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Intercom is a publication of the Iowa Grotto of the National Speleological Society, Inc., an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The Iowa Grotto, is dedicated to the exploration, study, and conservation of caves.
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Volume 53, Number 2 (March - April 2017).
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I N T E R C O M Volume 53, Issue 2 March April 2017 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Grotto Website: Coldwater Cave Project website: coldwater Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year, includes INTERCOM and Hotline subscriptions. INTERCOM subscriptions only are $13.00 per year. The Iowa Grotto reserves the right to decline membership during or after a probationary period. Due Dates : for submission of material for publication in the next INTERCOM is May 1st. Send material for publication, e mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Scott Dankof 515 986 3219 410 SW Hickory Circle Grimes IA. 50111 E mail Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Scott Dankof, the INTERCOM editor. Cave Rescue : Contact the Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services Central Dispatch at 502 564 7815 for cave emergencies only in the NCRC Central Region of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Iowa Grotto Meetings : are the fourth Wednesday of each month, third Wednesday in December at 7:30 p.m. in Room 125 or thereabouts of Trowbridge Hall on the campus of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. Cover Photo: A view of the Gallery Section in Coldwater Cave, Iowa. Photo by Jordan Kjome. National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Ed Klausner Vice Chairman/Treasurer John Donahue Secretary Elizabeth Miller Volume 53 Issue 2 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 30 Trip reports: Diamond Cave 30 Lost Valley Ridge Caves 32 Toga Cave 36 Photo Gallery 39 29


__________CALENDAR___________ Sept. Grotto Meeting Sept. 27th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. October Grotto Meeting Oct. 25th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting, March 22, 2017 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:35 PM. Five members were present. Prior to the meeting, Ed Klausner showed copies of old Iowa Grotto pictures given to the grotto by Tom Hruska. Ed asked for identification of people in the pictures as well as caves. The minutes of the February meeting were read and approved as corrected. The treasurer sent a report to read at the meeting. There was $5394.14 in the general fund, $103.85 in the Coldwater fund and $132.00 in petty cash. Trip reports: Ed Klausner and Elizabeth Miller visited Mystery Cave in Minnesota with Cave Manager and Iowa Grotto member Bob Storlie. The three resketched and surveyed a section of the tour trail. The resketch is being done to accurately map the infrastructure of these areas. Future Trips: There will be a vertical trip to Willard cave in April. Contact Doug Schmueker for information. Trips to Coldwater Cave are scheduled for the third Saturday of each month. The family picnic at Coldwater will be the third Saturday in June. Survey trips to Mystery Cave in Minnesota will be scheduled with Bob Storlie from the park. Caving out of the area includes MVOR in early April, Speleofest at the Memorial Day weekend, the NSS convention at Rio Rancho, New Mexico in June and the National Cave and Karst Management Symposium in Eureka Springs, AR October 16 20. Old business: The grotto picnic will be held at Tosanka Recreation area in Floyd County. Camping has been reserved and will be paid for by the grotto. Elizabeth Miller presented information from the science committee about progress on invertebrate species guides for the cave monitoring project. The Daleo entrance to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky has been bought by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy. The National Geographic Society has made all the topographic maps for the United State available online. Each current topo is covered by 5 maps. New Business: Grotto members suggested publishing the old photos in the Intercom. Announcement: Liz Robinson asked that we put the following information in the Intercom. Friends of Bob Liebman of B and B Wunderwear have set up a Go Fund Me site to collect funds for his cancer treatment. The meeting was adjourned at 8:03 PM. No April Minutes Submitted From the Editor The Intercom will have a new editor starting with the next issue. Jennifer Hackman has graciously volunteered to take over. I acquired the editor duties almost 20 years ago when Lowell Burkhead passed away. We won best newsletter cover in the NSS Convention Graphic Arts Salon 3 different years, started publishing color covers, and tried to keep the Intercom on a somewhat timely schedDiamond Cave Newton County, Arkansas April 1, 2017 By Mark Jones The spring restoration of Diamond Cave, a former commercial operation south of Jasper in Newton County, Arkansas began with ten hearty cavers assembled at the former ticket office. Local recruits included Lex Pruitt, Mike Nelson (a former Iowa 30


caver), Joe Gaff and Joy. Additional cavers included Mike Lace, John and Jordan Kjome, Ashley Haight and Jeff Thurlow from Iowa; Dennis Novicky from Missouri and myself. The cave gate was opened at 9:30 a.m. and we were off to the races. Dennis and I hiked back beyond the end of the tourist trail to remove the remaining insulators and any other debris. The passage width at this point is estimated at over two hundred feet with thirty feet of vertical relief. Massive breakdown blocks covered the entire floor. This section of the cave has impressive totem poles, columns, soda straws, helictites and stalagmites as well as untold fallen formations. The recent precipitation had three ceiling waterfalls flowing. We turned around when we ran out of trash with big cave ahead. Returning to the end of the tourist trail we conducted another sweep left and right of the trail. Dennis crawled up high while I stayed down below. last fall we expected to move right along. Under every rock and behind every formation were found all sorts of debris. Shattered light bulbs (dozens), broken sockets and flashbulbs, corroded batteries, rusty pieces of wire, oxidized electrical devices, two tarnished Prince Albert tobacco tins, moldy chewing gum wrappers, 11¢ (a dime & a cent) and assorted junk. The find of the day for me was an enamel chamber pot floating in a rimstone pool. Dennis had the neatest find with a piece of moon and stars. Our best guess is that a light was used to project the image on the ceiling. In addition to the regular trash we pulled out several pieces of lumber hidden off trail. Most of the wood was in an advanced state of decomposition adding to our enjoyment. Off to the left side, past a formation choke we discovered a room full of vandalized totem poles and stalagmites. Upon closer investigation we determined that several of the forma31 tions could be repaired. This would serve as a great learning lab in the future for cave restoration enthusiasts. The rest of the group kept moving rolls of wire, buckets of garbage and bundles of rotten wood. By 2:30 p.m. we were ready to call it a day so everyone grabbed some trash and headed to the entrance. At the end of the day the cave looked better than when we started, which was our goal. The trailer bed was full of tofor more trash. Cave fauna observed during our adventure included fifteen pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) and dozens of larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.). Hopefully the cave life will positively respond to our efforts to clean up this noteworthy cave. April 2, 2017 The second day of the 2017 Spring Cleanup at Diamond Cave had Joe Gaff, Mike Lace, Mike Nelson, Dennis Novicky and me meeting at 9:00 a.m. to continue packaging and removing the debris. Following yesterdays successful clean up we were prepared to further alleviate this beautiful cave of some more trash. I headed back beyond the duckwalk to a hidden shallow stagnant pool to remove the accumulated garbage. Armed with a gripper I was able to pluck out the debris without reducing the visibility too much. To my surprise I found a broken set of six glass tumblers along with the usual items light bulbs, flash cubes, paper wrappers and wire. The most interesting aspect of this pool was the fact that the floating glass was coated in a thin layer of calcite. One light bulb was so heavily encrusted in calcite that it was cemented into the flowstone dam. An inverted bottle bobbing in the water and coated in calcite was also left. I now refer to this area as the Calcite Pool. Once this task was completed I


32 joined Joe and Mike Nelson in the removal of several pieces of rotting lumber to a staging area. When Dennis arrived I picked up the magnet to sweep the trail back to the terminus. This tool made the task much easier than stooping down to get every little chunk of wire. It took an hour to complete this job. I returned to help move the wood bundles past the duckwalk and closer to the entrance. For my exit I selected two five gallon buckets of trash and continued to sweep for metal with the magnet. Near the entrance Dennis detoured down to stream level to the beautiful flowstone wall known as The Red Room. A terrestrial crayfish ( Cambarus sp.) was found in the stream but the most curious sight were twelve larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.) hanging on the flowstone wall. This is the first ders outside of a pool. whether they were washed out of an upper pool or chose to climb down themselves. Beyond a dilapidated wooden bridge is a breakdown room where a cluster of thirty Indiana Bats ( Myotis sodalis ) hung thirty feet above the floor. Underneath the cluster was a three foot diameter guano pile. At 2:30 p.m. we trudged down the trail and up the 113 steps to the surface satisfied with our accomplishments. April 3, 2017 The field of cavers for the third day at Diamond Cave had been whittled down to Mike Lace, Mike Nelson, Dennis Novicky and me. Mike Lace and I went immediately to the Red Room to determine the feasibility of removing the rotting wooden bridge. With a game plan in place I hiked back to the Fossil Room to shuttle packages of decaying lumber closer to the entrance. When that task was complete I went through the duckwalk to begin restoring a flowstone mound near the Calcite Pool. that an expansive wall of flowstone was covered in a layer of mud and debris. The first item of business was to take before photographs to compare with after pictures. As I scrubbed down the slope I used the water from the nearby pool to wash off the formations. During two hours of work a hundred square feet of flowstone beauty was revealed. Obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg but it was certainly worth the effort. On my way toward the entrance I continued to scour the floor and behind the rocks looking for more trash. I spent the remainder of the day hauling bundles of wood out the entrance. At 2:00 p.m. we removed the last piece of wood, a very successful expedition. Lost Valley Ridge Caves Newton County, Arkansas April 4, 2017 By Mark Jones Dennis Novicky and I had just finished three days of restoration work at Diamond Cave in Newton County and were ready to start whittling down some of the caves in the Buffalo NaIn spite of the recent rains we thought that we could return to Fitton Spring Cave to add to the five hundred feet we recorded in February. Expecting our regular route to be open we drove toward Cecil Creek via Erbie but were stymied at the Buffalo River. (We later found out there was an alternative route.) Our backup plan was to drive over to Ponca and ridgewalk more of Lost Valley. Arriving at 11:00 a.m. we hoped to start at Mated Dogwood Caves to follow the broken bluffline south. Without a GPS unit we simply hiked down the hill to the general area. As I topped a gentle slope I spotted an enticing pit, simultaneously Dennis saw another hole fifty feet way. Our adventure began with two new caves! mined that vertical gear was necessary to access the forty foot


33 drop. Moving over to my discovery we were able to climb down to two leads a balcony room near the other cave and the second a crawl on the other side of the pit. Naming my cave Thing up for Mated Dogwood when Dennis walked around the corner and found a third cave. Thing 3 was an easy walking canyon that extended forty feet and connected to Thing 1 through the crawl lead. Turning north we went forty feet past Thing 2 and found a skylight entrance to Thing 4. Dennis chimneyed down the wall twelve feet to find short walking passage to the left and right. Meanwhile I continued along the rock outcropping to a slot in the ridge that opened into thirty feet of passage. Just outside this cave was an oak with a huge burl hence we named this Oak Burl Cave. (Cave #5) While Dennis checked a shallow depression I strolled another seventy feet to finally locate Mated Dogwood Cave. Having a point of reference we now turned back south in search of more booty. Not five minutes later we stumble over a break in the rock revealing Thing 5 (Cave #6). Again this cave followed the bluffline and it only ran fifteen feet but it terminated at a narrow shaft with potentially more passage beyond. At a small ravine fifty feet later was found Overflow Drain Cave (Cave #7). It was yet another thirty footer. Following a short snack break at rocky gully I started around the hill and found a two foot diameter entrance that steeply sloped down sixteen feet. Dennis was quickly down in the hole announcing that there was a forty foot pit with more cave beyond. Back in February we discovered similar passage in Sabre Blade Cave that was a real treat. The walls resembled rock curtains so we called this Lets Make A Deal Cave. (Cave #8) Since vertical gear would be needed we retreated to the surface anticipating dropping this fabulous find later in the week. A rock outcropping concealed a constricted bellycrawl that Dennis was excited about so I left him to his way while I ventured on. He later reported that he backed in six feet and that it falls down a long way. This was determined with the time honored method of dropping a rock. He called this Kick Down Cave. (Cave #9) A truly skinny team will be needed to survey this cave. Less than a hundred feet later we were at an entrance squeeze to Cave #10. (We were running out of names!) We assume that this will be another thirty footer. Could we reach double digits? Not far away was a snug bellycrawl that Dennis pushed while I scooted around the corner. A cellar like entrance dropped down to a stoopwalking canyon that possibly Two Ozark zigzag salamanders ( Plethodon angusticlavius ) were found here so we named this cave Zigzag Cave (Cave #11). Meanwhile I was poking into another slot canyon entrance that extended thirty feet. The beautiful wildflowers surrounding the entrance gave this cave its name Wildflower Cave (Cave #12) Dennis jumped ahead to Cave #13 at the side of a small intermittent waterfall. Although it was thirty feet in length it broke the mold by having a bulbous room rather than a narrow canyon passage. On the other side of the gully I squeezed into a joint controlled passage of thirty feet. that name so this was tentatively called Cave #14. Forty feet away Dennis found a slot in a rock outcropping with the last cave (cave#15) of able. Having reached an old logging road we opted to turn around to ridgewalk below our line of cave. In spite of all the potential no caves were located but with fifteen new caves in pointed. mainder of the week inventorying and mapping these caves. Rather than


34 tensive raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat was noted on the floor and a lone slug ( Megapallifera sp.) on the wall. Thing 2 is now known as Drop Zone Pit. A short snack break was taken before tying in Drop Zone Pit with the twenty foot diameter ceiling collapse of Thing 1 Cave. Hugging a narrow ledge for fifteen feet we crawled into a roomy balcony room with an impossibly tight floor level squeeze trending northeast. Try as much as he smaller. He had good reason to push this lead as the Disto gave a disAfter giving due diligence to the passage we simply drew in the details as best we could. On the sketch map it appears that this is very close to the alcove room of Oak Burl Cave Annex. Next we shot across the canyon fifteen feet to the backdoor of Thing 3 Cave. Unstable breakdown at this entrance convinced us to bypass this route and use the main slot entrance. Most of this hundred foot passage was easy walking canyon with a few minor crawls. But the incessant dripping water inspired us to rename Thing 1 and Thing 3 Dripline Cave. Total cave footage for this cave was one hundred fifty. Cave fauna found here included a cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ), a Western slimy salamander ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ) and a dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus sp.). Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat coated much of the floor. Before calling it a day we hiked over to Thing 5 Cave to determine our plan of attack for tomorrow. Although it seems to be an insignificant cave fifteen feet inside the entrance is a forty foot pit! A Western slimy salamander ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ) was noted near the drop. Satisfied with our accomplishments we packed it in after eight hours with five of our fifteen caves surveyed and inventoried. added to our workload! April 6, 2017 After taking a day off due to nasty weather Dennis Novicky and I were ready to begin tackling the fifteen day. Since the caves were so closely situated our plan was to start at the north end (just south of Mated Dogwood Caves) and tie in the cave surveys with surface connections as we nis was on point and read backsights while I kept book, read foresights and took pictures. Beginning at the slot ceiling entrance of Oak Burl Cave we took two shots (32 feet) northeast in a narrow canyon that pinched down. Three species of salamanders were found in a short time two Ozark zigzag salamanders ( Plethodon angusticlavius ), a cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ) and a Western slimy salamander ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ). Returning to the entrance we took a ten foot shot through a constricted crawl to the southwest that connected with Thing 4 Cave. Dropping through the skylight entrance of Thing 4 we continued thirty feet to the southwest to a tight bellycrawl that Dennis pushed to a comfortable alcove. While waiting for his return I discovered an orb weaver ( Meta ovalis ) and even a tiny cave dipluran ( Litocampa sp.). Total cave length was ninety two feet. We decided to consolidate the caves, renamed Thing 4 Oak Burl Cave Annex and retained the name Oak Burl Cave. Next we tied Oak Burl Cave with Thing 2 before donning our vertical gear to check out this pit lead. With a twenty five foot drop hopes were running high for a long winding canyon but alas we could only get another twenty five feet of cave. The canyon passage continues toward the bluff but was too tight even for Dennis. In spite of this disappointment we did find two rubble filled shafts as well as some nice flowstone. Ex-


35 April 7, 2017 Dennis Novicky and I were back on task of surveying and inventorying covered earlier in the week. Again Dennis was on point and read backsights while I kept book, read foresights and shot photos. Starting at an annex of Thing 5 we took a fifteen foot shot to a critter crawl. Next we connected this with the Thing 5 entrance with another fifteen foot surface shot. It was only ten feet from the dripline to the edge of a forty foot shaft. Unfortunately there is a small window to navigate through that is even more sporting with vertical gear. But Dennis rigged the rope and was soon wriggling his way down to the bottom. A narrow canyon meandered seven feet to a terminal dome for a cave total of 52 feet. Because of the tight pit drop Dennis renamed this Chimney Cave. The only fauna found was a terrestrial snail ( Inflectarius sp.). An Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) midden was noted. A hundred feet west of Chimney Cave was Overflow Drain Cave. Situated on the side of an intermittent waterfall in a shallow ravine this twenty foot cave pirated water from the waterfall during high runoff. The hands and knees crawl slopes down to a sizable muddy drain near the back where the water disappears. Cave fauna found included a fishing spider ( Dolomedes sp.) and a terrestrial snail ( Inflectarius sp.). Following a lunch break we did a Cave. This was the most intriguing cave of the lot with a forty foot pit lead. We began by surveying the upper level where thirty feet was inventoried before transitioning to the shafts. Dennis got on rope to access the bottom of the first pit twenty feet below. Next he squirmed through a karst window to continue down forty feet to a narrow, tall canyon. Here running fifteen foot to wall with two high leads. The right branch is more challenging since entry is on rope over a flowstone bridge twenty feet above the floor. This is a more rewarding endeavor with going passage. Since we were running out of time we opted to tie off the survey and return at a later date. This cave was biologically active with six Ozark zigzag salamanders ( Plethodon angusticlavius ), a cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ), half a dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus sp.), three orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ), two fishing spiders ( Dolomedes sp.), a harvestmen ( Leiobunum sp.) and a terrestrial millipede. Also noted were extensive raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat and Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) middens and scat. April 8, 2017 Jessie Bridges, Sarah Heiser joined Dennis Novicky and me in surveying and monitoring the caves of the Lost Valley Cave Complex. We arrived at skies where we rigged the rope for Jessie and Dennis to use in their quest for more cave behind yet another rock curtain. Once they were on their way Sarah and I set off to earlier in the week. The first cave was Kickdown Cave that is a steep sloped bellycrawl that will require that special kind of person to negotiate the crawl while on rope to access the vertical lead beyond. We simply recorded the GPS location for the records before moving on. Our first survey objective was Cave #10 where I assisted Sarah in developing her cave cartography skills and we racked up 35 feet of survey under a drippy ceiling. It was so difficult to keep the paper dry that we renamed this cave Rain & Shine Cave. A couple orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ) were the only fauna that we found but there was plenty of Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat indicating their usage. Next we tied the entrance of Rain & Shine Cave with nearby Zigzag Annex that was a critter crawl. We contin-


36 ued the surface survey another fifty feet to the slot canyon entrance of Zigzag Cave. This cave took water at the entrance and moved it deeper where it disappeared down a drain slot. An enticing lead on the right beckoned past an impossible bedrock choke that may or may not connect with Zigzag Annex. A total of seventy five feet of survey was tallied in this cave. Eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat was found throughout the cave. Another surface survey was taken to Wildflower Cave where we climbed down the steep mud slope to find forty feet of canyon passage. Cave fauna noted included a pipistrelle or tri colored bat ( Perimyotis subflavus ), two cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ), an Ozark zigzag salamander ( Plethodon angusticlavius ) as well as a terrestrial snail ( Inflectarius sp.). Eighty five feet west we tied into the slot entrance of Cave #13. A tiny waterfall trickled from a small crack at the back of the cave. At a mere twenty two feet this cave still offered a home to all sorts of fauna whether terrestrial or troglobitic. We found a pipistrelle or tri colored bat ( Perimyotis subflavus ) and two cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ). The last cave, Cave #14, was entered through a rock ceiling that gave the cave its name of Rockstep Cave. An eight foot drop led to a fifteen foot hands and knees crawl on the right and a bellycrawl pinch on the left. A cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ) and an Ozark zigzag salamander ( Plethodon angusticlavius ) were found in this cave. We ended our surveying day by doing a surface survey of fifty feet over to a narrow slot entrance of Cave #15 that lines up with Rockstep Cave. With an hour left before our meeting time with Jessie and Dennis we decided to ridgewalk to the west on the same contour. Our efforts were rewarded with Sarah discovering two new caves that Sarah plans to survey in the near future. One of these was a narrow canyon cave of fifty feet while the other was a small boulder collapse jumble. Returning to Lets Make A Deal Cave we found the others thoroughly enjoying themselves in their vertical adventures. found more passages and pits to survey. Another great day of caving in the Ozarks! Toga Cave Newton County, Arkansas April 9, 2017 By Mark Jones To round out our Arkansas experience at the Buffalo National River Dennis Novicky and I opted to combine recreation with surveying by canoeing the Buffalo River to Toga Cave. Last Dennis found two pit leads in The Sand Trap that would require a few shots to complete the map. Once the vehicles were staged for the canoe pickup we launched the S.S. Minnow from the rocky beach of Steel Creek Campground. In less than a half hour we lashed the boat to a tree and were headed up the steep slope to the reverse slope hiding the hands and knees crawlway that dropped down to the middle of a twenty foot tall canyon. We straddled the canyon to the connection squeeze over to The Sand Trap. A conglomeration of sand, clay and rock resulted in very weak rock that would crumble under very little pressure. Dennis investigated the possibilities for the first pit and determined that he could make the climb. At the bottom he found a canyon passage the pinched out in twenty feet. Total footage for this lead was 53 feet. The second lead was a three foot diameter hole in a depression of boulders. It was difficult to find an anchoring point nearby with any integrity so we wrapped the rope around a suitable rock along the far wall. While wiggling down the drop Dennis dislodged a small rock that bounced off his helmet and commented


37 that he really appreciated the protection. were in complete agreement that the ceiling of wedged rock of questionable quality would preclude any further trips into this pit. This is now the Nervous Breakdown Pit. Since we were prepared to survey the lead we quickly set about getting the work done. While I was sketching Dennis found a connection to a lower pit lined with large popcorn formations. Dennis named this Cauliflower Pit. This second survey totaled a little over ninety feet. We were glad to put this pit behind us. The survey of Toga is now finished with little reason to venture into The Sand Trap. The only cave fauna found were some camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus sp.) and three orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ). Returning to the canoe we spent the next three hours casually paddling beached the craft at 6:00 p.m. What a wonderful way to end our time in Arkansas. Three Forks Cave Adair County, Oklahoma April 10, 2017 By Mark Jones Leaving Steel Creek Research Center at 8:30 a.m. Dennis Novicky and I arrived at Clayton and Cynthia Rusof Three Forks Cave. to finish off the John Dave Entrance and associated passages. At 2:00 p.m. Clayton, Dennis and I hiked up the hill to the Washtub Entrance. A recent wildfire on Gittin Down Mountain had burned off decades of forest detritus that had accumulated giving us a much better view of the topography of the area. At the entrance dozens of white millipedes scoured the ground in search of something to eat. rived at Station U10 where our journey would begin. Having acquired a Disto X to survey some of the more opposed to using it in more civilized conditions. Dennis was on point reading backsights, Clayton read foresights and I sketched and took pictures. In twenty five feet the bellycrawl opened into a sixteen foot diameter room with three additional crawlways. One trended northeast, another northwest and the third north northwest. The first passage led to the John Dave Entrance so we opted to start there. A five foot tall narrow canyon with two short crawls shot a hundred feet straight to the rebar gate installed years ago. This was the initial entrance used before Submarine and Washtub were discovered. Numerous stalagmites lined the wall but were inactive or as I like to call them L.D.F. (Long Dead Formations). Signs of animal usage including cracked acorns, middens and scat indicated that this area is frequented by a multitude of critters. Returning to the second crawlway we took just three shots totaling 27 feet in a low, mud bellycrawl. Dennis confirmed that it connects to the Bee in February although it is a tight fit. The third crawl was a forty foot bellycrawl that popped up into a passage resembling the John Dave. It ran parallel fifty foot to a breakdown collapse most likely along the bluffline. L.D.F.s also lined the walls from start to finish. While I was making the last modifications to the sketch Clayton found six cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ) tucked into tiny vugs. A total of ten were found on our trip with eight of them paired up. We assume that it is breeding season for them and we had interrupted their amorous liaison. A smidge over 250 feet of cave was inventoried in three hours which the Muddy Maze. Other cave fauna sighted included an unidentified flying bat and half a dozen orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ). April 11, 2017 The foursome of Cynthia and Clayton


38 Russell, Dennis Novicky and me climbed up the hill at 9:00 a.m. to the Washtub Entrance of Three Forks Cave to survey in the Muddy Maze and beyond. In no time we were at Station M12, the endpoint of the last survey and the start of the Muddy Maze. Our plan was to hug the left wall to define the western extent of the Waterfall Passage to compare with our future survey trips into the Guad. With the Disto X in fine fettle we had Dennis on point setting stations and reading backsights, Clayton reading foresights, Cynthia conducting a biological inventory and me on book. For most of this section the passage fluctuated between one and two feet in height but of varying widths. The most consistent factor while in the Muddy Maze was the red, plastic mud. To flesh out the area we closed three small loops as well as three terminal crawls. Four crawlways to the right remain to be surveyed. Until we were through the Muddy Maze I was able to keep the paper and cave compass relatively clean. From here on out it was a constant struggle to prevent the mud from covering everything. Dennis stood too long in one spot and was nearly cemented in place by the unctuous clay. The more I tried to clean the paper and instruments the muddier it got. Even though we were in walking passage it was more difficult to negotiate than the Muddy Maze. Our options were to stay left surveying toward the Waterfall Room or turn right for the Elephant Room. We stuck left. Climbing up a mudslope we surveyed another eighty feet to the Waterfall Room. Today the water was trickling out of the waterfall down to a shallow pool that ran under a ledge, mixed with the clay and ran down to the Elephant Room. Dennis set the final station (M44) with more fun ahead. We cleaned off the gear as best we could to stow it and we began our struggle to escape the slimy mud. Since we were now coated in gooey mud the Muddy Maze was even more entertaining. Eventually everyone successfully slid through to walking canyon. A total of 471 feet were added to the books with several going leads to be addressed. Hopefully the Waterfall Passage will be completed on the next expedition. Total cave time was seven hours. April 12, 2017 Clayton Russell led Dennis Novicky and me at 9:00 a.m. up to the John Dave Entrance of Three Forks Cave so that we could survey the final twenty feet of passage past the rebar gate. The recent wildfire had made our climb much easier with nearly all of the undergrowth burned off. It also showed that Gittin Down Mountain is a very rocky slope. Once that was accomplished Dennis and I returned through the Washtub Entrance to mop up a ceiling crawl past the Roundhouse that trends toward the Bee Tree Entrance. Once again Dennis was on point and read backsights while I kept book and read foresights. Thankfully the Disto X was still functioning well so we were able to pass that between us. Tying into Station M4 we started the N Survey to the northeast. Other than one turn to the north the remainder of the shots headed northeast. Although the LRUDs (left, right, up, down) indicated a hands and knees crawl it was anything but. Narrow slots, low ledges, formation constrictions all hampered our ability to quickly move down the line. For a hundred feet we wiggled and squirmed to reach the next station. In fact when Dennis reached walking passage he was still crawling because he was crawling backwards. The walking passage continued seventy feet to a coon crawl that terminated (for us) fifteen feet later. A smattering of muddy soda straws, stalactites and stalagmites were seen in the roomier areas. This survey added another 208 feet to the map and no one ever needs to venture got to see every passage in Three


39 Forks Cave. The three day total was 950.2 feet with a grand total of 5,767.4 feet. (5,280 feet) and have set sights on two miles. ing remaining at this challenging Oklahoma cave. Cave fauna notes: Oodles (One oodle is slightly more than two gobs but less than a horde) of larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.) were observed in several of the shallow pools doting the floor. A few camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus sp.) were spotted hanging from the ceiling. Raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) tracks and scat indicated that they favor this passage. Later that evening Cynthia, Clayton and I sat around the porch to watch the bats flitter after insects. Several dozen bats entertained us until it got too dark to see them. Mike Lace and several Luther College students in Coldwater Cave, Ia. Photo by Ed Klausner.


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Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.