The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
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Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: Editorial: Preservation, Conservation, Recreation -- Cave Management: The Texas Cave Management Association, The Texas Cave Conservancy, Cave Management by Federal Agencies - Project Reports: Government Canyon, Colorado Bend -- TSS Photo Archives Caption Contest -- Coronado's Children -- Trip Reports: Carlsbad Caverns, Sotano de las Guaguas, Thanksgiving in Tamapatz -- Book Review: bibliography of Speleological Literature -- Grotto Reports -- The Pillar -- TSA News: Winter Meeting.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Location:
Windy City Grotto Collection, 1961-2013
Original Version:
Vol. 45, no. 02 (March-April 2000)
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See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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K26-04776 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4776 ( USFLDC Handle )
12779 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

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CONTENTS March / April 2000 Vol. 45 NO.2 Editorial Preservation, Conservation, Recreation 27 Cave Management The Texas Cave Management Association 28 The Texas Cave Conservancy 30 Cave Management by Federal Agencies 32 Project Reports Government Canyon Colorado Bend , 34 1 36 TSS Photo Archives Caption Contest 37 Coronado's Children 38 Trip Reports Carlsbad Caverns Sotano de las Guaguas Thanksgiving in Tamapatz 40 42 46 Book Review Bibliography of Speleological Literature 48 Grotto Reports 49 The Pillar 49 TSANews Winter Meeting 50 The TEXAS CAVER is produced by the Texas Speleological Association Editors: Joe Ivy & Rebecca Jones Proof Readers: Katie Arens, Melonie Alspaugh, & Denise Prendergast Scanning: Allan Cobb This Issue is made possible by those who contributed material: Aaron Addison, Melonie Alspaugh, Robin Barber, Dale Barnard, Jerry Fant, Marvin Miller, Joe Mitchell, Rae Nadler-Olenick, Dale Pate, TCC, TCMA, Tim Stich, & Terri Whitfield THETEXA CAVER J The TEXAS CAVER is a bi-monthly publication of the Texas Speleological Association (TSA), an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Subscription rates are $27/year tor six issues of The TEXAS CAVER. This includes membership in the TSA. Outot-state subscribers, libraries, and other institutions may receive The TEXAS CAVER for $20/year. Back issues are available at the cost of $3.00 per issue. Send all correspondence (other than material for The TEXAS CAVER), subscriptions, and exchanges to: The Texas Caver P.O. Box 8026 Austin, TX 78713 Exchanges should be mailed to The Texas Caverat the above address. The Texas Caver will exchange newsletters with other grottos. submtsstcns to The TEXAS CAVER should be sent to the editors at the following address: Joe Ivy & Rebecca Jones 11916 Bluebonnet Manchaca, TX 78682 We encourage YOU to participate in this publication. Please see page 51 for Submission Guidelines. Opinions expressed in the The TEXAS CAVER are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those opinons held by the editors, the TSA, its members, or the NSS. Copyright 2000 by the Texas Speleological Association. Internal organizations of the NSS may reprint any item first appearing in The TEXAS CAVER as long as proper credit is given and a copy of the newsletter containing the reprinted material is mailed to the TSA. Other organizations should contact the TSA about reprinted materials. ON THE COVER: Julie Jenkins reopening the entrance of Sinking Creek Cave, Kentucky. Photo by Chris Anderson ON THE BACK: Texas Caves. By Aaron Addison


The Editors Say ... J Preservation. Recreation. Conservation. While most cavers recognize the need for cave management, few will agree on what that management should be. In this issue, we look at some of the efforts at cave management in Texas. But first, some perspectives and ideas: Preservation is "keeping in perfect or unaltered condition, maintaining in an unchanged form." We frequently hear about cave preserves, yet caves and their environments are constantly changing, never static. "Cave preserve" is an oxymoron. To truly preserve caves, don't go in them. But how do you preserve something you don't fully understand? To manage any resource, it must be evaluated and then monitored. This means entering the cave. Even the most careful speleologist impacts and changes a cave. The resource must be damaged in or~er to be saved. While it seems an honor.le goal, true preservation is a technical impossibility. So what are the preservationists really trying to do') Good question. Recreation is "refreshing one's mind and body after labor through diverting activity." Recreational caving is a legitimate activity. Part of the appeal of caving is the sense of ex.ploring a natural environment, so this experience is diminished by the signs of others. Visitation concentrated on "sacrificial caves" diverts pressure from others. The secrecy over locations is an extension of this; by excluding "non-cavers" we keep caves for ourselves. We spend much energy indoctrinating newcomers, preaching, "Cave softly. Leave no trace ... As a community, we attempt to police ourselves. Is this social approach to cave management sufficient? Good question. Conservation is "keeping from loss or depletion." In environmental management circles, conservation, the controlled use of resources, is thought of as the happy medium between preservation and destruction. This is where the debate gets ugly. All use Ampacts the cave environment. Impact can ~e one footprint, shattered formations, one squashed Rhadine beetle, the introduction of new material, or the destruction of an entire ecosystem. How much impact is acceptable? Can use be controlled so it does not 1 compound the existing damage? Are all caves and all cave resources equally significant? Do "speleologists" have better insight than "cavers" or "developers?" Good questions. But let's take a step back and look at the big picture for a moment. We're aLl using caves for our own selfish ends. We're all impacting the cave environment and justifying that impact according to our own values. Often the most heated arguments come down to "my use of the resource is okay, yours isn't." We talk about preserving this cave or that cave species; we work to obtain conservation easements and recreational access. The fight is really about keeping the things we value for ourselves. Let's take an even bigger step back and take a look at the really big picture. Caves exist in geologic time. These caves were here long before human beings managed to stand upright, get civilized, and start trashing the planet. These caves will be here long after humanbeings are gone. If a caver pounds a belt into the wall of a cave, the preservationists howl. But a bolt will either rot as the cave wall erodes, or it will be covered with flowstone. If a caver blasts a' formation to allow further exploration, conservationists scream. But that formation was eroding or growing, and it will continue to do so. In comparison to the natural forces at work in a cave, human efforts are trivial. We're strong advocates of impacting caves as little as possible while caving safely and efficiently. That's because we don't like to see trash and reminders of other people everywhere. It's a matter of aesthetics. We argue and carryon about preservation and conservation of cave resources. We argue about allowing recreational use of fragile caves. Who's right? What's the best management policy? Who should be allowed to go into a cave? Who should be excluded? What level of impact is acceptable? Doesn't it all come down to aesthetics in the end? And what is a cave anyway? It's the absence of rock. It's where something is not, where something used to be. So isn't all this hoopla over cave management just much ado about nothing? Good question. Editors Ivy and Jones, TEXAS CAVER: Congratulations for a nice job with the JanuarylFebruary 2000 Texas Caver It is now 30 years since I produced my first issue of a Texas Caver that was in some distress and r know where you are corning from. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this issue despite its heavy emphasis on sump-diving (16 of 24 pages; even Mixon's review). The printing was of good quality, the layout thoughtfully done, and the proof-reading flawless (?). IMHO, it is one of the best issues in recent years. Hopefully, the caving community will now be inspired to support the Caver as it deserves. Best wishes for continued success. -Carl Kunath We appreciate the compliment and would like to extend our appreciation to everyone who's contributed to The Caver in the past seven months, especially Katie, Denise, and Melonie, the proof readers. -Joe & Beck The "Rogaine Stalagmite" in Lower Cave, Carlsbad Caverns. Photo by Walt Olenick


__________________ IIIIIIIII!""" MARCH/APRIL 2000 Cave Management in the New Millenium: The Texas Cave Management Association Rune Burnett, Julie Jenkins, Ron Ralph, & Bill Russell Cave managementin Texas is not what it used to be, and it's getting more difficult all the time. Landowner relations must be kept current, and it's vital that owners are treated with respect and that their concerns be embraced by the management entity. This sometimes leads to misunderstand i n g s with landowners but also to cavers having misunderstandings with the cave manability in case of injury. There are security and safety concerns in terms of vandalism and injury. What groups are interested in using the caves? What requirements should be imposed upon non-caver groups in terms of knowledge and equipment so that they may use these manage d caves? Should agement entity, which is sometimes viewed as not being open to cavers or being too restrictive in usage. It's tough to please everyone. Cave owners have every right to expect that when they allow access and usage of their caves, their interests and concerns will be taken seriously. Likewise, cavers would like free and open access whenever they want, for their own purposes, typically recreation. The Texas Cave Management Association (TCMA) is in a unique and interesting position as both a management entity and owner of several caves. Whirlpool Cave Preserve in Austin is owned by TCMA and receives by far the greatest number of visitations of any non-commercial cave in a tricounty area. Lost Oasis, also in Austin, is quite small, and as a managed biological preserve, does not receive much recreational use. Robber Baron in San Antonio, much like Whirlpool, is in almost constant use year round, As cavers, we're happy that the caves are used recreationally and that they are so conveniently located right in our own backyards. As owners and managers it's a bittersweet story. There are tax concerns and insurance costs to cover any potential li28 group sizes be limited? Should a T C M A member be involved in each and every 11011caver trip? Is it necessary to provide facilities for groups using the caves? Who will the contact person be? Will anyone who wants to go caving be allowed to go caving? What about surface maintenance? What about our neighbors on adjoining properties? What about Cavers relax in the Travis County Room in Whirlpool Cave. Photo by Julie Jenkins camping, fires, and trash? The list of questions grows and grows, and it's not just because these particular caves are in urban areas. Undoubtedly, urban caves have a higher visibility than say 0-9 Well or Amazing Maze, two TCMA-managed caves located in more sparsely populated rural areas of Texas. But even our rural caves have issues of maintenance, security, frequency of trips, and landowner relations. Over the past decade or so, growing concerns for protection of the environment have led to greater regu latory controls especially on lands in urban areas. We as cavers are no longer the only group interested in the underground. Cities like Austin, for example, have taken lip the environmental gauntlet and are not only buying up karstlands as "greens pace" preserves, but must fulfill the mandates of various governmental agency requirements regarding hydrology, the threatened and endangered species that live in the caves, and, yes, access. Cave management as it pertains to this new breed of landowner has taken a dramatic turn. What was once as simple as calling up the owners and letting them kno. what the weekend plans were, is now muc~ more involved and political. To qualify as cave managers, TCMA must be more than cavers who care about caves. We must put into place policies and requirements that fulfill governmental agency criteria. We have to know about local political and environmental issues, understand how they may affect caves, and get involved with government agencies. We have to know what the current city, county, state, and federal guidelines and requirements are so that TCMA complies and can be considered as having the proper credentials to manage these agency-owned caves legally, We have to be able to provide all the necessary scientific data and reports before we are even considered a player. So, one of the many changes TCMA has embraced is that some of us have had to become speleo-politicians. We attend city council meetings and give slide presentaTN~ T~XAS CAVER


tions and cave tours to various agencies e nd officials. We write proposals and reorts, show up and speak out in defense of the karst that is threatened by the newest highway system. We get involved in shaping new policies as they relate to the karst; we provide information and data to decisionmakers regarding the potential impact of pipelines that cross the karst and the aquifer; and we're always working at keeping open conununications between the landowners and TCMA. Then, on weekends and after work, we manage our caves by going out and leading group cave tours for non-cavers and new-comers to caving, and giving talks and presentations to schools, churches, organizations, and anyone who will listen and wants to know about caves and karst. We do surveys, take photos, document and count bugs, pick lint. We do all we can do to ensure that we are the best stewards we can possibly be for the caves. And we allow and encourage as much usage and access for cavers to enjoy caves as we can. Sometimes recreational uses have to fall to the least important issue in management because of ~n the other requirements and landowner .riteria. This doesn't mean that TCMA doesn't want caves available for recreational use, but rather that we've got to work to get the caves first, then later we can begin to ease recreational usage into the management equation. Some caves simply can't handle recreational use due to size or the biology present. TCMA has been around since the mid 80s, before there were any rules or laws to protect the karst or the groundwater that flows into much of our Central Texas karst. TCMA was there, quietly working away in the underground (literally and figuratively), forming and shaping policies to protect our karst and to ensure that cavers as a group are considered in policies affecting caves. TCMA is and has been instrumental in the protection and preservation of karst areas in central Texas. And our members have had a very positive influence in shaping the management and use of caves such as Caverns of Sonora and Kartchner Caverns. It behooves each and every caver in this state to support TCMA because every day we're .Iosin g caves to development and to management entities that aren't cavers and don't care about caver concerns. If we're not paying attention as a group, we stand to lose having any input to the management of the caves that are left. If you care about TNE TEXAS CAVER MARCHI APRIL 2000 caves, and we know you do, even though you cave in Mexico or Borneo, you should support TCMA with its on-going karst managementactivities. So come on folks, join. If you don't want to help out as a volunteer, then give. It only costs a mere 24 cents a day to help support this effort. Most of you blow that in a day without even thinking. So GIVE, 'cause when the caves are gone and paved over and filled in, there's no recovering them, and there's no turning back! TCMA OFFICERS Jay Jorden, President 1 became a director of TCMA in late 1980s, and participated in reorganization. Early work with the 501 (c)3 organization involved acquisition of the first TCMA property, Whirlpool Cave and Lost Oasis Cave, both in Travis County. 1 was elected president in the early 1990s and have worked closely with the board in later acquisitions, including Robber Baron Cave in Bexar County, as well as in TCMA management projects such as Amazing Maze and 0-9 Water Well. On the national caving scene, I am a Fellow and Life Member of the NSS.I chair the NSS Public Relations Committee and also the Cave Vandalism Deterrence Reward Commission. I am an editor for the NSS Cave Conservation and Management Section's newsletter, The Cave Conservationist, and have served as vice-chair and a director of the section. I am also past chair of the Executive Search Committee. In regional activities, I am a past secretary of the Texas Speleological Association and a past chairman, vice-chair, secretary, and newsletter editor for the Dallas-Fort Worth Grotto. Julie Jenkins, Vice President I'm a digger by passion and obsession. New cave discoveries made by digging into caves long ago filled in by soil and debris from flooding are, for me, the ultimate in finding caves in Central Texas. Crawling in virgin cave, creating passage as] go, never knowing what to expect ar,ound the next rock or the next drop. On the surface, this same passion has led to my dedicated involvement in environmental issues as they relate to the preservation of karst recharge lands over the Edwards Aquifer. There is still a lot of karst right here in Texasjust waiting to be uncovered and protected from destruction, which means l've got lots of digging and caving ahead of me. So many caves and so little time ... "Rune" Bob Burnett, Secretary Started caving in the early 60s in Texas and Mexico with the DT Grotto. Worked 22 years with TPWD, first as an archaeologist speciaLizing in historic restoration and development, then as a natural and cultural resource specialist, which included management of the caves in the state park system. Spent four years working for the A .. rizona State Parks Dept. designing the development and supervising the construction of underground facilities for public access to Kartchner Caverns State Park. Presently a private consultant for cave management and development. .T. Bruce Anderson, Treasurer I started caving in '\978 after my wife Donna finally got me to go caving with her. I have caved in Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia. I have probably caved elsewhere but it escapes me at the moment. I became Treasurer ofTCMA in 1994. I was Treasurer for the Bracketville NSS convention in 1994. I am a past vice-chairman of the Maverick Grotto. J am currently a member of the Maverick Grotto, DFW Grotto, TSA, and TCMA. Currently I reside in McAllen, TX, along the Mexican border. Ascending the second drop in 0-9 Well. Photo by Peter Sprouse 29


I~----------------------MARCH/APRIL 2000 The Texas Cave Conservancy Melanie Alspaugh & Mike Walsh On October 13, 1994, several cavers gathered in New Braunfels, Texas to start the Texas Cave Conservancy. Almost exactly five years later, on October 14, 1999, theTCC obtained a conservation easement from the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District on Beck Ranch Cave and several others. Beck Ranch Cave is a fairly extensive bat cave. Since it is a bat cave, the TCC chose to place a nine-foot tall, high-quality metal fence around the entrance. Along with electronic monitoring, this fence should protect the cave. An article 011 Beck Ranch Cave protection efforts will appear in a future Texas Caver. There are over 1000 known caves located in Texas urban areas. Many have already been destroyed, and development continues. It is the goal of the TCC to protect as many of these caves as possible through public awareness and through parks and cave preserves. Most of the Tee income will be through the design, construction, and the management of such properties. This income allows the TCe to offer our services to private cave owners at no cost. The TeC has had success in the location of many new caves in the counties of Edwards, Kinney, Real, and Uvalde. Working in small groups, we have obtained caver access to over 50 caves. TCCPoLlCY The TCC is a non-profit, non-political Texas corporation. We do not support confrontational conservation groups. We support common-sense cave conservation. This works best through voluntary cooperation between cavers and cave owners. The TCC supports the constitutional tight of private property ownership. Trespassing is not an acceptable activity. We support the position that the landowner owns the cave and all contents within the cave, and is the custodian of the cave life. We oppose the removal of cave formations, historical artifacts, 30 archaeological or paleontological remains, or biological resources without the written permission of the owner. Cave-related biological collections have become a highly controversial issue; therefore, all requests to collect in TCC-managed caves will be approved by TCC Board authority. We support the position that information obtained during a cave visit is of a proprietary nature, and that landowner permission must be obtained prior to its use. It is our goal to work with the cave owner to gather cave information so both parties can better understand and protect this valuable natural resource. We support recreational cave use, not abuse, where appropriate. TCC OFFICERS Mike Walsh, Pres. & ExecutiveDirector Mike Walsh, of Austin, started caving in 1967 at Southwest Texas State University (SWT). He held a number of offices within the SWT Grotto and the Texas Speleological Association. In 1972, he edited Mexican Caving of the South West Texas Grotto. In 1979, he was the co-chairman of the NSS Convention in New Braunfels. He is an NSS Fellow. In the mid-l980s, central Texas cavers recognized the need for a statewide cave management organization. In 1986, Robert Green, Mike Warton, and Mike Walsh assisted in the organization of the Texas Cave Management Association and became the initial directors. That same year, working with Lee-Stone and the City of Austin (COA) Parks Department, Walsh helped to organize the Regional Conference on Caves and Land Development. In 1987, he assisted in the creation of a cave task force for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). In 1989, he edited "A Proposed Cave Management Plan" for TPWD and organized the National Cave Management Symposium in. New Braunfels. Working with Mike Grimm in 1990, Walsh acquired the donation of Whirlpool Cave and surrounding land for TCMA. Under his direction, the land was developed as a cave preserve. Later that year, he edited and published "Devil's Sinkhole State Natural Area & Kickapoo Caverns State Park." In 1993, he worked with Jay Jorden and Carl Ponebshek to acquire Lost Oasis Cave and surrounding land, which was later developed as a cave preserve. In 1994, it became obvious that there was an increasing need for a professional organization -in Texas that could function effectively in the protection and management of caves. The Texas Cave Conservancy was thus organized in 1994 by Bob Finger, Sandi Moerbe, Stan Moerbe, Gary Napper, Jack Ralph, Mike Walsh, and others. Jack Ralph, Vice-President & Director Jack Ralph, of New Braunfels starte caving in 1972, while a student at SWT University. During his involvement with the SWT Grotto, he held several offices. He was Chairman of the TSA. In 1973, he graduated from SWT University I With a degree 10 Aquatic ,,,' .... .1 Biology. In 1978, he asI sisted in the NSS ';';;~-11"") Convention In New Braunfels. The same year, he recei ved his I I Masters in ...... ') I Chemical Lim-. 'i / ~ nology (water Ii studies). For the, past twenty years, Ralph has worked for TPWD. Currently, he is the Director ofTPWD'sFish and Wildlife Kills and Spills Team. While with the Texas Cave Management Association, he held several offices, including Treasurer, Director, and Executive Director. While holding the lattelf) office, the organization acquired Whirlpool and Lost Oasis caves. In 1994, he was involved in the creation of the TCC and has held the position ofYice-President since that time THE TEXAS CAVER


Gary Napper, Secretary-Treasurer: Gary Napper, of Austin, became intersted in caves as a boy in southern Indiana. While a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, he joined the Bloomington Indiana Grotto. During that time, he caved in southern Indiana, Kentucky, and the surrounding area. His frequent caving trips to the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia area promoted his interest in big caves. In the mid-1970s he moved to Austin to be closer to Mexico. After joining the University of Texas Grotto, he went on to serve two terms as Secretary of the TSA. He worked on the staff of the 1973 Indiana NSS Convention and on the staffofthe 1994 Texas NSS Convention. He is a TCMA life member, an NSS life member, cofounder of the TC;:C, and the Secretary since its inception. He graduated from Indiana University in 1971 with a degree in Spanish, and he has helped in translating Spanish anthropological and speleological materials for various publications. Bob Finger, Director Bob Finger, of Austin, became interested in organized cave exploration in 1969, hile a student at SWT. During that peiod, he visited numerous caves in Texas and Mexico. He was a member of both the SWT Grotto and the TSA. In addition to caving, he helped found the SWT Archaeology Club. He graduated in 1973, with an Industrial Technology Degree with a minor in Archaeology. Since that time, he has taught high school, worked as a computer programmer and as a land planner, For several years, he has worked as the Director of product design for Randolph of Austin. His wide range of work experience and interest in the protection of caves has proved invaluable to the TCe. TCC AD,lSoRS Rune Burnett Archaeology Nico Hauwert Hydrology George Huppert Cave Management Jim Kennedy Bats Albert Ogden Geology James Reddell Cave Biology Joel Stevenson Cave-related Law Mike Warton Cave Gates O.M. Wisdom Rancher Relations IllSTORY 1994 OCTOBER: The Texas Cave Conservancy founded in New Braunfels, Texas. The TCC develops and builds a small electronic monitoring device to monitor cave visitation. A second system can notify THE TEXAS CAVER MARCH/APRIL 2000 police upon unauthorized access. (This system will be installed in Beck Ranch Cave to assist in protection of the cave.) 1995 FEBRUARY: TCC hosts the TSA meeting in Campwood. TCC and the Campwood Chamber of Commerce sign a Memorandum of Agreement outlining their cooperation. This agreement led to over 500 caver visits to the Campwoodareain 1995. Assists the First Texas Bank of Georgetown in dealing with an endangered species cave, Texella Cave. Designs and builds the Oak Brook Karst Preserve for the RMD Development Company and Scott Fielder Homes. Thefouracre preserve includes over 1000 feet of wood mulch-lined trail, a picnic table, and educational kiosk, trash containers, a park bench, and six educational signs, The Texas Cave Conservancy is chartered by the Secretary of the State of Texas as a non-profit Texas Corporation on February 27 and obtains preliminary IRS recognition as a 50 l(c)3 corporation on February 28. MAY: TCC presents information on caves, cave life, and the aquifer to developers and government agencies at the San Marcos Karst Conference. JULY: An article on cave preserves and the TCC appears in the Austin Business Journal. TCC signs a contract with Liddiard Management for management of the Oak Brook Karst Preserve, including Rimrock Cave. OCTOBER: "Exploring Nueces Canyon Caves," an article outlining TCe involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, appears in Texas Highways 1996 APRIL: TCC proposes to manage Jollyville Plateau Cave and several other endangered species caves. MAY: TCC installs a parking area, picnic table, trails, and signage for the WebbShahan Cave Preserve at Alamo Village, BracketvilJe. Fourty-six cavers visit Alamo Village Cave, Webb Cave, Midnight Cave, and others. Submits proposal for an educational trail system for the Round Rock School District, including trail layout, park design, and cave management services, Beck Pride, Beck Bat, and Beck Horse Caves are among the ten caves owned by the district. Works with owners of Blowing Sink Cave to. prevent unauthorized visitation to the caves and to the property. Begins developing the preserve, installing a vehicle gate, parking area, picnic table, signage, and basic trail system connecting the four caves. Listed as a land trust organization in the TPWD Land Trust Directory. JULY: The Oak Brook Karst Preserve trail extended by 2000 feet under a contract between TCC and the Oak Brook Homeowner's Association. AUGUST: Signs a contract to manage the Oak Brook Karst Preserve extension. Designs and builds a boiler for fire ant control. This system can be carried into the field on our three-by-four-foot trailer that can be towed by a truck or by the TCC tractor. 1998 TCC attends a series of meetings with the City of Austin and Lumberman's Investment Corporation. TCC is listed as the organization of record to maintain and manage the surface areas of the Village of Western Oaks Karst Preserve, including Get Down and Millennium Caves. Management duties include maintenance of the cave gates, trails, educational kiosk and signs, trash cleanup and fire ant cont.rol. The Austin City Council placed the project on hold. OCTOBER: TCe performs fire ant control services for Sun City, Georgetown, Twentyfour endangered species caves are treated, Continued on p. 33 31


MARCHI APRIL 2000 Cave Management by Federal Agencies Aaron Addison Last year at the TSA Convention, I gave No development above or adjacent There are several criteria that may be used a short talk about cave management by govto caves will be undertaken which to decide whether or not a cave is "signifiern mental agencies. The talk focused on would significantly alter natural cave cant," all of which are beyond this discushow agencies go about managing caves on conditions including subsurface water sian. our public lands. This series of short articles movements. will hopefully give cavers an understandCaves, or portions of caves, may be ing of why the agencies do things this way. closed to public use or restricted to acIt is not meant to be an all-encompassing cess by conducted tours when such aclook at the day-to-day operation of the agentions are required for human safety and des, but rather a peek into what makes them the protection of cave resources. Caves, tick. or portions of caves, may be managed We'll take a look at four major agencies exclusively for research and access limwithin the Federal Government that manage ited to approved research personnel. caves and karst resources: the National Park The 1978 NPS-77 policy statement furService (NPS), the United States Forest Serther defines the role of cave managers and vice (USFS), the US Fish and Wildlife Serpublic access to cave resources. These povice (USFWS), and the Bureau of Land lices have undergone recent revisions and Management (BLM). Each of these agenadditions which will be available soon. des is quite different in their charter and operation. THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Let's start with the NPS. Created with the 1916 Organic Act by the US Congress, the NPS is directed: To conserve the natural scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will Leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. While the above statement covers most of the issues that a resource manager encounters, the NPS went on to address cave management specifically in 1978 with the following policy statement: The NPS will manage caves for the perpetuation of their natural, geological, and ecological conditions, and historic associations. Developments such as artificial entrances, enlargement of natural entrances, pathways, lighting, iruerpretive devices, ventilation systems and excavation of elevator shafts are permissible only where necessary for general public use when such development will not significantly alter any conditions perpetuating the natural cave environment or harm historic resources. General public access by tours of suitable duration and interest will be limited to a representative sample ofa cave. 32 / yo .1 o '0 t Q ..-'-'-'-'-'-'-', / ,,./ /,../.'" Visitation In addition to the above policies, the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act (FCRPA) of 1988 also provides direction. It is important to note that this legislation covers "cave resources" and not just caves. Sinkholes, pits, springs, and any plant/animal life within the cave are covered by the FCRPA of 1988. Also remember that the FCRPA of 1988 applies to federally-owned lands that fall under the care of the Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior, not just the NPS. Department of Defense lands do not fall under the definition of "Federal Lands" for the purposes of the FCRPA, and Indian Lands have special provisions. The FCRPA also states that only "significant caves" on the Federal Lands shall fall under the jurisdiction of the law. The NPS for example may consider all caves to be "significant," while the USFS does not. MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Early cave management techniques revolved around the central theory of "carrying capacity." Simply put, carrying capacity is the number of people a resource can accommodate before showing signs of degradation. To a large extent this management technique is still being used today in the form of permitting systems at NPS units nationwide. Unfortunately, managers are finding that they may be asking the wrong question. Caves are generally slow-fanning and, as such, do not have the ability to repair damage on their own in a timely manner. For example, a cave manager detennines that a particular cave has the ability to provide a quality recreational experience for 1000 caver before being degraded. The cave h more of a "limit" rather than a carrying capacity. All things being equal, does it really matter if the visitation of those 1000 cavers is over one year or ten years? Not really, because in the end, the result is the same. The resource has reached its carrying capacity (limit) and has 110 natural ability to repair itself. Once the resource is degraded then the resource manager has failed on one of the NPS original charters of ... unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. If the manager answers simply "The cave is closed," then the cave resource is not being provided for the "enjoyment" of the present generation. The manager must somehow find the middle ground for the enjoyment of the resource. Research at several sites is suggesting that the behavior of people and not the numbers of people is the underlying reason for cave resource degradation. One usable resource management technique that addresses this problem is the Limits of Accept''I\ able Change (LAC) planning system. As !!!II McCool (1996) states, the question is no longer, "How many is too many?" but rather, "What resource and social conditions are appropriate (or acceptable) and how do we T/1e TeXAS CAVeR


attain those conditions?" It's not too difficult for most people to nderstand that a couple of cavers with baseball bats and spray paint can easily impact a cave resource more than a group of 20 cavers moving single file through the same cave and staying on the trail. Under this scenario it doesn't really matter how many permits were issued, or what the maximum group size was. This is why rules must accompany any permit system. In fact, if implemented correctly, it may be possible to delay the "limit" indefinitely as suggested by the graph. The next major problem facing resource managers is how to measure the change (degradation) of the resource. If resource managers don't know the condition of the resource to begin with, it is very difficult to see and measure the changes over time. Resource managers must first collect baseline data from the cave resources they are managing so that there exists a record against which to measure future degradation. This is a very time-consuming process and often leads to the closure of new ,aves, or portions of caves, until such time s the data can be collected. Once the data are collected, the cave resources are classified into different management units, and monitoring must be done at regular intervals so that, hopefully, any degradation of the resource is detected at an early stage and can be addressed" Managing caves and karst resources for the NPS is a very challenging and complex task. Not only are all of the recreational aspects difficult, but managers must also factor in biological, geological, paleontological, and hydrological factors, and the Jist goes on. External factors such as local community and political pressures also come into play at several NPS units, further complicating the task. Watch for future articles on other agencies and methodologies. LITERATURE CITED McCool, S.F. 1996. Limits of Acceptable Change: A Framework for Managing National. Protected Areas: Experiences from the United States. Unpub. ~orkshoP paper. The University of Montana National Park Service. 1978. Management Policies. u.s. Department of lnteriorNPS-77. pp.21-22. THEI/iXASCAVER MARCH/APRTL2000 Continued from p. 31 and a 96% kill rate is achieved on the mounds using a steam and boiling water treatment. A 100% kill is achieved upon second treatment. TCC performs the same service for the Department of Defense at Fort Hood. With a total of 661 mounds treated around 10 caves, a 100% kill rate is achieved. The fire ant control equipment built by TCC has proved highly successful in these rough field areas. 1999 MARCH: TCC enters into an agreement with the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District (MUD) to assist in the management of their ten caves, seven of which are endangered species caves. Beck Ranch, Broken Zipper, Beck Rattlesnake, and O'Connor Caves are owned by tlie MUD in Round Rock. OCTOBER: TCC obtains a Conservation Easement from the Brushy Creek MUD oa ten caves including Beck Ranch Cave. TCC plans to assist the Brushy Creek MUD in the development and building of an educational trail system with an emphasis on caves and cave life. TCC builds a nine-foot high, quality iron fence around the Beck Ranch Cave for the Brushy Creek MUD. Signs and other preserve features are installed. TCC starts an ongoing project at Beck Ranch Cave. This will include a new survey, cave restoration, preserve development, and a study of the cave Life. 2000 JANUARY: The Texas Cave Conservancy has over 75 Associates. After five years of work by a number of cavers, things are starting to come together for the TCe. We plan to start a TCC newsletter this year. With over 75 Associates, we see great things ahead. We need your support in order meet our goals of cave protection. Regular Associate status is $25 per year. Lifetime Associate status is $250. The TCC has a unique method for a caver to join our organization: Send $5 to the TCC and donate 40 hours to TCC projects to earn Lifetime Associate status. During the work period, the caver wiJl be listed as an Associate. Your physical support is more valuable to the TCC than money. Thank you. TEXAS CAVE CONSERVANCY Post Office Box 153034 Austin, Texas 78715 5124622507 Mike Walsh at the entrance of Beck Ranch Cave. Photo by .Joe Ivy 33


MARCH/APRIL2000 r PROJECT REPORT Government Canyon Marvin Miller Since my last report on the Government Canyon Karst Survey for The Texas Caver in June of '98, I have spent six months in Germany from November '98 to May '99and came within two weeks of being sent to Israel for another four months. After the cancellation of the Israel trip, I restarted the project with a trip in August. This report covers the notable events in the project from July 1998 through the end of 1999. In September 1998, Jimmy Dreiss, Charles Cruz, Lisa Miller, and I finished the dig at O'Reilly's Pothole. This dig had been worked on over a total of four previous trips and was almost given up on about as many times. It finally opened into a small, low-ceilinged room that I had to trench through just to get in far enough to get a good survey shot. At least it was easy digging. The cave mapped out to 17 meters long and about three-and-a-half meters deep. In October 1998, Aaron Miller and I surveyed as much of Lucky Hat Cave as we could get into. The hole in the creekbed is just large enough for a small-sized chest and torso to squeeze through. It opens up inside to a narrow crack approximately half-ameter wide and about two meters long. At the east end of the crack, a narrow passage slopes downward at a 20-degree angle for five meters to where it opens into the top of a pit. The pit starts out at approximately one and a half meters by three-quarters of a meter but quickly funnels to a constriction too small for passage, after which it can be seen to open up again. At the opposite side of the pit, the passage continues straight ahead and also forks 90 degrees to the right. The passage to the right ramps down and then back on itself to intersect the previous pit 34 below the constriction. The pit is free-climbable and is almost seven meters deep from the climb-down entrance. In the floor at the south wall of the pit is a second drop of three and a half meters to a soft soil floor. Several different corporations and agencies, public and private, contributed to the purchase of the property. Also involved in the deal were the politics of endangered species and development. In December 1998, Bone Pile Cave G"",,,,,,,,", Un,.. 'W< N, .. ", Am. IlnuCo,,')'. T .... =a ~_ ~~ 5.~ ."... ............. ... ""' ... ~I .. ~I .. 'n .. ~ .;_ 0 ~-.E.'I'". of 0~~':. -7 L -- L.~.nd '.:' ~.-cp> '"C,,"~ ',' =' 0\llI> ""' .. <:b ........ wn ., E~'IOPO .. .,,,1,,,,'''.. I.!I ""1" ...... """.m @ o~""'" .... .,... .>+~.~. This is the bottom of the cave so far. At the top of the pit, the straight-ahead passage goes for only about two meters before encountering another pit. This entrance, however, requires some enlargement before a person with even a small chest will fit. This pit is probably a close twin to the first one. They share a common wall and even some small windows between them. There is some slight airflow in the cave. A significant event in the hi story of Government Canyon State Natural Area occurred in the first half of 1999 with the acquisition of more than 600 acres. This addition is commonly known as the Davis Ranch. several troglobitic species found in Government Canyon caves were proposed by the Department of the Interior for listing as endangered species. As a part of the agreement to put the Davis Ranch deal together, TPWD was required to hire an environmental consulting firm to do the initial karst surface survey of the area with the goal of finding additional populations of the proposed species. The survey was done in June and July 1999. As it turned out, the consulting firm underestimated the size of the task and completed only a partial survey, finding two caves in the process, along with several sinks and other features. Deirdre Hisler, the Natural Area Manager, in order to help with the politics of the whole deal, wanted us to dedicate our efforts on the new Davis Ranch area until that portion of the survey was complete. So far we have done three project trip to this area, concentrating on surveying the two new caves and on ridge-walking. On August 7, Jimmy Dreiss, Julia Germany, Eric Holmback, George Kegley, Jim Kennedy, and I completed the survey of 10K Tue TEXAS CAVER


Cave. The half-meter diameter entrance is in e floor of a drainage. The first drop is freeIimbable and ends at a rock and dirt slope six meters down. A passage opens in the north wall at floor level and drops immediately into a second pit approximately three meters in diameter and nine meters deep. This pit requires a rope. It is nicely decorated with flowstone, stalactites, and really cool cave coral. From the bottom of the pit the passage continues down a t h r e ev m e t e r drop to the bottom of the cave. From there it goes back up bout three meters over a f1owstone ramp to a small dome room almost big enough to get into and turn around in. The Flowstone in 10K Cave flowstone ramp, the small dome room, and the bottom of the cave are thickly covered with organic debris. From all appearances the cave doesn't drain very quickly and probably back-floods Jimmy Dreiss at entrance to 10K Cave MARCHIAPRIL2tlOO $~ ....,."","' ... ~-".,"" fairly high. One intriguing feature at the bottom is a vertical crack starting at floor level and about one-and-a-half meters high. During our visit it blew a good amount of air, but the flow was somewhat intermittent. The crack went in about 1..2 meters at 0.1 to 0.2 meters wide and turned a corner. It would take a lot of effort to open up. The floor of the cave in this area consists of loose rock and, considering the airflow in the crack, might be a good dig project. We also noted a lot of biological activity in tbe cave, spying 18 different species while doing the survey. 10K Cave takes its name from the amount of money it took to find it. Ten thousand dollars was the approximate fee for the initial surface survey conducted by the consulting firm. During the next trip, on September 25, Howard Haddock led a team offellow Aggies and two Explorer Scout members to survey Fobia Cave the second one discovered during the consulting firm's survey. The only GOVEA~~~~~A~~~Jn:,\E~~"AAEA e v i den ce co n cern i n g the cave's location was an "x" on the topo map. However, it was shown to be in a prominent drainage at the north end of the property, and they apparently did not have much trouble finding it. Once there, Howard handled the sketch while Julie Sandefur and John Magill undertook tape and instrument duties. The two scouts, ---- SURE SINK CAVE Campa.1 Ind TIp, SU"IIY 7 Decemb'" \996 Aim,~ BeV6r/d!J~. Jim Ke"ned~ David 'fume, Kyle Tum",. and M~redi'h Turner b'/~~;l:.~~~IY mer",. THE TeXAS CAVEN. ,. Stephanie Stahn and Alexis Gernsbacher, assisted and learned about caves. The cave turned out to be very small with a four-meter drop to approximately seven meters of passage at the bottom. During the same trip, teams of ridge-walkers found a total of eight new karst features, at least three of which look like promising digs Trips to the Canyon will continue about once per month, with one or two weekend clays being scheduled, depending on interest. Camping is always available, and the campground for volunteers is nicely secluded but close to the volunteer headquarters, toilet facilities, and an outdoor shower. One Saturday spent for the project can be rewarded by having the following Sunday free to do some recreational caving, biking, or hiking if one so desires. Trip dates are announced on CaveTex and through a project e-mail list. [f you would like to be on the list, drop me a line at or call me at (830) 8855631.1 would suggest that all Grotto newsletter editors be on the e-mail list, so the info on trips can get out to as many interested people as possible. Photos by the author. ~. ~ j~ .' I '~,J. k, I .. Jim Kennedy coming up second drop in 10K Cave 35


MARCHI APRlL 2000 PROJECT REPORT Dale Barnard We had another great turnout for the project the weekend of 12-14 November 1999. The new cave database is improving Colorado Bend Team 4: Randy Brown, Roberta Snider, and Jim Kennedy entered Be Excellent (SAB217), determined to dive the sump. They experienced immediate bad air (lighter wouldn't light). Then they went back up to the dig at BE519, also known as 511 and dug and surveyed for three more stations to 51L where they had to stop at another really laborious mud dig that did not look promising. They exited looking like they were mummified in mud. Randy pointed out a potential safety issue with a large, loose rock in the entrance. Randy will return to the cave to stabilize the entrance before anyone else enters. Team 5: Wayne Peplinski Kate Moore, Nate Snee Dan Dennison, and Travis Rhea explored SAB189 for signs of prior activity. They wrote a biological description and bone count and checked air quality (bad!). 17 stations and one loop before returning to They plan to continue exploring karst feacamp. Will reports that Lower Cave will retures northwest of here. quire several more trips due to the complexTeam 6: Dale Barnard, Chris Sobin, Chris ity of the cave. Hall, RD. Milhollin, Dave Gers, Brian Gaas, Team 3: Jessica Snider, Jack Johnson, and Jiyoung Cha hiked from camp toward Vu Dang, Mike Rutland, Leigh Bradford, Paul the red gate, locating several features along Matthews, Matthew Huffman, Thomas Marthe way, taking GPS readings. They relotin, and Daniel r .., Gillham complete CRIPPLED DEER CA VE cave descriptions a SAB201 SAB189, SAB218, Colorado Bend State Park and Good 'n Tigh 'J.JJit (SAB283), where ~(~~ 1m they tried to push th ~ water passage in the ~~"' 1 /.~:s. Om back, but they said '(;,k 1m that it was 118%.J .J ~\' \:2m unpassable. The San II' Y Marcos team has y been assigned the ongoing project of describing every cay in the Lost Petzl System. through, finding good air in all but the lower levels. They surveyed from the SAB079 tag that Will placed on a nearby tree. They set RICOTTA RAZOR RIFT SABIB5 Colorado Bend State Park Surveyed February 13, 1999 t.ength: 87.26 m. DePth: 17.24m. Drafiby: Jeny Fant -.,.dby' UndiLPalit" GeorgeVeni Robert Albach organization and allowing us to handle large turnouts. The weather was perfect, perhaps even a little hot during midday on Saturday, and the food around camp was amazing. Everyone had a great time, and an enormous amount of work was accomplished. One of the nice new aspects of the project is the addition of several GPS units, allowing us to better document even minor karst features. Team 1: Kevin Stafford, Andy Grubbs, Jonathan Wilson, and Felicia Wilson continued the survey of Nila's Very First Cave (SAB254) from the previous point, adding 10 stations and 25 meters of passage through acrawlway. They encountered very bad air and were forced to ex.i t. Team 2: Will Harris, Paul Atkinson, Robert Atkinson, Susan Atkinson, Helen Atkinson, and Ed Sevcik went to Lower Cave (SAB079) and took a GPS reading. Ed, Susan, and Helen then left to go GPS some other locations. Will, Paul, and Robert entered Lower Cave and did a quick run36 Surveyed by: Derek Nash, DebbIe Blackburn, Chad Tywater, Babe Wigswander,Byron Eigler SABZOI and SABZOZ surv~yed November 9, 1996 3m 4m Depth Z. 7 meters THE TEXAS CAVER


The Aggies at the entrance to A.5.S. Hole. Photo by Terry Holsinger MARCHlAPRlL2000 cated Grand Cedar Cave (SAB 292) and opened the entrance a little. R.D., Chris, and Dale squeezed in the tight entrance and surveyed up to a nine-meter drop that will require rope. They left a station flagged, so the survey can be easily resumed next month with rope in hand. Chris and Chris wrote a description of the explored areas of the cave. They also relocated Elmo's Hole (SAB252), so that Chris Sobin could confirm that it is the same Elmo's Hole that he remembered. Brian squeezed in and found better air than last month when Debbie Blackburn entered. This cave needs to be surveyed by very skinny people. On the hike back, they found a nice, unmarked pit five meters deep. It appears to be a new cave, although it shows little potential of going very far. COW BONE CAVE SAB202 Colorado Bend State Park 1m Depth 3.3 meters Om 1m 2m 3m 4m Surveyed by: Derek Nash, Debbie Blackburn, Chad Tywater, Babe Wigswander, Byron Eigler flood lead down for small people TSS Photo Archives Caption Contest Sponsored by Gonzo Guano Gear Well, we got a few good responses to tbe first TSS Photo Archives Caption Contest. The winner is Stephen Fleming. He says, "By the way, that is a photo of MY arm. Taken at Devil's Sinkhole around 1971 -71. Most likely taken by Keith Heuss, but it might have been a Dale Pate photo. The Goldline spin was fun." Stephen wins a $10 gift certificate from Gonzo Guano Gear. This would be a lot harder in a cave where I couldn't see what r was doing. THE TEXAS CAVER If you've got a funny caption for the picture above, send your entry by the end of May to The Texas Caver or 11916 Bluebonnet, Manchaca, TX 78652. The winner wiJl receive a $10 gift certificate from Gonzo Guano Gear. 37


MARCH/APRIL2000 BUDGET CAVER )~ Coronado's Children Dale Pate 1. Frank Dobie was a writer who used eloquent sentences to fire the imagination of everyone who has read his books. He listened to the tales told around campfires and wrote of what he heard. In his book Coronado's Children, Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of the South.west, published in 1930, Dobie weaves his magic around the tales of lost and buried treasures. From Spanish mine workings to Indian caves full of silver and gold to frontier settlers finding caves of silver, Texas caves figure prominently in many of these tales. None are more famous than the tale of the Lost San Saba Mine. In this book Dobie passes these myths and legends on to future generations and in the process preserves a portion of Texas history. SPANJSH TREASURES In February 1756, Don Bernardo de .Miranda, Lieutenant General of the Province of Texas, set out from San Antonio to investigate rumors of the mineral riches of the San Saba area. Don Bernardo reached Cerro del Almagre, a large hill named for its red color. He found a cave opening into the hillside that he named Cave of St. Joseph of Alcasar. Prospecting on the hill and inside the cave gave good results for silver. By 1757, a presidio named San Luis de las Amarillas was established on the north bank ofthe San Saba River, 60 miles northwest of Cerro del Almagre. It was rumored that this presidio had been established to protect the vast mining operations, though it was probably used as a buffer against the Comanches. The presidio was in use for twelve years and was abandoned in 1769. These ruins are still visible about one mile west of Menard. A smelter was supposedly built at San Luis de las Amarillas, and ruUsing a divining rod, an old prospector, two young Englishmen, and Gordon came upon a cave while looking for treasure. With ropes, picks, crowbars, and shovels, the four lowered themselves into the cave that appeared to have been partially filled with rocks. It was thought that a cedar fire had ignited bat gnano in the cave and that the heat had can sed rocks to crack and fall off the ceiling. The four of them removed all the rocks, but found only a solid bedrock floor and n silver. Yet another story of the Lost San Saba Mine goes as follows. A man named Dixon settled on the San Marcos River near the present town of San Marcos in 1830. An old Indian told Dixon that he could lead him to a cave in the San Saba River valley that was full of silver. On a trip to do just that, the two of them got within the area of the cave but because of a battle between the Comanche and the Apache, the old Indian could only point out the area where the cave was to be found. Returning to San Marcos, Dixon talked to Sam Fleming, G.B. Ezell, and Wiley Stroud about the cave. About this time also, Dixon traveled to Monclova, Mexico to look for information concerning the silver workings around the old presidio of San Luis de las Amari lIas. No records were available to Dixon, but he was able to convince the daughter of a friend to secretly copy any records she could find. In 1858 she met Dixo~.1i\\ 111 San Antonio and claimed to have foun-:(.4'I1 evidence concerning 14 mines around ~e old presidio. The richest of these was amIDe called Las Iguanas. Supposedly in the bottom of the shaft were 2,000 bars of silver mors abound about nearby silver workings. TALES OF THE LOST SAN SABA MINE The first chapter of Dobie's book is devoted entirely to the Lost San Saba Mine, also known as the Lost Bowie Mine. In the many tales that have been handed down The ruins of the San Luis de las Amarillas presidio. Photo by Dale Pate. about this treasure trove, sometimes it is mentioned as a cave and sometimes as a mine. One of the earliest tales is from 1831, when Jim Bowie, his brother Rezin, and nine others set OUI to find the Lost San Saba Mine. On November 21, a large group of hostile Indians attacked their camp. Rezin Bowie claimed that this battle occurred six miles east of the old presidio in an area now known as Jackson's Creek. During these attacks, one was killed and three others were wounded. While waiting for the wounded to recover sufficiently to travel, some of the party found a cave near camp. Some say that Lipan Indians showed the Bowies a cave where a large amount of pure silver had been secreted by the Spainards after they molded the silver into bars. It is speculated that the Comanches had forced the Spainards to abandon their silver bullion. Another tale began in 1881, when Captain George Keith Gordon had moved into the area. From the old presidio, a road led south. It became known as the Silver Trail. THE TEXAS CAvER 38


1 t weighing fifty pounds each. Among the .ems she gave to Dixon was a map that sup~osedly led to this rich mine. Before the San Marcos group could return to the area, the Civil War broke out and put a hold on the treasure seeker's plans. It wasn't until 1868 that thefour and several of their sons returned, this time to a dry creek that emptied into the San Saba River that became known as Silver Creek. Following the directions from the material gathered in Monclova, the group found broken metates and copper pegs and felt they were very close to the discovery of the treasure. Accardi ng to the information, a shaft would have to be opened for sixty feet straight down. From there, a complicated tunnel that twisted in ariOUS directions \' n several levels would have to be cleared out before the "store room" of 2,000 bars of silver could be found. Silver was not discovered on this trip and a number of others have searched the area on Silver Creek with no results either. (Author's note: This may be the beginnings of the legend behind the incredible amount of excavation that has been done in Silver Mine, a natural cave in the bed of Silver Creek. Silver Mine is an upstream segment of the Powells Cave System.) OTHER CAVES Pebbles of Silver There are several other stories of caves and treasures that Dobie mentions in his book. On page 26, one of these stories is of W. A. Daniel and his harrowing experience when he was captured by Comanches as a kid soon after tbe Civil War. The Comanches blindfolded Daniel and rode all afternoon and into the night. Finally, they stopped, and he was told to sleep. When they awoke the next morning, he found that they were in a cave. He observed that the Comanches were picking up gravel from the cave and melting it, molding the gravel into bullets. Curious, he picked MARCHI APRIL 2000 up several pebbles and pocketed them. They stayed in the cave for three days and nights. On the last night, the Comanches pulled out a jug of "firewater" and proceeded to get drunk. Seeing his opportunity, Daniel waited until the Comanches passed out, made his way outside, found a horse, and escaped. The pebbles when tested proved to be silver with some gold and lead in them also. Dobie speculates that the cave could not be farther than 50 miles from the town of Burnet. angle and then appeared to become a horizontal tunnel. The walls were reflecting the sun's rays. Using his lariat, he lowered himself into the cave. He saw that "the walls were lined with silver ore that was almost pure." He quickly climbed out of the cave and headed to camp with his slory. The chase for the Comanches continued. Before Beasley conld return, be married and settled a few miles below the mouth of the San Saba River. Of course, he was never able to find the cave again. Monterrey LootOn page 195, Dobie tells an amazing story. it seems that in 1879, a detachment of 100 troops from Ft. Davis were ambushed in the Van Horn Valley by a group of American and Mexican bandits. All but one trooper was killed, and provisions, ammunition, and 25 mules were stolen. The bandits then beaded for Mexico where, a day's ride south of the Presidio del Norte, they loaded guano from the immense bat caves found there onto the mules. Then, posing as traders, the bandits proceeded to Monterrey, Mexico, where they sold the guano. While in Monterrey, some of the bandits lured 12 of the guards from the Monterrey Mint to their camp, where they were slaughtered while tbe rest of the bandits looted the mint and the smelter and sacked the nearby cathedral. Loading the loot onto the mules, the bandits headed north towards EI Muerto Springs in Jeff Davis County, Texas. Meanwhile, Mexican troops from Monclova were sent to the Presidio del Norte expecting to intercept the bandits. Anticipating this maneuver, the bandits crossed the Rio Grande at tbe mouth of Reagan Canyon, 200 miles downstream. This caused the Mexican soldiers to lose a week in their pursuit of the bandits. North of Reagan Canyon, the American bandits murdered all hut one of the Mexican bandits. During this fight, one of the American bandits, Zwing Hunt, was severely Continued on p. 41 t ; Mark Minton descends into the Silver Mine entrance. Photo by Dale Pate THE TEXAS CAVER Icicles of Silver On page 29 another story starts about a man named Johnson who was a Texas Ranger in the 1850s. His band of rangers ran across a party of Indians west of the Colorado River. In the ensuing struggle, the rangers captured one who turned out to be a Mexican who had been captured as a child. The Mexican led Johnson to a place where there was a slanting hole. Peering in, Johnson saw what appeared to be "icicles of silver" hanging from the ceiling like stalactites. Johnson never returned to the cave to claim the "silver." Beasleys Cavern On page 30, a story similar to the one above is mentioned. Evidently, a young man named Beasley lived in Lampasas. After a Comanche raid, he traveled with a band of settlers in pursuit. They crossed to the west side of the Colorado River. After his horse had wandered away from a camp, he went looking for it. Beasley found a cave during this excursion on the side of a rocky draw. This cave faced east and the rising sun shone directly into it. For 15 to 20 feet, the hole sloped down at a steep 39


MARCH/APRIL 2000 Carlsbad Caverns Rae Nadler-Olenick This year Walt and I again volunteered for the Cave Research Foundation's annual Thanksgiving restoration project at Carlsbad Caverns-Jured by the beauty of the spot, convenience, and great memories of last season's frenetic, jampacked festivities. It proved an equally rewarding-though very different---experience. Fi rst, there was the weather. We drove to New Mexico Wednesday in the bitter grip of a menacing Arctic front. And while the threatened 20s lows didn't materialize, and it warmed up nicely, temperatures never approached the mind-boggling springlike balminess of J 998. The real difference, however, was in size and cast of characters. The 1999 project was a lot smaller than previous years, and it didn't draw many returnees. Absent were previous guiding spirits Barbe Barker and Lois Lyles-both of whom had opted out for family holidays, Jennie McDonough led the group of ten. That was less than half Jast year's number. Participants came from four states: Texas (Rosanne Larson, Rae Nadler-Olenick, Walter Olenick, Joe Ranzau); New Mexico (McDonough, Phyllis Boneau, Sam Bono); Missouri (Brad Blackburn, Richard Young); and Arizona (Patrick Cicero); with Sam being the only other 1998 carryover, Two familiar Park faces: Dale Pate and wife Paula Bauer-e-on vacation in Indiana-were likewise missing, but Jason Richards and Stan Addison stood ready to provide rangerly guidance. Most everyone arrived on Wednesday night. Thursday morning, Research Cabin A resounded with the usual cacophony: "Who's going to the Guadalupe Room?" .. "Anything doing at Lake of the Clouds?" "How long do you leave a turkey in the oven?" ... "Gee, r don't know, I've never cooked one before." ... "In a bag or without Dinner (turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, By 10AM,culinarydiJembaked potatoes, mashed potatoes, acorn mas had been resolved and squash, salad, four-bean salad, rolls, pumpwork assignments handed kin pie, sweet potato pie, ice cream, and way, out. One team would clean way too much cranberry sauce) was both flowstone in the Guadalupe abundant and tasty. And there was room for Room, while two others tackeverybody to sit down at the table! Everyled smaller projects in the body at once, including Susan Herpin, a park Lower Cave. employee drop-in. The evening was further Since both of us were eaenlivened by Rosanne's large battery-powger to see the Guadalupe ered toy bat whose flashing red LED eyes Room for the first time, we and "soothingly" flapping wings as it joined Sam and Jenny-all swung in wide circles from the ceiling enterarmed with portable buckets, tained us until some spoil-sport proclaimed, sponges, spray bottles, and "Enough!" agua sox. The trip there, an Sam and Phyllis hath left Thursday energetic two-hour trek from evening. Next morning, with our number rethe natural entrance involvduced to eight, we regrouped into just two ing a crawl, plenty of upandteams. Jennie, Brad, Pat and Richard headed down across sporadically to the Guadalupe Room to continue the predecorated boneyard, and at vious day's work. Advancing deeper inside, least one dicey long slope, was rewarded they got to see The Canary, a bird-shape by the sight of a vast room with broad exyellow calcite formation we had stopped jus panses offlowstone and drapery. There, takshort of. Walt, Rosanne, Joe, and I proing the righthand turn, we broke out the ceeded to the Lower Cave, where the trails aqua sox and proceded with continuation needed re-flagging. At the Large Loop, we of the cleaning of a flowstone slope begun broke into twos, working in parallel on opby some prior crew, which posite sides to replace had conveniently left some old and brittle tape. (At of their own supplies behind. one point, pausing in Two and a half hours later, the shadows to escape with the aqua sox zone exnotice by a tour group tended downward by some behind us, we over20 feet, we retraced our steps. heard the ranger-guide Back at the cabins, othpraising our just-comers shared news of their own pleted work). We linactivities in the Lower Cave. gered for a brief photo Brad, Pat, and Richard had session in the National cleaned flowstone trail near Geographic Pit, then The Rookery-a splended proceeded to a C011vearea in which thousands of nient stopping off point snowy white cave pearls before calling it a day. cluster in little nestlike h01Friday evening's relows-and also worked on past of Thanksgiving lily pads outside the trail on formation. Photo by Walt Olenick leftovers was followed the way to their approved dumpsite. Phyllis, bya visit from ranger Stan's wife Gosia, who Joe, and Rosanne had concentrated on the challenged us to guess her country of oripool area alongside the exit part of the trail, gin (Poland) and regaled us with tales of he removing mud from the pool's edge and takadventures in Belize-on the Tom Miller/ ing measures to curb future silt deposition. National Geographic trip to Chiquibul The turkey was welJ along by this time, and Caves last May and later amid the ruins of a frenzy of cooking in progress. Carocol. She brought along her Peruvian a bag ... T' Rae Nadler-Olenick on the Lower Cave Trail. Photo by W. Olenick 40 THE TEXAS CAVER


guinea pig, dubbed Big Pigowski, a winArne, long-haired, sad-eyed creature that ~eed on a hand towel specially provided. Next, the conversation turned to famous Stupid Caver Parlor Tricks. There was much talk of the Chair Trick, the Coat Hanger Trick, the Beer Bottle Trick, and the Table Trick, but only one attempt: Pat Cicero demonstrated that he can almost, hut not quite, drape his lanky body all the way around a picnic tahle without touching the floor. Day Three was a time of completion. Pat, Rosanne, and Richard wrapped up restoration work in the Gradalupe Room, clearing another 12 feet of mud from the slope and extending the aqua sox region all the way to the floor. The rest of us continued with the reflagging of the Lower Cave trail. Again, we broke into two teams: one went clockwise, one counter-clockwise. The plan was to eventually meet, though it didn't quite happen that way. Walt and I moved in the counterclockwise direction over large rocks and then along smooth passageway, a place of bat bones (and one complete, mummified t) and small, decorated sideshows. After veral hours, we took a break in the LunchMARCHIAPRIL2000 room. On returning 45 minutes or so later, we found a note from Jennie, Joe, and Brad. 'lL Rosanne Larson & Walt Olenick lay tape along Lower Cave Trail. Photo by Rae Nadler-Olenick They'd run out of tape near the register and departed the area-just missing us, or vice versa, by minutes. We resumed our own work until we, too, had consumed all our tape, still some yards short of where they left off. (Over the two days, a total of more than 60 rolls-all the Park personnel had on hand-got used up.) Before leaving the cave ourselves, we made a short side trip along the Small Loop to take pictures of some of the area's outstanding decorations. The traditional Saturday night dinner at Lucy's was more subdued than usual, lacking both the numbers and personalities necessary for a good food fight. But spirited discussion broke out around such worthy topics as antenna design and smelly cave sleepwear, and the camaraderie continued back at the cabins late into the night. Next morning seven of us gathered at the Tourist Center cafeteria for breakfast. The advantage of a small group was particularly apparent as we sat around a single table grabbing photo-ops between bites of food and snatches of conversation .. We all knew each other; most of us had had a chance to work together, too. Jenniewho'd been recruited to head the expedition at practically the last minute-had made a good job of it. Hopefully, some lasting new ties had been forged. As for Walt and me, we're already up for next year, no matter who or how many are there. Afterward we returned to the cabins to finish cleaning, and to distribute the leftover food (still heaps of it) among hungry rangers. It was noon when we finally climbed into the BRAT and headed home, driving off, under sunny skies, into the southwestern landscape we both love. Continued from p. 39 wounded. Hunt's companions put him in a cave and buried the plundered Monterrey loot within sight of the cave. They provided Hunt with a supply of food and headed deeper into the mountains. A couple of weeks later, the American bandits returned for Hunt. He told of the Mexican soldiers finding the bodies of the Mexican bandits, and upon finding no loot, returned to Mexico. The Americans then dug up the loot and headed for EI Paso. At a later time, evidently, a man named Bill Cole located the cave where Hunt stayed to recuperate and found an old gun in it. Rattlesnake Cave on the Pecos The last story concerning caves is found on page 244. Southeast of Castle Gap, the Chihuahua Trail followed up the Devil's River and left it at Beaver Lake to run alongside Dry Draw, crossing over the divide to the Pecos River. Somewhere along Dry Draw is Rattlesnake Cave. One day a 16-year-old Mexican .as herding sheep when he discovered a cave. The entrance was small, but he wiggled into it. In the cave he lit a sotol stalk, which made an excellent torch, and continued on. He heard a ratrle, and in front of him THE TEXAS CAVER was a large rattlesnake. Other rattlesnakes nearby also began rattling. As the boy began backing out, his foot kicked some rocks. Picking several up, he threw one at a snake and hurried out. Outside, he found he was still carrying one of the rocks; he noticed it was heavy, and so he put it into his pack. Several days later, he traveled to Ozona where he took his rock to the bank. The rock turned out to be a mixture of gold and silver. The boy would not talk of where he found the rock. A short time later the boy was shot and killed, and Ranger Neal Russell was called in to investigate. One story tells of a cowboy who discovered a cave in the area but found only a large stack of rotten buffalo hides. Another tells of one of the ranch hands finding a cave full of rattlesnakes, so he put a stick of dynamite into the cave and "blowed it up." SUMMARY Caves have figured prominently in the myths and legends from early Texas history. In his book, Coronado's Children, Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of the Southwest, J. Frank Dobie has brought these legends to life. In the case of the Lost San Saba Mine, he captured the imagination of several generations of treasure seekers. Despite Indian problems and the hard I ife of the Texas pioneers, caves from the early days have been associated with treasures. As these pioneers and settlers moved into new areas, they naturally found some of the caves. And naturally, they felt they held great treasures. There may be simple solutions to some of these stories, such as "Icicles of Silver" and Beasley's Cavern. The sun shining into a cave with wet, moist walls will sparkle and shine with a beautiful silver cast, yet it is only water that coats the walls. Apioneer's only experience with caves was through the stories he heard. It had to be a great treasure that coated those walls. The other tales of pebbles and rocks from caves made of gold and silver all add to the myths and legends. Caves were places where bandits could hide their plundered loot and that just added more stories to the mystery of caves and the treasures they may hold. As many of us know today, the caves themselves are the real treasures. 41


42 THE: T£XAS CAVEll MARCH/APRTL2000 TRIP REPORT ~ Hoya de las Guaguas Terri Whitfield, with special thanks to Bill Mixon & Don Broussard .. .. Three Mexicans jumped out of a beatDruid, and James Lopez, was expected any flung the Bronco Into the oncorrung traffic up old sport coupe and started fanning minute. As we waited, the wind kicked up and maneuvered over to the San Fernando flames with their and the temperatum-off. Wefollowed, mimicking Rune's brajackets. When ture cooled, as vado, carving slots in between the hurtling they popped the eight o'clock apMexican truckers, and safely negotiated El hood, flames leapt proached. We still Retorno. We were on our wayan the road up five feet into the had a long way to to San Fernando. air from the engine. drive, and we In San Fernando, the EI Granero Grill is Rene Shields, wanted to get to on the left, just before the red light where Marcus Barksdale, theEiGraneroGrill the main road comes in. There is a full bar, and I watched, in San Fernando in lively music, and great flan, the best flan mildly entertained, time to eat dinner there is, according to Rene. We had a leias they fanned and before heading on surely dinner, took photos, had beers, flan, flapped for a quarto the Rio Corona. and coffee, and then headed on to the Rio tel' of an hour, until Shortly after eight, Corona to camp for the night. Anyone who the little red sport someone spotted has camped too near the bridge there and coupe sat dark and the big blue rope stayed awake all night will want to know the sooty, blocking the bag that was tied current status of the hole. There is an enoroncoming traffic at on top of an onmous, Suburban-eating mud hole that somethe Pharr Intemacoming vehicle, times stretches the width of the road. Untional Bridge. As which we recogfortunately, the much-preferred camping the excitement nized as Ernie's. spot, which is away from the constant clam li died down, the ,~~ W After milling of traffic crossing the bridge, is on theoth ~ charred little car S '.c' >; ~ .;~, )I?olal around for a few side of this hole. It sometimes looks passwas pushed down. r'" -: ~'~. ~$ ~ t. minutes, we able late at night, but, unless one of the vethe lane and off to f;~ I:~, .'fif!il I?~ hopped back into hides with you has a winch with which to one side, leaving a ~~Ji~~ ~. ~ "" all three vehicles pull you out, it is best not to try to drive crooked trail of Big passage in Cueva de El Abra. and headed on tothrough the hole. We were lucky. The water gray ash behind. ward El Retorno. was down a little, and there was enough We settled back on our lookout posts and In order to get on the road leading to room to skirt around the hole on the right turned our attention back to the bridge, hopSan Fernando, one must get to'the other side. We all bedded down for the night, with ing to spot our traveling companions who side of the six-lane divided highway that Ron Ralph snuggled under his Snoopy blanhad yet to make it to the border station. Our leads from the Pharr Bridge by making a lett ket, agreement was to wait for the rest of our turn at a certain spot. At least, there is sul> On Thursday, we drove into Cui dad group at the bridge until 8:00PM, then, ifthey posed to be a way to make a left turn on to Victoria and parked at a nice guarded parkhad not appeared, head on toward the next the highway to San Fernando if, according ing lot near the main square. We ate a quick rendezvous after phoning our contact perto Rune, you have a vehicle with son back in Austin to let him know we were locking hubs. There is even moving on into the interior. All of the cars supposed to be a sign indicatand cavers, except me, had current papers ing where the left turn is. But if and visas obtained for the Labor Day Weekyou miss the sign, which we did, end at Bustamante. We had planned to get or can't find a way to slip to the border a little early so I could get my through the traffic to make the visa. Since this took only twenty minutes, left turn, which you won't, then we had time to kill. It was not long after the you must try your luck making flames on the car had died down that we a Uvturn at El Retorno. Rune caught sight of Susan's Bronco, driven by went first. At a time like this, evRune "Speed Racer" Burnett, with Susan ery trip needs a fearless Speed Sou by, Don Broussard, and Ron Ralph. With Racer to demonstrate the aptwo cars safely crossed, we waited for the proved method for negotiating third. Ernie Garza's white Surburban, with who's got the right-of-way. his passengers Bonnie Longley, her dog With balls to the walls, Rune Don Broussard breathes in the smell of Hoya de las Guaguas. II II I I


breakfast at a small cafe then searched for a '.nk which would exchange our dollars for -."sos. The first bank only took deposits. Dan's exchange used up all the available MA RCHI APRlL 2000 and placed in unnatural positions in places that looked impossible to reach. While musing that this cave might be the latest refuge of the Blair Witch, we warily continued on. There was some evidence of mining in the cave, for guano, we guessed. We went farther into the ever growing passage, which ended at a 75-meter-tall shaft towering up and opening to the sky. It was magnificent. We arrived at the Hotel Taninul in time for dinner and a luxurious soak and swim in the huge pool which surrounds the nacimiento profunda of the hot spring. Any attempt to capture the ambiance of this place will fail. Why was this place here, I wondered. I stood for a long while in the parking lot, just looking around. If you ever get there, take a good, long look at the trees. Really look at them. Absorb their energy. The palms are works of perfection, the bamboo large enough to make smal1 drums, the grass clipped nnd neatly manicured. There are imposing, handpainted murals of beautiful, barebreasted senoritas. Just up above the hot spring, there is a cave that has a bar and bar stools seemingly carved out of stone. There is even a museum to recall past history and memories. Someone must have had a dream, a fantasy, whoever built the TaninuJ. After luxuriating in the sulfur-infused hot spring, a few of the guys lingered around the painted senoritas, but most of us went to bed early. Wake-up call was 6 AM, and Don promised to have coffee ready. On Friday, after breakfast at the Taninul, we headed south toward Hoya de las Guaguas, finally parking our cars on the side of the road at the small village of Barrio San Isidro. We located the appropriate jefe and obtained permission to enter the pit, and we all signed the register and made a ten-peso "donation." In memory of our lost friend Christy Quintana, we delivered the clothes we had brought for the children of the village. We planned to hire a local to carry our rope up the 45-minute hike to the pit. My guess is that most cavers who hire locals to carry the rope show up with less than 381 Peering over the low side of Guaguas. pesos at the second bank. The third one was able to make all the change we needed. We gassed up the cars and then headed down the road toward Cuidad Valles. Cueva de EI Abra has a large entrance at is visible from the highway about 50 kilometers south of Cuidad Mante. Since some of us had never been there and it was about time to stop and stretch our legs, we decided to pull over and make the short hike up to the entrance. What we found there was a little spooky. There were stick people guarding the entrance. They were wedged high in the alcoves in the scalloped ceiling '. <,;; MCQ,' ~'(. .Jd.#i~\Susan Souby on the high side of Guaguas. Trw T!:XAS CAVER meters of it. Our rope was originally intended for Golondrinas, so I imagine it was the extra size and weight of the rope that caused us to have difficulty finding someone to haul it for us for a decent price. After several rounds of negotiation, the best offer we got to haul our rope to the pit and back was thirty pesos each way. We offered 15. Not wanting to foster a possible permanent hike in the haul price for future cavers, Don strapped the 70-pound rope to a backpack frame and headed up the hill. We divvied up Dan's personal gear, put on our day packs and scrambled to catch up with him. By the time we did, he was two-thirds of the way up, at which point Rene insisted, for his sake, that he be relieved of the rope. Rene hoisted the rope duff onto her very capable shoulders and carried it the remainder of the way lip the steep hill, along the fence, through the bees, up and around the karst cracks to the high side of the pit. Bill Steele had warned us about the bees. "They're not wasps; they're bees," he'd said, "most likely, Africanized bees." He related to us a horror story told by the locals James Lopez raps over the edge on the high side. of a Mexican caver being attacked while on rope and stung over a hundred times. We had hoped to avoid the bee problem altogether by rigging the high side, since we knew that cavers had spotted a large hive close to where the rope hangs when rigged on the low side. But when we arrived at the pit in mid-afternoon, bees were swarming. By the time we had made it over to the high side, two in our group had been stung, one possibly twice. The bees were definitely agitated and harassing us. They swarmed and we swatted. One tried to bury itself in my hair. One was seen throwing itself against Ron Ralph's body, kamikaze-style, trying to get the stinger in. It bordered on mayhem. Continued 43


We pulled out our head nets. Then we regrouped. Rene led us through an "interspecies communication" to send good vibes out to the bees, and things seemed to calm down. No one was stung after that, although a few bees continued to buzz. We tried not to swat them, but just calmly walked away from the area where they were buzzing. One bee did escort me down the rope, starting about 30 meters below the lip. It buzzed around my head for about a minute, then flew away without landing. Don described having a similar escort during his rappel. The rigging plan was really cool. We wanted two ropes into the pit to facilitate the climb ant. We had one 38 l-rneter rope and another 80-meter rope. We measured out 220 meters of the long rope from the rope duffle and then tied the anchor and sent that leg of tlie long rope down to the bottom. The other leg of the long rope we knew was going to be short, so we tied the 80-meter rope to it and sent it to the bottom. So, one rope had a knot to cross, the other did not. With the bees calmed and the pit rigged, it was time to go over to the edge and look down. Oh, man! Indescribable magnificence. Awesome depth. Deep, deep down. Way down. Barety-see-that-far down. Two hundred and two meters. Deep. While looking over the edge of Guaguas, the term "assumption of risk" takes on a new dimension. Gill Ediger has written a good account of the necessity, at some point in life, to make peace with death, including your own. One should make such a peace and come to some terms with it prior to approaching Guaguas, because, once there, the prospect of death looms. It weighs heavy. Make your peace way ahead of time, and give yourself time to get over it. When James Lopez volunteered to rappel into the pit first, no one in our group objected. He had, after all,just been named our grotto's Newbie Caver of the Year during the Texas Cavers Reunion in October. With a bee bonnet draped over his caving helmet, we watched James back over the lip. As he went down rope, he seemed to be in a bit of a spin, circling round and round the rope as he drifted farther away. We could barely see him when it appeared that his red cave I I' 44 MARCH/APRfL2000 pack had landed and lay flat on the bottom. James radioed back up to those of us at the top, "Hey, guys, I'll tell you what. That was a fast rappel. The rope is real slick." The rope was new, having been used only once or twice during our last training sessions a week or two before the trip. Contributing to James's interesting slide down, though, could have been the fact that he was deseventh bar on." It was about this time that bright gre parrots started to swoop in flocks, soarin in and out and around the pit, providing a soothing distraction. One by one, we cautiously backed over the edge, Rene, Susan, Marcus. It was a friendly lip, with a small ledge about a foot or two down that was good for standing on to take pictures or to take off the extra bars. Then Ernie got a wild hair and rappelled down the knotted rope, which was fine. Then! took my turn. The rope was really smooth and I could feel a whoosh of air brush around me as I went. I sped up and slowed down, adjusting the brake bars with my left hand, finally adding a fifth bar toward the end. Once down, walked over to where! could look up and see Bonnie and Don rappelling, one on each rope, side by side. It was beautiful. Rune had been suffering miserably from a bad cold even before we had left Austin, but he was hoping to shake it off in time to go down into the pit. Sometime durin the drive down, his condition h taken a turn for the worse. So both Rune and Ron stayed on top to guard the rope, reminisce about the very first trip into Guaguas, and swat bees. The rock lining the pit has a background colored in light grays. Along its walls were also wonderful streaks of coal black that ran dozens of meters long. Dark, damp chambers came looming in from the sides, looking like large black holes, 15 to 25 meters across. Occasionally the wall presented thin brown ribbons, with bright green algae and leaves providing contrast to the otherwise sepia-toned appearance. Guaguas is a timeless place, still the realm of the parrots and owls, which have roosted there for millennia. Those of us on the bottom poked around a bit. Some of us climbed up onto the huge boulders that form the rock slide at the far end, while others explored the side chambers, finding frogs and lots of dead hirds and guano. We had forgotten to get the rop for the lower chamber out of the truck, so that part of the cave would have to be explored on a return trip. Gradually, we began to climb out. Susan and Rene started out on one rope. A little later, James and I took the nlE TEXAS CAVER The view form the bottom of Hoya de Cuaguas. Climbers are visible in the center of the opening. scending the 202-meter drop with a little fourbar Micro-Rack. With steel bars. It was the kind that had a little hyperbar on tlie side for wrapping the rope around to provide more friction. Ever try to lift an extremely long and heavy rope over a hyperbar? James did. Tried to, that is. Oh, it worked, he said, eventually, when he was almost two-thirds of the way down, which, suppose, is when he really needed it the most. James seemed to have enjoyed his fast ride down, but some of us at the top who had listened to his report mentally began adding bars. It went sometliing like this. "Hmm, let's see.! was going to use just four bars to get over the lip but. .. hnun ... slick rope ... fast rappel .. .I don't know, but! think, think [can get that extra


rope with the knot. When we were done, I .On and Bonnie started out on one rope. ~ rnie and Marcus climbed the rope with the knot. Climbing two at a time, we were all out MARCHI APRIL 2000 15 minutes." Don's proposition had met with a cool reception. The possibility of being arrested for trespassing and thrown into a Mexican jail was a legitimate concern. Don was not offering any guarantees that the trespass would even get us in. If we got in, we certainly would want to be able to enjoy the river for more than 15 minutes. But most of all, none of us really felt like mushing. We took a vote, and the group decided to stay an hour or two more at the Taninul, then check out of the hotel and meander on over to the market in Valles. Ernie, Bonnie, and I lingered for a while on the veranda of the Taninul. Bonnie began to speak with a voice that was both soft and sad about the wild places and how there were so few of them left. She had talked about them vanishing with such longing in her voice it seemed possible to believe that as SOOIl as she stopped talking they would all be gone forever. Our thoughts went back to tbe trip we had just passed up. The nacimiento of the Rio Choy had gushed forth tons of pure water continuously for thousands of years. Once there was public access, but now it had a gate and the threat of trespass. But from the front gates of the of the pit before the sun had set. Saturday, the day after Guaguas, turned out to be a really hot 0'1e. Mexico was having an unusually warm winter due to the effects of La Nina. Our plans for that day had .en soft. It had been a long two days' drive .it to get down to Valles. Rune was still feeling miserable with his bad cold, even though he had given part of it to Susan. With all of the energy we had expended getting to the bottom oftbe pit and back, we all should have been content to just soak up the sun while wallowing in the hot spring at Taninul. But there were so many things we wanted to do. We still had not fully explored the things offered right there on the grounds. Some of us wanted to buy a few things at the market in Valles. Ernie suggested a trip to EI Arroyo and the Nacimiento del Rio Mante. Don was offering to lead a trip to the Nacimiento del Rio Choy, wbich was just across the road from the hotel and a short hike down the railroad tracks. "We would have to mush," was how Don had presented his proposal. "Even if we do find the trail leading from the railroad trestle, we would be trespassing. We may not be able to .et to the river at all. The lasttime \~ was there, there was a gate. Now, assuming we could get past the gate, we probably would be able to get to the water, but we would only be able to stay in for about 23RonnnunL TCHnS CnUCRS' RCUmOn PLnT CRCCH RnnCH OCTOBCR 1999 2000 Taninul, the nacimiento was just a twominute drive and a short hike away. Before the mood was lost, Ernie and I hustled Bonnie over to the Bronco where Don and Ron were sorting and packing gear. Bonnie still had a few bottles of good wine left, and quite a bit of sliced turkey. Someone came up with some cheese and a backpack. It was not long afterwards that the sun beat down on the seven of us, we had added James and Druid, as we trudged down the railroad tracks in search of the Rio Choy. We stopped every now and then to give Druid a rest. Druid is a quiet old dog who seems content merely being with Bonnie. But it was a hot day, and Druid could not mush. Every now and then we waited, as Bonnie lovingly massaged each paw, and then Druid would gingerly place her tender feet on the hot railroad ties. The Nacimiento del Rio Choy is housed in a three-sided chamber of solid rock, with a skylight view of the railroad trestle running 30 vertical meters above a small rapid. It is the place where a deep river tunnel has turned upward to let the water run free. The aquamarine pool pours out with the fuJi flow of the subterranean Choy. Immediately upstream of the rapid below the railroad trestle, six naked friends shared wine, cheese, bread and turkey while seated on submerged rocks in the soothing 72-degree water. Photos by Don Broussard, Ernie Garza, and Rene Shields. ATIENTION ALL TCR PARTICIPANTS ANNOUNCING THE TCR 2000 T-SHIRT CONTEST BEGINING-----NOW! DESIGN UP TO 4 COLORS FRONT ONLY CONCEPTUAL DRAWINGS ACCEPTABLE DEADLlNE-----AUG. 31, 2000 WINNER WILL RECEIVE A $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE AT TCR CALL CHRISTA MCLELAND AT (512)441-4844 FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CALL CHRIS VREELAND AT(512)389-1709 FOR TECHNICAL INFORMATION SEND ALL ENTRIES TO: TCR T-SHIRT CONTEST 314 W. MOCKINGBIRD LN. AUSTIN. TX. 78745 THE TEXAS CAVER 45


MARCH/APRIL 2000 the dining room and enjoyed the colorfully painted mural of the devilish, full-breasted woman on the wall opposite our table. Joe mentioned that there was a similar painting of a mermaid upstairs, but that she was even more evil appearing. Later that day and after doing some road logs, we ended up in the viJlage of La Linja, near several pits we wanted to visit. At this point, I had developed a bit of digestive distress and was doing somewhat poorly. None the less, I tried to ignore it and follow the others who had procured the services of a guide. After a brief look at Sotano de Agua, the village water supply, we were off. Our guide was much older than we were, but that didn't prevent him from walking much faster than any of us would have ourselves. Soon we were at a nice pit called Xol Quile (Solano de la Linja), which is perhaps 55 meters deep. Since this pit was easy to locate, we decided to find the other two b fore we went down into one. In a few mi utes, we were at the second pit, and this one proved to be a bit deeper, maybe 1 10 meters. This one we figured to be Xol Cuele (Solano de la Huasteca). We had a IOO-meter rope with us, and some odds and ends, so we thought we would try to bottom the pit. The pit measured about 30 meters across at the top, which was rimmed by trees and plants. Just below the top, the pit began to bell out and the rope hung free of the walls. Ray hit the bottom of the rope, where he had tied a knot, and it was short of the floor. He then tied another short rope to that and passed the knot. Still short about six meters, he climbed back up the rope. By now, I had taken to resting quite a bit since my ailment was wiping me out. But I really wanted to do the pit, so I geared up, and Becky re-rigged the drop in order to try to make the ropes reach the floor. As I rappelled, I noticed that since the rope was new, it had some spin to it. This wasn't good for me in my state, sol tried to look at the walls instead of straight down. By the time I reached the knot, I was pretty dizzy and a bit nauseated. I made a effort to downclimb past the knot, but it was hopeless in my sad condition. So, I Climbed out weakly and reached the top of the drop white as a sheet; at least that's what I was TRIP REPORT ")j: Thanksgiving In Tamapatz Tim Stich "Buenos noches," the 20-ish Mexican soldier said with a grin as he leaned into the driver's seat of the Suburban. Out behind the truck Joe was facing two other soldiers. "You give ... a me ... ten dollars for Coca-Cola?" Another soldier frowned and quickly corrected his friend in Spanish, "ten dollars is too much for Coca-Cola!" The first soldier started again, "You give a me ... two dollars The rest of us in the truck were no better at helping out the non-English speaking panhandlers, which was the point. Pretending you don't know any Spanish concludes the con versation faster. Eventually, they grew tired and frustrated and let us I I 'I; I' I de Taninul (No.2) on the drive down, but Ray and I decided to witness them for ourselves. Wearing only shorts and running shoes, we walked into the cave mouth that had been paved over and made into a dance floor and bar. At the back of this first room, a hole in the chicken wire fence beckoned. Climbing up guano-smeared rocks, we made move on. And so went the second or third stop on the road to Valles on our Thanksgiving trip to the caves around the second deepest pit in the western hemisphere, Golondrinas. Many years in the past, cavers visited the steep karst around the town of Aquismon and Tamapatz, stopping to ask locals where the pits and caves were. These places were visited, perhaps described, photographed, or mapped, and then forgotten, "lost" to memory. Using the pages of an unpublished book of descriptions and some info from Mike Walsh, Joe Ivy and Becky Jones set out to find these caves in the limestone of the Tamapatz area. After some people dropped out, Ray Craig from Decateur, GA, and Tim Stich were the only others who would make the first wave of the trip. Since no one in the truck was averse to the idea of comfort, we decided to get a room at tbe Hotel Taninul just outside of Valles. This avoidance of camping in tents would become a recurring theme on the trip. One of the more remarkable things about the Hotel Taninul is its warm spring-fed swimming pool and the cave above it. I had heard about the distasteful secrets of Cueva I. 46 Looking out from the bottom of Hoya de Quital. Photo by Ray Craig our way into the undeveloped part of the cave. Bats began to flying above us, and the guano got thicker and smellier. As we crawled forward, we noticed the cave was getting hotter and more humid. Then we saw them-first one, then another---plump, healthy cockroaches. A cluster ofthem under a rock scattered. This was what lived in the cave, in numbers that were fostered by the warmth, humidity and possibly mold or other vegetable matter that grew on the moist walls. We pressed on. But then the walls closed in a little tighter, and the roaches appeared to be getting juicier, plumper, and more numerous.I stood on a rock and looked around me. Teeming around the edges was a family of virile roaches, wondering who was visiting, their hairy legs and spindly antennae twitching in excitement. I shone my light about the passage and tried to estimate the number of them. Two hundred there. Three hundred over there. Who knows? Turning to Ray, his expression of disgust confirmed my suspicion that it was time to leave this foul place. The next day we had a fulJ breakfast in THE TEXAS CAVER


told. After we de-rigged the drop, our guide owed us another pit, Sotano de los peleogicos Perdidos, only 100 meters away. As it was getting late, we hiked to the truck. We stayed in Aquisrnon that night, and the little beast pet of the Hotel Mansion rudely bit Ray when he tried to pet it. I later learned this raccoon/possnm looking thing was called a coatimundi. The owner assured Ray that it had had its rabies vaccination. Joe was able to handle it a bit more successfully, and tbe wiry haired thing climbed his pants and allowed Joe to cradle it like a baby. As Joe held it, I tried to pet it, but its nasty teeth bared at me viciously. I left it tlie hell alone after that. That night after dinner, Becky and Joe got me some Immodium, and I started getting better. Our next day we drove into Tamapatz and got a room. The only place in town to stay is this collection of rooms that sits on top of a long, flat building used as a slaughterhouse. When we drove up, it was hard to tell that this building was used for anything, much less a slaughterhouse. It was just a .' empty room with no windows and a metal _te on the side. We unpacked some things and did some more cave locating. On our way down into a valley, we stopped at the trail to Solano de las Golondrinas and went to go look into the pit. When we got to the impressive opening of Golondrinas, a large flock of swallows was circling just inside the mouth of the pit. Golondrinas is a 376meter deep pit that is so vast, the bottom is barely illuminated by the sun. Peering into the pit for the first time and seeing this whirling cloud of crazily chirping birds just a few feet from us made my eyes bulge. The vortex of swirling birds continued to undulate in and out of the pit for a few minutes, and then they settled down. Further down the road, we parked near La Laja and hiked the trail to Tamapatz for the remainder of the day. This proved fruitful, as we added several caves including Cueva Oscuro, Cueva el Baleon, and Cueva Linda to our list of GPS coordinates. On another day we decided to visit Cueva San Nicolas, which is just down the road from our room at the slaughterhouse. We arked next to a store and walked up a lime, stone-paved path beside a small creek. In a few minutes we were looking at a nice cave entrance, perhaps eight meters high. I knew this was going to be a good one. It had all Tiff, TeXAS CAVER MARCH/APRtt. 2000 the right elements: large walking passage, Quile. We parked at the deposito next to flowing water, clean rock, and nice formathe schoolhouse in Paxalja, where we left tions. It was quite nice. We came to numerseveral bags of clothes with the school ous drops that were easily negotiated withteacher. We were immediately swamped by out rope. In fact, we didn't even need to get hordes of children. Soon enough, they were wet for quite some time. When we eventupersonally escorting us to the pit we sought. ally did, the temperature of the water was They laughed and shouted as they ran down fine. The cave would open up into larger the ancient footpaths that lead into the rooms that were filled with large breakdown woods. When we got to the pit, it was much blocks aboutthe size of trucks. At one point, wider than the previous ones we'd visited. the water disappears into the wall and then The kids were still running around the place, reappears later. We eventually ended up in sometimes perilously close to the edge. I a huge trunk passage that was too large for tried not to notice this too much. Before long, us to see its full extent, so we wandered we had a rope rigged and Joe, Becky, and around looking for the wayan. I thought I Ray descended the pit. The children were heard the water on one wall of the room, so interested in seeing us go down, so they I headed there. Sure enough, the underdownclimbed the ledges just below the rig ground creek continued off to the Jeft into point. It looked like an adventurous soul another canyon of huge boulders stacked could enter the pit this way, but it didn't on top of one another. Joe and Becky both look too safe. On my turn down the rope, I had these white LED arrays on their helmets passed a group of kids smiling at me.l1ooked instead of the usual incandescent halogen at my microrack to adjust it, then I felt a sizelights. They gave off this cool, diffused, able stick smack me in the face.llooked back slightly bluish light. We at the kids. No one moved. came to a sizeable drop I balked about the stick down this new passage and continued down. Anand rigged a rope. The other stick hit my shouldrop was beautifuldel', or was it a rock? Now, clean, water-glistened this was obviously a riot f1owstone that seemed to to someone, but that somepour off of the lip of tbe one wasn't me. I sternly drop like melting wax. Beprotested and then i nlow, we were treated to quired of the children to some more wet see if we were all amigos. downclimbs. We had used They nodded. Tbe remainour last rope on the previdel' of the rappel was stickous drop, so we could and rock-free. The bottom only peer down the next of this final pit was a pit into a deep, blue pool jungle. Huge trees, meanof watcr rhatwas 20 meters dering vines, and succubelow us. We later learned Joe Ivy feeds Besito some leftover lent plants covered every from Mike Walsh that the bread. Photo by Ray Craig. inch of the floor. The walls cave ends in a sump soon afterthe drop. On of the bottom sloped steeply to a dark cenour way out, we got slightly disoriented, as ter of foliage. Joe, Ray, and I set off to look the cave was a bit more complex than the for possible cave passages off of the pit. description implied. We quickly discovered a smallish opening One rainy day, Ray and Becky went to around the center of the pit floor. The darkdrop Solano de Cepllio. With Beck navigatcolored rocks amongst the trees provided a ing, they got lost of course. However, they slightly tigbt squeeze into a small room. Off soon found a guide. The day turned out ok: of the room was a crevice that went a few by taking the long way, tbey did quite a bit meters to a rift. The way down was blocked of trail log and located Cueva Oxtalja. This by medium-sized rocks, so Joe and I moved same day, Joe did a road log to Solano de them out of the way. A few bashes of jutting AguaAmarga. rock later, and I was able to wriggle down On our final day, we went hiking on anthe rift. Below me was more virgin cave pasother trail to find a cave, but abandoned that sage-a sbaft perhaps eight meters deep. I plan and instead went to go visit Hoya de Continued 47


MARCH/APRIL2000 judged to see if it was really easy to free climb and decided that it was. A nasty fall here would have proven a major problem, as Joe couldn't gain entrance to the shaft. Down on the floor of the new pit, I looked around to see where it went. Peering over some precarious breakdown, I saw the cave continued down another pit for at least eight more meters. I tossed rocks down, hoping for long bounces. I started to free climb this pit, but then I looked above at the breakdown. I climbed back up and straddled the passage, keeping my feet off of the loose piles of rock. A few kicks later demonstrated that the breakdown balanced just above the pit I wanted to enter was ,really unstable. I had a brief vision of being pummeled by stones and .:r~ ~"!II.P then sealed in the pit. Hmrrun. 'Ith\ln(' This sounded unpleasant, so \'tl!l£.~ ~~ \I\\\U I assessed what it would take ~\1,", n\ n\lnn~~~~ to stabilize the rocks in the IU\.\l\\UlI future and then climbed out ] of the pit. It was nice scooping a little booty in Mexico again. The night before we were to leave, I awoke to the pleasant sounds of singing children. Curious and unable to fall asleep again, I got dressed and walked outside into the night to find the music. On my way down the cement stairs from the roof, I could feel the eyes of someone upon me. Glancing to my left, I saw a freshly-slaughtered cow. Most of the cow was still intact, but some parts were already Ray poses by the turnoff sign to Colondrinas. Photo by Tim Stich BOOK REVIEW A Guide to Speleological Literature Bill Mixon A Guide to Speleologicul Literature ofthe English Language, 1794-1996. Compiled and edited by Diana E. Northrop, Emily Davis Mobly, Kenneth L. Ingham 1lI, and William W. Mixon. Cave Books, St. Louis; 1998. 8.5 by II inches, 539 pp. Hardbound ISBN 0-939748-51-7, $34.95; softbound ISBN 0-939748-52-5, $24.95. In 1981, Ed Zawlocki carried off to the South Pole my copies of ten year's worth of Tony Oldham's. cave-book catalog sheets, with the intention of beginning work on a bibliography of speleology. Little came of this, and Ed died in 1991, but not before getting Mobly, the bibliophile proprietor of Speleobooks, interested in the project. She recruited Northrop, a professional librarian, and at long last this work has appeared. The main body of the book is Chapter 15, a list, alphabetically by author, of 3558 cave books in English. A lot of things in the main bibliography are entered under "corporate authors," such as government agencies or the National Speleological Society. Their real authors or editors, when known, appear in the "other people" field, which often includes second authors, illustrators, and so on. Chapter 16 is au index of the 48 people in that field, with pointers to the main entries by number. There is also a title index. The bibliography includes only books, pamphlets, and monograph issues of periodicals. Cave periodicals are not included, and neither are single articles in periodicals, single chapters in books, or unpublished theses and dissertations. Hence, the bibliography is more a guide for collectors or librarians than a research tool. The low size threshold for inclusion, ten pages, encompasses lots of little things like show cave booklets and regional-meet guidebooks, although only a fraction of them got included. Most major works should be there, though. (None of the authors has any illusions about the completeness of this bibliography or its freedom from errors. But it should still be the best source of information on its subject. You'd be amazed how many errors we found in the data download from the country's main on-line library catalog. I'll never trust a catalog-card again.) The actual bibliography, of course, is only slightly more readable than a telephone book. But about a dozen authorities have provided introductions, ranging in length from one to four pages, to the Literature of particular fields such as biology, geology, being sorted out by a man and two teenagers. I could still hear the soft music overt surreal scene. I went down the street a saw several young girls playing guitars and singing outside of a house. Getting the picture now, I walked back and went to bed. But no sooner than I had gotten into my sleeping bag did I hear a new sound. A horrible, tortured, squealing sound. To say that this was disturbing doesn't quite capture the flavor of the moment. It was definitely a dying pig making this noise. Imagine a pig squealing its full breath until no air is left in its lungs and then taking another huge gasp of air to do it again. It seemed endless. When it stopped, Becky remarked, "Three and a half minutes." All of the caves we relocated on this trip are now going to be plotted on tapa maps for others to visit. As I write this, cavers new to the area are planning a Christmas trip to visit some of the caves we rediscovered, and, hopefully, to locate some others that still need to be found. and exploration. Since these introductions are the only part of the book that will actually be read, rather than just consulted, it is a shame that they, at least, were not more carefully edited and laid out. The introductions are followed by abbreviated versions of the full listings for items in those fields. This is somewhat hit or miss, being based on keywords put in the main database by a variety of contributors, but will nevertheless he helpful to those seeking books on particular subjects. There is also a similar listing by geographical keywords such as states or countries. The assumption had always been that the NSS would publish this book, the preparation of which was supported by an Ed Zawlocki memorial fund held by the NSS. But, despite the fact that it would have cost them no more than a speleo Digest to print, they decided that they wouldn't know what to do with 850 copies they couldn't sell. Red Watson and Cave Books came to the rescue. I hope sales potential is not qUI so bad as the NSS estimated. The price certainly is reasonable for such a large and specialized book. The reviewer is one of the compilers. THE TEXAS CAVER


MARCH/APRIL 2000 ACGIE SPELEOI..OGICAL SOCIETY OFFICERS Travis Scott-President Amanda Finke-Vice President Brian Gaas-Secretary Julie Sandefur-Treasurer Bexar GROTTO Joe Mitchell Bexar Grotto officers for 2000: Joann Deluna (Chair), Cindy Perez (Secretary/Treasurer), Kurt Menking (Vice-Chair, Trips), Christi Bennett (Vice-Chair, Programs), and Joe Ranzau (Bexar Facts Editor). Linda Palit stated that San Antonio Water System (SAWS) owns and has easements to a lot of caves that may become accessible through the auspices of TCMA. Bear Cave and Cub Cave are in need of management and have been off-limits for the last four years. Geary Schindel has asked the lawyers of Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) to look into allowing cavers access to their gated caves. This may include tf ldina Farm Sinkhole and also a 3000foot sement at the Annandale Ranch that may e bought by The Nature Conservancy, SAWS, and the EAA. Aaron Addison We've begun a new year of Texas caving! With it comes many new caving opportunities as well as opportunities to help out the TSA. I'd like to thank Rebecca Jones and Joe Ivy for continuing to do a wonderful job with The Texas Cava Last month T talked about bringing the spirit of TCR to TSA. [ hope that I didn't confuse any cavers out there by saying that. The TSA and TCR are separate organizations. The TSA IS an organization of those people interested in Texas caving. The TCR, although a contributor to TSA, is totally separate from the TSA. It is an annual event run by a dedicated group of cavers that put n one hell of a party each and every year. ext time you see one of these folks be sure to thank them for all of their hard work. Having said that, this year's TSA Convention is right around the corner. Do you or your grotto want to host an event at the THE TEXAS CAVEll Grotto Reports Mike Burrell reported that Cave Without A Name was broken into and vandalized. One nice formation was stolen. Local authorities and schools have been notified, and there is a $2,500 reward offered. The gate is now being locked during non-business hours; volunteers should not show up then without notice. Joe Ranzau reported that Natural Bridge Caverns invited him to take a look at their gates for ideas on making a bat-friendly gate at the natural entrance to CWAN. Linda also stated that CWAN has some fantastic-looking rimstone dams, thanks to the hard work of many volunteers. Mike Bun-ell, Tom Brown, Mike Cunningham, and Joe Ranzau went to look at the new room for vandalism damage. The group was able to push the passage, but the ladder had to be removed since it was in bad shape. Geary Schindel and George Veni took a group of geologists to CWAN in early January. Mike Cunningham, Linda Palit, Liarn Town, and Joe Mitchell took a group of 15 Trinity students to Colorado Bend in November, where they visited Turtle Shell Cave, Fern Sink, Lucky 1st Disaster, and The Pillar Convention? If so, please let LIS know. COIlvention is in a nice location with plenty of camping and many events. The survey and rope workshops will fill up fast, so be sure to pre-register. Behind the scenes at TSA we are trying to make sure that we visit each and every grotto this year. We've already hit a couple and plan to see you all very soon. It's time to get excited about the TSA and Texas caving. Watch the Activities Newsletter and the TSA website for upcoming events and trips throughout the year. -Aaron Gorman Cave. Joe Ranzau reports that there is a new park manager at Colorado Bend who is looking for volunteers to lead wild cave tours. The tours are closed at this time. Tom Brown took nine Aggies to Grapevine Cave, near Wimberley. Tom reported that the air was not bad. Grotto members volunteered to guide a group of Boy Scouts from Irving, TX to Robber Baron Cave in January. Other members made recent trips to caves near Zaragoza, and to Hot Spring Cave in EI Abra, Mexico. Geary and Sue Schindel held the grotto Christmas party at their home. Bob Cowell put together a New Year's gathering that many people attended. The grotto hosted several visitors recently: Eduardo Valdez, a cave diver from Mexico, and cave geologists Phi lip Rykwalder (TN), Calvin Alexander (MN), and Steve Worthington (Canada). Steve gave a presentation 011 a series of trips to caves in Mexico. [ \ ,~ _Jt:':'A_P .. ,~"_' ~ Aaron getting down in West Texas. Photo by Joe Ivy 49


provide an overall description of the project and its purpose to a Committee that can review in more detail. The members of the committee will be Terry Holsinger (Chair), Mike Moore (ViceChair), and Annemarie Mikelski. TSA WEBSITE: Annemarie Mikelski, manager. The list ofTSA members will be kept online. Possibilities for generating revenue for TSA website expenses were discussed. Joe R. suggested using limited web marketing to help bring in such revenue. Aaron motioned to have Annemarie and Joe work on this and, in meantime, to pay Bill Bently up to $100 from any revenue generated. Motion accepted unanimously. DUES INCREASES discussed. CONSTfTUrrON COMMfTTEE: (Cathy Winfrey, chair, not present.) Discussed previously proposed and rejected amendment linking TCR and TSA. No actions were taken in regard to this matter. CONSERVATION COMMITTEE: Joe Ranzau agreetl to create and head this Committee. Anyone interested in participating should contact Joe. MEMBERSHIP: discussion of current membership, new brochure, renewal postcards, and membership drives. ACTfVfTfES NEWS LETTER: Aaron suggested deleti theANL, which is no longer necessary, given tf regular and timely publication of The TX Caver. ANL hardcopy publication will be discontinued after October 2000, except by request from current, paid members. Motion was tabled pending discussion with parties not present. Generally agreed that it's not feasible to sendANL after 15th day of month. TSA supports Becky Jones as Chair of Publications Committee to appoint a new ANL editor. ANNOUNCEMENTS Mike Walsh of Texas Cave Conservancy reported on TCC's current activities. Joe Ranzau of Bexar Grotto reported 011 their activities. Aaron Addison of UT Grotto reported on their caving activities in Mexico and Texas. NEXT TSA MEETING: 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 7,2000 at John Knox Ranch. Meeting adjourned. January 23, 2000, Del Rio, TX The minutes of last meeting accepted as published. CHAIRMAN'S REPORT: Aaron Addison wants to create a situation where people will want to attend TSA meetings for the meetings themselves, and for active involvement in the TSA. Suggested grotto contacts could be used to: improve communication flows between TSA and grottos and reduce expenses of TSA (ANL copy can go to contact, who will copy for grotto). VICE-CHAIRMAN'S REPORT: Terry Holsinger had nothing of significance to report. SECRETARY'S REPORT: Robin Barber, absent, no report. Melonie Alspaugh took minutes. TREASURER'S REPORT: Aimee Beveridge Membership: 354 current subscriptions to TX Caver; 294 members total. Budget: $5,112,67 in account. TSA owes TeR some money yet; $4,649.23 is available budget. Projected expenses: 6 issues of TX Caver, 11 issues of ANL, missing 1997 Caver issues. Projected income: additional memberships, bookstore sales, TCR donations (7). TREASURER'S GOALS: Transfer account to a credit union, which should reduce cost. Continue to work with bookstore and Logan McNatt to increase sales and income. Increase membership and expand activities. Thanks extended to Joe Ivy and Rebecca Jones for excellent, timely work on The Texas Caver. Discussed goals of increased membership. Decision was made to offer back issues of The Caver to new members (details to be worked out later) at the TSA Spring Convention, and also to new members at Grotto meetings. It was agreed by all present that projects should be self-supporting and that monies should be kept separately. Recouping lost monies from 1999 Bustamante project. Decision was tabled until Spring Meeting. EDiTORS'REPORT: Rebecca Jones Missing 1997 IssuesKennedy's June issue is done and Ediger's to arrive soon. Becky will combine this and other 97 material and print all together. ElJITORS'GOALS: Improve content, increase budget through advertising, increase number of pages, money for prizes to encourage participation. (GGG to donate prizes, seeking other donations.) Other projects in process: One chapter on Mexico, Aquismon area, with Mike Walsh, who will front cost of printing that issue. TSA PROJECTS Chair would like to narrow the list to true projects, and define clearly TSA's role in projects as provider of management, equipment, etc. Chair suggested formation of a committee on TSA project structure, to create mission statement and goals for projects. To be voted on at Spring so TSA Winter Meeting Convention. Holsinger was nominated and elected to chair this committee, and is to appoint other committee members. BUSTAMANTE: Rumors that Bustamante Project is finished are unfounded and untrue. Plans to make trip in March to coordinate with city of Bustamante for 2000 project. Brief discussion ofTSA support of projects outside U.S. (validated). CBSP: TelTY Holsinger reported that new park superintendent is very cooperative, and all is going well. He has even offered to allow space in his office for project work. Kcep: Discussion of its history, problems with the project, and its-relationship to TSA and to CWAN. Chair stated a need to assess the project's present and future relationship to TSA, its goals, etc. Decision to officially deferTSA involvement with the KeCp until proposals are submitted and Projects Committee reviews and makes a decision; accepted unanimously. Aaron reported that there are other possibilities for TSA projects in West Texas and invited anyone interested in leading any projects to present themselves. OLD BUSINESS MEMBERSHIP: Member lists are still being improved and worked on by David Turner. Safety and Rescue: still non-existent. BOOKS7VI?E: The bookstore has been revamped and computerized by Jim Kennedy and Logan McNatt. Convention: Terry Holsinger reported May 6-7 as dates set for Spring 2000 TSA convention, to be hel~ at John Knox Ranch in Wimberley, which has caves on the property. Call to grottos to advertise! Possible events were discussed. NEW BUSINESS TEXAS CAVER PROJECT. to put back issues on CDROM and/or Web. Mike Moore will Check Out the TSA Web Page: www.caver.netltsa THE TEXAS CAVER


MARCH/APRIL 2000 Caves and Karst Word Search Puzzle KXEKCWMHLHHGZMT STALAGMITEUYKER EPNEJBRELCOPDPA LXETNWPIXESSHPV OOOLQOCRTIIUNHE HSKPETTIAJCMVTR KIKUIOMSMMWOIOT NKPTNOLOENUTAFI IYENLCDOZMCJKWN SXIOAPPZGAIOVOE HGDVEKOLLYULJMM NUESRSKATSRAKMR GRIENOTSWOLFDOA NWI YHSBOREHOLEX Y I T I URI X D L V H T Q G BOREHOLE FWWSTONE JUMAR MEXICO STALACTITE CAVERN GYPSUM KARST SINKHOLE STALAGMITE DOLOMITE HELICTITE LIMESTONE SPELEOWGY TRAVERTINE Puzzle by Jerry Atkinson r----------------------------------------~ Canyon Passage, 0-9 Well. Photo by Pete." Sprouse SIGN ME UP FOR The Texas Speleological Association & The Texas Caver! I .... 1 don't want to miss another issue. I I Sign me up for the item indicated: NAME: I I 0 $27 TSA Membership: The TEXAS CAVER, STREET: : I TSA Activities Newsletter & TeR Notices II 0 CITY, ST, ZIP: II $35 Family Membership (2 votes, 1 set ot publications) I 0 $20 The TEXAS CAVER only HOME PHONE I I I WORK PHONE I 0 $7 TSA Activities Newsletter only I I MAIL TO: TSA, BOX 8026, AUSTIN, TX 78713 E-MAIL I ~----------------------------------------~ TEXAS CAVER SUBMISSION GUIDELINES All cavers are invited to submit articles, trip reports, pictures, maps, cartoons, poetry, events, etc. Material should be cave-related and pertinent to the Texas caving community. The Texas Caver is published hi-monthly. The deadline for subm.issions is the last day of even-numbered months. The editors will confirm receipt of material, review submissions, and return comments as necessary before publication. Slides, negatives, photos, art, maps, etc. will be scanned as quickly as possible and then returned promptly. We would prefer material submitted digitally in Rich Text Format, on 3.5-inch floppies or ZIP disks, or attached to e-mail, but we will accept legible material of any kind Graphics should be submitted as .tif files. Photos should be scanned at 266 dpi, line art at 1200 dpi. All material should be identified with author's name, title, and date. Visual materials should be clearly matched to captions. For further information on submission or style guidelines, please contact the editors: Joe Ivy & Rebecca Jones I J 916 Bluebonnet, Manchaca, TX 78652 512-292-1878 THE TEXAS CAVER 51

Contents: Editorial:
Preservation, Conservation, Recreation --
Cave Management: The Texas Cave Management Association,
The Texas Cave Conservancy, Cave Management by Federal Agencies
- Project Reports: Government Canyon, Colorado Bend --
TSS Photo Archives Caption Contest --
Coronado's Children --
Trip Reports: Carlsbad Caverns, Sotano de las Guaguas,
Thanksgiving in Tamapatz --
Book Review: bibliography of Speleological Literature --
Grotto Reports --
The Pillar --
TSA News: Winter Meeting.


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