mendham, N.J.; Gloria Penko; Jay Jorden; Doug Soroka, Greenport, N.Y. Dates: Saturday, Sept. 5, 1987 My Cave, with more than 2000 meters of surveyeal passage, has been connected via a sump dive with the Simmon&-Mingo Caves, creating thereby a system with about 7 miles of mapped passage and over 680 feet in depth. We entered via the Dry Fork entrance, which led down a series of climbdowns to a rocky stream crawl ano then the main My Cave stream at the Junction Room. As we had arrived at the cave in Art's Volvo, I noticed Doug passing around tent stakes. When I asked him what he was doing, he said that the stakes were pre cautions in case someone slid to the bottom of the mud slide. Ulp! I noticed the sullen storm clouds gather, and, as the rain began to pour, wondered aloud what I had gotten myself into when I could be back with all the rest of the lazy cavers at camp sipping on a brewski and roasting wienies over an open fire. I mean, after all, hadn't I proven myself as an intrepid explorer of thf depths? Apparently not yet, and this cave was about tc show us why. The rain became a downpour and we slipped ano slid across the muddy rocks and cobbles on the floor of a then-dry streambed for the trail that went halfway up 3 hill and to the entrance. It was a classic, no-fooling around hole in the side of the hill. You just braced your self with your hands at the top and swung inside Ahh1 Dryness. And it wasn't hot and humid, either. Thl!


Texas Caver Feburary, 1988 Page 31 ould be fun. T hen, the rocky stream crawl I alluded to earlier [hat wasn't so bad. We had come a little earlier to the ilge o f a pit, down which Art freeclimbed He remarked hat :r didn't look like the way to go that he as a rock Jimh:r, thought it a bit hairy without a belay. This onvr\ced us We finally found the right rocky stream :raw and emerged close to the top of the 100-foothigh ,Jipp y mud slope. I decided my Army boots' soles were to wimp out big-time. This was no time. 1deed, we all did some serious slaloming down the nucl : t nd crisscrossed many a mud mogul on our way to ;he ; of the cave and the sump. Sure, the view of the oor: passage was neat if you could stay on your feet. w 1 iered what idiot decided to name this cave "My Jar He or she could have it. Seriously, it was sport ng. :iul I ;agt lum vert I I i ileci bth i I mg. L being used to dry, roomy (??) Texas caves, was a tken aback by the clammy, wet nature of the pasnd all the gawd-awful mud. But I lived to see the o Simmons-Mingo and watch Art attempt another limb out what we were later to find out was the entrance to the cave, an 80-foot pit. nally, about four hours after we started, we had i to make a return trip. We ran into 20 or 30 avers from OTR who decided to check out their :Iy electric light, having been used the previous ; s limping along fitfully and acted as if I would be Lo break out the carbide a scant 30 minutes from ranee. But I nursed it along on low bulb until, 1d sleazy with mud, we slithered out of the e -into a downpour! My, it rains in West Vir3ut no one seems to worry about the rain when -at least, not much. : made it back to convention in time for the festivities to begin. And the rain continued. T1 ut Caves & NSS Flood Cave by Jay Jorden Des 1ation: NSS Flood Cave, Hamilton Cave, Trout Cav. \.Jew Trout Cave; Pendleto n County, W.Va. Per : [}nel: Fred Grady, Dave West, Sheila Knight, Jay Jord 'Dat r : Friday, Sept. 4, 1987 I >;we West invited us to go along on a trip to a cave lte helped explore on the SNS property. The cave :vas during the the heavy W est Virgini a floodIng ,,r 1985. Hence the name. All along the road from the OT!l c