I N T E R C O M Volume 53, Issue 6 November December 2017 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Grotto Website: www.caves.org/grotto/iowa Coldwater Cave Project website: http://www.caves.org/project/ coldwater Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year and family dues are $18.00 per year. INTERCOM subscriptions are only $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 Dec 1st. Send material for publication, e mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Jenny Hackman 319 290 9282 18801 345th Ave Cresco, IA. 52136 E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Jenny Hackman, 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 November at 7:30 p.m. in Room 125 or therea b o u t s o f T r o w b r i d g e H a l l o n t h e c a m p u s o f the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. There is no December meeting. Cover Photo: "Flowstone formations in NW Arkansas cave". Cover and photo by Scott Dankof. 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 6 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 85 Trip reports: Kneebacker Cave 85 Indian Creek Caves 86 Crow Hole Caves 87 Stockman Cave 88 Lost Man Cave 89 Three Forks Cave 90 Stockman Cave 92 Buffalo National River Survey 93 Ozark National Scenic Riverways 94 Mark Twin National Forest 97 Ozark National Scenic Riverways 98 Backbone State Park 99 Mystery Cave 100 Photo Gallery 102
__________CALENDAR___________ January Grotto Meeting Jan 24 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall February Grotto Meeting Feb 28 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall March Grotto Meeting Mar 28 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall April Grotto Meeting Apr 25 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting: November 15, 2017 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:30 PM. 4 members and no guests were present. A presentation was given by Ed Klausner on recent cave trips by grotto members. Secretary Lizzy Miller read the minutes of the meeting. They were approved as corrected. There was no Trip reports: Jack Daniels cave, Hazard Cave, Dunbar Cave and a number Future Trips: Mike Lace would like resurvey and the trip would be a good place to train surveyors. Backbone ridgewalking is still to be planned. A trip to Kemling cave will be scheduled after bat hibernation, probably in April. A Mystery Cave vertical trip will be planned for December. Old business: A Dubuque Herald story was on caving safely and how to go about it was well written. They had conducted an interview with Ed Klausner. New Business: There will be no meeting in December, 2017. The group had an open discussion on interesting members in meetings and caving. The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 PM. No December, 2017 Meeting. Kneebacker Cave Buffalo National River Newton County, Arkansas November 18, 2017 By: Mark Jones Dillon Freiburger, Bryant Galloway, Kayla Sapkota, Julie Terhune and I met at Steel Creek to finish up Kneebacker Cave in the Buffalo National River before the start of the 2 nd Annual Texas A & M University of Galveston Bio speleology 325 field camp. Back in October we had surveyed over five hundred feet of joint controlled crawlway in this cave leaving another estimated five hundred feet to be inventoried. Dillon, Kayla and I wore a mix and match of wetsuit combination (Dillon in a 3 mm, Kayla with a wetsuit top and me in 7 mm bibs) while Bryant and Julie used the non wetsuit layer system. The shelter entrance funnels down quickly to a hands and knees chert crawl that zigzags through a shallow stream several hundred feet to an ear dip before surprisingly breaking out into the highly decorated Salamander Room. During our crawl we found cave salamanders, Oklahoma salamanders, dark sided salamanders and some larval salamanders but upon entering the Salamander Room Kayla had the best biological discovery when she spotted a female w estern slimy salamander with four hatchlings tucked into a tiny nook. Our survey began at the far end of the Salamander Room at Station C1 with Bryant on point, Julie reading foresights, Dillon sketching the profile, Kayla drawing the plan and cross sections and me, due to camera issues, in the supervisory position. The first couple of shots took us to a massive flowstone column where the watercrawl continued off to the left. hope of being anything but a sewer tube but Bryant was soon standing up long before we were back on our bellies sliding over sand and/or chert cobble. Again it seemed that the remainder of the cave would be low and nasty but surprisingly it once again opened up into a very well decorated dome room. Another low crawl pushed the team down deeper into the water ant pushed a heinous ear dip belly
crawl another thirty feet before abandoning any hope of further exploration. We ended the day with over four hundred feet for a total cave length of slightly less than a thousand feet. Not too bad for an uninviting watercrawl. Cave fauna noted on this trip included three pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), a pickerel frog ( Rana palustris ), two dozen cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ), two dark sided salamanders ( Eurycea longicauda melanopleura ), five w estern slimy salamanders ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ), six Oklahoma salamanders ( Eurycea tynerensis ), some larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.), orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ), camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and aquatic isopods ( Caecidotea sp.). O ther signs of critters included raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) tracks and eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat. Indian Creek Caves Buffalo National River Newton County, Arkansas November 19, 2017 By: Mark Jones The 2 nd Annual Texas A & M University of Galveston Bio speleology 325 field camp arrived in Ponca on Saturday evening for a week of intense fieldwork and hands on training relating to the cave sciences hosted by the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.). After the opening remarks on Sunday by Kayla Sapkota the students signed up for the various trips offered for the day. Dillon Freiburger and I were joined by Faith Barajas, Rhett Finley, Amber Hartman, Christian Hockley, Courtney Martin and Alexa Smith for a hike in the Buffalo National River up the Buffalo The Needle area. Weaving up the Buffalo River Trail for a quarter mile we cut off at the Indian Creek Trail heading south for another mile up a narrowing canyon to Horseshoe Cave, a significant gray bat site. Just beyond this point a thirty foot waterfall blocked our ascent so we scaled the steep slope on the right utilizing a handline to access Christmas Cave and beyond. Christmas Cave With a massive shelter entrance near the top of the bluff Christmas Cave is difficult feature to miss. At the top of a steep slope the dripline spanned a hundred fifty feet with a vertical range of a hundred feet and a total length of a hundred feet. With such exposure to the sun plants were scattered all along the floor. The only indication of human usage was a couple of fire pits, one old and one new. Signs of cave fauna included eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat and nests and organ pipe mud dauber ( Trypoxylon politum) nests this cave we skirted along a ledge on the left to a window to continue up Indian Creek. Chert Cave For the next five hundred feet we scrambled over boulders and climbed over rocks to the base of Eye of the Needle formation. A narrow fifty foot vertical slot spanning the canyon appears to be the remains of a pit that has been eroded away over the years. The base of this impressive karst feature has recently become an unfortunately popular spot for graffitists. We dined in the shadow of the Eye of the Needle before splitting up into two teams. Dillon led Christian and Alexa up the near vertical slope on left side of the Eye of the Needle to survey some caves near the top of the bluff. The rest of the group remained to monitor nearby Chert Cave. Choosing the middle of three entrances we climbed tion with an easy crawl in both directions. The right hand branch ended in a thirty foot drop that is accessible from the lower entrance while the left hand side wrapped
The usual cave fauna included two orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ), some flies ( Diptera sp.) but I did find a vole that had set up residency in the shelter. Quite a bit of eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat and associated middens were also seen. Crow Hole Caves Buffalo National River Newton County, Arkansas November 20, 2017 By: Mark Jones With every intention of finish off the survey of Van Dyke Cave for the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) in Cecil Cove of the Buffalo National River I assembled an excited vanload of students from the Texas A & M University of Galveston Bio speleology 325 class at 9:00 a.m. for the drive over to Erbie. Unfortunately after traveling seven miles down a rutted gravel road a barricade prevented us from continuing. Bridgework was being done further down the road and would continue into next year. A quick glance at the trail map showed another three miles of hiking before reaching the Erbie trailhead. Reviewing our options we decided to abandon this survey and drive down the road to Crow Hole to do some moni t o r i n g a n d p o s s i b l e s u r v e y i n g . Right Bank Cave Matt Baumgartner and I had surveyed some caves down from Crow Hole back in October so even without cave coorstumble across the nearest cave, Right Bank Cave. Perched in a rocky outcropping this lackluster forty footer took only a few minutes to monitor. A few flies ( Diptera sp.) and some eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat were all that were seen. Rat Cove Cave Above Right Bank Cave was the smaller, but much more biologically active Rat Cove Cave. Because of the around to another slot canyon leading to the upper entrance. Exiting the cave we walked downslope and poked around the base of the bluff for a bit before finding the lower entrance twelve feet above the streambed. A three foot diameter window dropped down to a small room with three possibilities an alcove on the right, a bellycrawl to the south and a canyon passage to the west. The canyon ended at a twenty foot drop decorated with active flowstone. Next we wiggled down the bellycrawl that gradually dropped to a forty foot dome at the basement level that connected to the upper entrances. The cave is named for the obvious wall of chert layers in this area. A stoopwalk continued another fifty feet before morphing into a hundred foot cherty bellycrawl. No one wanted to push this so we retreated to the entrance. Cave fauna noted included eight pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), three dozen orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ), two dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), six heliomyzid flies and a terrestrial caterpillar. Extensive eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat as well as several middens were also seen. Opera Box Cave While Rhett, Amber and Courtney scoured the hillside around Chert Cave for some potential cave locations with spurious data Faith and I headed three hundred feet down the canyon to survey and monitor a small cave complex on the west wall. This group consisted of a large stream level cave with a low, wide balcony and a small, narrow balcony above. Faith was on point and I took readings and kept book. Starting with the lower shelter we defined the perimeter in three shots before Faith climbed up to investigate the balconies. While she could access the larger room on the left the other remained out of reach. Total surveyed length was just under eighty feet.
extensive eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat this thirty foot cave boasted springtails ( Collembola , vari o u s s p e c i e s ) w h i c h f e d t h e p s e u d oscorpions ( Hesperochernes occidentalis ). S everal camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), some orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ) and scads of flies ( Diptera sp.) were also noted. Several abandoned organ pipe mud dauber ( Trypoxylon politum) nests were also seen under the dripline. Two Step Cave Just around the corner from Rat Cove Cave we found the trickling spring leading to Two Step Cave. During our survey in October Matt and I found this forty foot cave to have significant biological activity and we hoped to see similar results tochel stood out in the quest for cave fauna. Salamanders found included a cave ( Eurycea lucifuga ), a western slimy ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ), three Ozark zigzags ( Plethodon angusticlavius ), four Oklahomas ( Eurycea tynerensis ) and six dark sided ( Eurycea longicauda melanopleura ). Three pickerel frogs ( Rana palustris ), s everal camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), a few orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ), a fishing spider ( Dolomedes sp.), a harvestman ( Leiobunum sp.), a dozen silverfish ( Thysanurans sp.) and oodles of flies ( Diptera sp.) as well as a dozen aquatic amphipods, a dozen aquatic isopods and a few aquatic cave flatworms ( Dendrocoelopsis americana ) were also seen. Signs of other animal usage included r accoon ( Procyon lotor ) and eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat. Basement Cave Sticking to the base of the bluff we hiked around to a fabulous cave deceptively camouflaged as a mere shelter. Last year the Texas A & M University group found that the mud floor of this shelter was cut down allowing access to quite a bit more passage. While the students explored the recesses of the cave Aaron Thompson and I began the survey. Since gave him a few pointers about reading the compass and inclinometer and we were on our way. The first shot of thirty feet to the west defined the shelter area funneling down to a wide, sandy bellycrawl pinch that twenty feet later popped open into a roomy stoopwalk that trended south another fifty feet. Beyond this point the passage opened up even more but since we were running out of time a terminal shot was taken to Station B4. Several hundred feet remain to be surveyed and inventoried. All the while the survey was in progress the Texas A & M students were out of sight monitoring the depths of the cave. They found two Oklahoma salamanders ( Eurycea tynerensis ), a pickerel frog ( Rana palustris ), a dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), another dozen orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ), a fishing spider ( Dolomedes sp.), a harvestman ( Leiobunum sp.), a cave webworm ( Macrocera nobilis ), numerous flies ( Diptera sp.), and a few aquatic isopods. Signs of other animal usage included r accoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat and an eastern phoebe ( Sayornis phoebe ) nest . For being an improvised trip it was very productive. Stockman Cave Buffalo National River Newton County, Arkansas November 21, 2017 By: Mark Jones For my last day at the November Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition working with the Texas A & M University of Galveston Bio speleology 325 group (Rachel Adams, Lizzie Baylor, Fernando Calderon Gutierrez, Christian Hockley, Brendon Hopper and Josh Ring.) Kayla Sapkota assigned me to lead two survey parties to Stockman Cave. Included in this trip were Dillon Freiburger and
Aaron Thompson. A pleasant two mile hike down the Buffalo Trail brought us directly above the entrance hidden in a rocky outcropping. I took one group to the back while Dillon would be working near the entrance with the other. expansive terminal breakdown room (the Big Breakdown Room) that trended south that needed to be finished. Fernando was on point, Aaron read backsights and I kept book. Starting at Station B10 we wrapped counterclockwise around the perimeter a hundred feet to a breakdown choke that Aaron pushed to the end. Fernando explored another parallel pancake passage but, alas, it also shut down. Back in the breakdown room we tied in a beautiful flowstone wall before weaving our way back to our starting point. Our plan survey ended at sections and a running profile remaining. Meanwhile assignment near the entrance. With to close the books on Stockman Cave. Addendum: Rachel and Brendon spent a majority of the trip conducting the biological survey. Their results included two dozen pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), six cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ), two western slimy salamanders ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ), an Oklahoma salamander ( Eurycea tynerensis ), a dark sided salamander ( Eurycea longicauda melanopleura ), a pickerel frog ( Rana palustris ), s everal dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), dozens of orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ), six fishing spiders ( Dolomedes sp.), a dozen harvestmen ( Leiobunum sp.), a dozen springtails ( Collembola , various species), a dozen pseudoscorpions ( Hesperochernes occidentalis ), six cave webworms ( Macrocera nobilis ), scads of flies ( Diptera sp.) and a few aquatic amphipods. Signs of other recent animal usage included r accoon ( Procyon lotor ) paw prints and some eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat. Lost Man Cave Ozark National Scenic Riverway Carter County, Missouri November 29, 2017 By: Mark Jones After a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family I was ready to return to Missouri to repair the damage to the Lost Man Cave gate. The 2012 bat gate rendition replaced an antiquated A frame gate that had become obsolete. Unfortunately this new barrier has been breached twice since it was installed once a gate bar was removed and the second time the vandals had chiseled the rock ceiling to gain access. In February while monitoring the cave Ken Grush and I noticed a twenty foot hank of three inch barge rope draped over the gate and ten feet down to the muddy, inclined floor. The fearless and foolish trespassers had somehow managed to not only descend, but ascend this knotted rope. Hopefully this time we can prevent any further issues. to gather dimensions and get an idea of how to fix the problem. Since the welding to that framework to plug the hole. With good measurements I was able to prefabricate the two risers and six gate bars ahead of time to expedite the operation. I loaded the metal and welding gear into the truck the night before to be on the road at 6:00 a.m. I met Derek Saffle of the National Park Service in Van Buren and we were unloading equipment at the site at 8:00 a.m. The ongoing drought had Derek using the leaf blower to clear a firebreak around the cave entrance and the generator to prevent a forest fire. Meanwhile I dropped down to prepare the site and arrange room for the gear. Following that we lowered the angle iron and welding equipment. For the next five hours I assembled the addition to the gate with very little problem. Since it was appar
finish I instructed Derek on the basics of welding and had him doing some of the work. In addition to the four foot vertical gate we added a three foot horizontal barrier to deter future illegal entry. Once the gate was in place we hoisted all the gear out and loaded it back into the truck. Before leaving we wrestled a large rock away from the entrance that had rolled down the slope. With any luck this will be the last time Three Forks Cave Russell Preserve Adair County, Oklahoma December 1 3, 2017 By: Ed Klausner Mark Jones has been feeding me survey notes for Three Forks Cave in Oklahoma for about a year and I have been drafting the map. Elizabeth and I finally got a chance to visit the cave and add some survey. Clayton and Cynthia Russell have a cabin on their property set up for cavers. It was very comfortable and decorated with cave maps, cave pictures, and various pieces of caving gear. The first day was a short caving day where Clayton and Cynthia showed us various sections of the cave and I made some modifications to the map and added a few cross sections. The second day was more serious as we went through a small muddy crawl to reach our first station. Survey was through some thick mud, but it was standing passage. After a few stations, we came to a large room on the left called the Elephant Room. We took our survey line through the room and left two leads for later survey. From the Elephant Room, we headed towards a room with many bear claw marks made from the Short Faced Bear of the Pleistocene. Clayton had found other Short Faced Bear fossils in the cave along with fossil teeth of a Tapir. After this newly named Bear Claw Scratch Room, we surveyed towards another room that had formations that were being reabsorbed. This was the of survey done. We then had the long slog out of the cave. With the gooey mud on our clothes, we picked up leaves on the way down the hill from the entrance and looked quite comical. The last day was again a short day as we were heading to Arkansas to try to finish the survey of a cave in Buffalo National River. Mark, Elizabeth and I surveyed a few short leads in the cave that were saved for just such an occasion. Total was 160 feet of survey. By mid afternoon we were heading east to Arkansas. December 1, 2017 By: Mark Jones This past fall I had invited Ed Klausner and Elizabeth Miller to join Clayton and Cynthia Russell and me down in Oklahoma for the December survey trip. Thankfully they were able to squeeze us into their busy caving schedule. Just like me they were unaware of the fabulous caves that exist in the Ozarks of eastern Oklahoma. When I began surveying Three Forks Cave last year I was drawn into this fascinating area and was excited to share it with them. As an added bonus since Ed is doing the cartography of the cave it was important to have him see it firsthand. For their initial trip we entered through the Washtub Entrance and wandered down to the Grand Junction where we checked a couple leads before continuing down to the First Parachute Room. Ed made some quick notes here before we slipped over to the Submarine Entrance to take a peek at the massive breakdown leading to the inappropriately named Breathing Entrance. This entrance is in name only as it is a critter crawl stuffed with an assortment of wire and even a log chain. From here it was over to a small unsurveyed canyon loop and then on to the Second Parachute Room where Ed sketched a necessary cross -
section. Backtracking to the Grand Junction we wrapped around to the Hanging Rock of Death near the Gargoyle Entrance. Another cross section was sketched here before visiting the breached rimstone dams at the First Guad. While fourteen pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) were spotted during our trip the most exciting find was when Cynthia discovered seven newly hatched larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.) in a three inch diameter splashcup stalagmite behind the Waterfall Junction. In addition a nearby shallow perched pool boasted two dozen salamander ( Eurycea sp.) eggs. A couple of cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ), a d ozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and another dozen orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ) were also recorded during our four hour trip. December 2, 2017 By: Mark Jones The second day at Three Forks Cave Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, Clayton and Cynthia Russell and I entered the Washtub Entrance at 9:00 a.m. We squirmed through the Muddy Maze to Station M38 on a muddy stalactiflat in a slot canyon leading to the Elephant Room. Ed would be on book, Elizabeth setting stations, Clayton on point, Cynthia recording the cave fauna and me shooting the Disto X. The ER survey began with a healthy thirty eight foot shot in boot sucking mud to the northeast to a ceiling crawl intersection. Con-
tinuing sixty feet in the mud to the northeast we squeezed through a low level crawl that finally opened into a respectable canyon for another sixty feet to the southern edge of the Elephant Room. Along the way we passed three leads, two at Station ER9 and one at Station ER10. The thirty foot wide by forty foot Elephant Room evidently possesses an elephant like formation but I obvious passages radiating out. Focusing on the westerly lead we twisted around to another slightly smaller room to the northwest. On the north wall Cynthia and Clayton found hundreds of previously unknown claw marks of the long extinct short faced bear ( Arctodus simus )(?) etched into the rock. Numerous photos were snapped of these fascinating scratches, perhaps someone with a deeper knowledge of cave fauna will be able to enlighten us as to what creature left them. We left the lead to the west (and the Rimdirt Room) unresolved but did finish the passage to the northwest that terminated in a small alcove. Running out of time and with plenty of good leads remaining past the Elephant Room we tied off and returned to Station ER10 in an attempt to mop up this area. This eighty foot room to the southeast has some of the nicest formations of the day a blackened rimstone dam, a fractured column and numerous formations being dissolved by dripping water. A lead to the south going back a hundred feet to the Muddy Maze awaits survey. Retreating to the northwest we tied into Station ER9 to conclude the day with 510.6 feet, total cave length time was six hours. Cave fauna included a few pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) and a dozen larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.). December 3, 2017 By: Mark Jones For the final day at Three Forks Cave Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller and I did some mop up survey at the Breathing Entrance area. On the way from the Washtub Entrance we spied the first and only Oklahoma salamander ( Eurycea tynerensis ) of the trip just beyond the Grand Junction. In the breakdown room outside the Breathing Entrance we unpacked the survey gear to start our day. Ed kept book, Elizabeth set stations and was on point while I took readings with the Disto X. An initial shot to the south took us to within twelve feet of the Breathing Entrance. This unless one is looking to wriggle through a tight breakdown pinch surrounded by wire fencing embedded in concrete with a decorative twenty foot log chain adorning the passage. The survey continued under a huge breakdown slab and sixty feet later circled back to tie into our starting station. A hundred feet west of the Breathing Entrance we tied into Station S9 and headed southeast twelve feet to a side passage on the right that went due south and looped around a canyon for fifty feet. A narrow slot canyon to the west is still in need of survey but will require someone smaller than myself to push. The Passing by the Waterfall Junction we stopped to take pictures at the salamander nursery that Cynthia Russell found on Friday. Total cave time was three hours. Stockman Cave Buffalo National River Newton County, Arkansas December 4, 2017 Being only three hours from Three Forks Cave, Stockman Cave in Arkansas offered the perfect finale in the Ozarks for Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller and me for the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.). Last month Dil-
lon Freiburger and I led a group from Texas A & M to finish surveying the cave but fell short. Our goal was to close the book today so that Ed could complete the map. After spending the night at Steel Creek in the Buffalo National River we were on the trail by 8:30 a.m. and at the cave an hour later. We began at the back of the cave in the Big Breakdown Room where Ed sketched a running profile as well as a cross section. I assisted by taking shots with the Disto X while Elizabeth counted bats. During Eliza b e t h s s e a r c h s h e d i s c o v e r e d t h e remnants of numerous torch fragments scattered around the room. Ed knocked off the cave leads as we worked our way back to the entrance. Everything was falling into place with only insignificant leads that could be sketched in. Expecting to quickly cross off the last couple of leads in the entrance area I wiggled under a large piece of breakdown that terminated after twenty feet. Meanwhile Elizabeth was poking around the edge of the room to confirm that there was nothing of note. Instead crawl that goes! Flabbergasted with this information Ed and I broke out the gear to begin the survey. Ed was on book, Elizabeth was rightly on point and setting stations and I took Disto X readings. A barren twenty five foot crawl popped into a surprisingly deco r a t e d p a n c a k e c r a w l t r e n d i n g s o u t hwest. It was a forty foot wide passage with jail bars splitting the passage down the middle. The left side is inaccessible from this direction but may be enterable from another direction. Formations lined the ceiling fractures as well as dotted the floor. There were no indications in the mud that anyone has recently visited this part of the cave. The passage continued another amazing Actually it stopped going southwest, to the north Elizabeth scooted seventy five feet in another a low pancake passage! More cave may exist beyond a mud pinch that needs to be pushed. Elizabeth outdid herself with this discovery. Concerned about hiking two miles back to the vehicle in the rain we set a permanent station and headed to the entrance. no one felt too bad about missing our goal another 161.3 feet of virgin passage was added to Stockman Cave. Addendum: Only a bat census for the fauna records was taken during this trip. Twenty five pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) were counted in the main cave with only a single pip found in the new section. Buffalo National River Surveying Newton County, Arkansas December 4, 2017 By: Ed Klausner Mark Jones suggested stopping in Arkansas on the way home from Three Forks Cave in Oklahoma to continue on in Buffalo National River. Elizai l y e x t e n d e d o u r t r i p b y a d a y . Rain was predicted and there is a two mile hike to the cave, so we brought rain gear and hoped for the best. The last section of the hike is on a steep hillside just before the cave entrance. The rain held off on our way to the cave and we quickly worked our way to the back of the cave to do a profile and some cross sections. The last survey crew didalso cleared up a few questions I had on a previous sketch. When checking a lead near the entrance, Elizabeth slipped into a small crack, then went through a small hole and shouted that the passage continued and got much wider and slightly taller. We tied to a nearby survey station and began our survey short shots, we started getting longer shots with 20 and then 40 foot wide passage, all virgin.
want to hike back in the dark (and possibly rain as well), so we reluctantly left going passage (Elizabeth said it went an additional 75 feet before a tight spot, but then opened up again.) We also left a lead going in the opposite direction at the beginning of our new survey, plus two leads near the beginning of the survey. It had rained, but was no longer raining when we got out. We made it back to the car without any problem and are planning our next trip to extend the known length of the cave. Ozark National Scenic Riverways Shannon County, Missouri December 8, 2017 By: Mark Jones Medlock Cave (SHN006) Scott House had a laundry list of caves needing monitoring by the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) so Brenda Goodnight, Dennis Novicky and I decided to drive up to Medlock Cave on the Upper Current to service the gate and take guano measurements. Morning temperatures in the single digits had Dennis in muck boots while Brenda and I opted to wear neoprene chest waders to wade across the Curgot topped by the icy water so he had to change shoes before entering the cave. A fifty foot climb up a rubble slope brought us to the seven foot high, thirty foot wide entrance slope. Although the outside temperature hovered around freezing it was 40Â° warmer inside. The repairs appear to be holding up well as there were no indications that the gate has been breached. It took a few minutes to shake the lock loose but eventually I wiggled it free. This six hundred foot cave mations but a series of twenty foot domes offer the perfect summer maternity roost for gray bats ( Myotis grisescens ). In addition an active stream stretched all the way from Emerald Lake Room in the back to the spring entrance. A hundred feet inside we found the first guano pile layers of guano indicate that this has been a popular roosting site for many years. Upon closer inspection the piles showed to be alive with all sorts of crawling critters. While reviewing the photos and the guano measurements later with Scott House it was estimated that 18,000 gray bats reside in this cave during the summer. No bats were found until halfway into the cave where the passage narrowed and became colder. Three dozen pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), a dozen Indiana bats ( Myotis sodalis ) and three big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ) were found dotting the ceiling. Scott House had seen a group of Indianas on a previous winter monitoring trip indicating that a small family of them has decided to use this for hibernation. A la rge swath of guano flecking covered the floor in this area. The deeper we ventured the deeper the mud became until it became too difficult to slog the last hundred feet to the Emerald Lake Room. A Salem cave crayfish ( Cambarus hubrichti ) was found in the stream alongside a submerged work boot. (Brenda checked the book to see if someone was buried in the mud.) We exited after two hours with the satisfaction that the bats of Medlock Cave were doing well. Devils Well Cave (SHN001) On the way back from Medlock Cave Cave. To reinforce a worn out latch around the gate bar to prevent an accident. All went well. December 9, 2017 Indian Cave (SHN145) Brenda Goodnight, Dennis Novicky and I headed to Pulltite Landing on
the Upper Current for our second day of Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) work in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. With a cold wind blowing the canoe trip across the river was thankfully short. Immediately after beaching our boat we spotted the first cave of the day, Indian Cave. Perched thirty feet above the river was the obvious five foot high, thirty foot wide entrance. The entire hundred feet of the dusty passage was an easy hands and knees crawl amongst bone dry formations. It appears that ture anymore. In spite of being situ a t e d s o c l o s e t o t h e P u l l t i t e T r a i l there were no indications of any recent visitation no trash, no graffiti, no signs at all. We did find dozens of camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) as well as an orb weaver ( Meta ovalis ) egg sac along with an abundance of raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. Lodge Cave (SHN368) Following the Pulltite Trail we wrapped around the bluff to the historic lodge for a quick peek. Dennis noticed that the log walls were not laid horizontal like a log cabin, but were set on end like a fort. The structure is in good shape but it seems that the reason that there was no graffiti in Indian Cave was because the vandals were saving their to prevent vandalism in such an expansive park as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Thirty feet above the lodge on the hillside is the reverse slope entrance to Lodge Cave. Basically this eighty foot cave is a single room that angles down to pinch down to a solid wall. Again there were no signs of any human visitation which was good for the three big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ), two pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) and dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ). Pulltite Branch Cave (SHN196) We continued up to Pulltite Spring to observe the handiwork of the resident beavers at the base of the bluff before backtracking to Pulltite Branch Cave. Not far from the lodge this cave boasts two four foot diameter entrances that meet in a small room where the cave continues in three crawlways that all pinch out. No signs that anyone has stopped by here either. Cave fauna noted included a lone pipistrelle or tri colored bat ( Perimyotis subflavus ), a dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), a dozen orb weavers ( Meta ovalis ) and associated egg sacs and two fishing spiders ( Dolomedes sp.). The floor was carpeted with tree limbs gnawed by some busy beaver (s) ( Castor Canadensis ) and littered with raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. Ceiling Crack Cave (SHN360) As we searched for Fire Hydrant Cave we wandered upstream along the bluffline with Brenda at water level, Dennis midway up the hill and me movpotential cave from the campground so with plenty of time decided to hike up to see for ourselves. There wasfirst thousand feet but then Dennis and I spotted a break in the bluff that seemed enticing. I reached the thirty foot wide by two foot high entrance first and crawled in a boxy crawlway twenty feet to find that it had a backdoor where I met Dennis. Retreating to the main entrance I noticed a similar entrance off to the left. A low, wide crawlway appeared to shutdown in twenty feet, but instead of pinching out it popped into a nicely decorated ten foot domeroom. A couple of critter crawls continued, spider ( Dolomedes sp.) and a few slugs ( Megapallifera sp.) and the obligatory raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. The cave files revealed that this is Ceiling Crack Cave. Waterfall Cave (SHN086) From Grapevine Cave it was another
two hundred feet along the bluff forty feet above the Current River to our next discovery. A four foot diameter entrance to a dusty crawlway I turned around the corner and saw a beautiful chocolate rimstone dam spanning the passage! An impressive amount of water cascaded over the dam in spite of being so high above the river. The water disappeared down a small drain. Dennis was able to slide over the dam and navigate over a shallow pool to peek around a bend to see more passage. We estimate the cave at sixty feet but a wetsuit would be advised to push any further. A fishing spider ( Dolomedes sp.) and a few camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) were all we saw along with the obligatory raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. According to the cave records this is Waterfall Cave but there is no map on file so a survey trip would be in order. Tater Cave (SHN027) While Dennis and I had found these two caves Brenda had continued upstream to find the potential cave foot diameter entrance filled with breakdown blocks quickly funneled down to a narrow, six foot canyon on the left that meandered into the hillside. Behind a dry rimstone dam was another rimstone dam where water had pooled. A film of calcite floated on the surface indicating that it has been stagnant for a while. Several nails were found scattered at the bottom of the pool. Avoiding the pool we stayed high in the canyon for the next eighty feet squeezing through some occasional flowstone pinches before dropping back down to water level. Dennis pushed another fifty feet and reported going passage. Obviously canoers have visited this cave but confirm that it is in the cave files. Back at the research center we discovered that this is Tater Cave. A map may or may not exist so further data mining is needed. Cave fauna in this cave included a cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ), two larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.), some camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ), a deceased frog ( Rana sp.), and a dead terrestrial centipede. In addition we found two eastern phoebe ( Sayornis phoebe ) nests, some eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat and plenty of raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. December 10, 2017 Little Daveys Hollow Cave (SHN680) Rather than spend the day watching professional football Dennis Novicky and I drove down to Bocker Landing to follow up on a promising cave lead. On the way to Daveys Hollow Cave last month Don Dunham, Scott House and I Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) records. Wading across the Jacks Fork River we hiked up the hollow a short distance before climbing up to our objective. Dennis would be on point setting stations and reading backsights while I would be keeping book and reading foresights. A GPS reading was taken for the cave files. The entrance was sixteen feet wide and from three to six feet tall. A twenty foot shot took us into a nice ten foot high atrium decorated with inactive flowstone. The passage then pinched down requiring us to chimney up seven feet to a small balcony room. The ceiling and walls were adorned with desiccated formations along with some nice popcorn and the floor had a shallow pool but the passage abruptly ended for anything but small woodland creatures. Total cave length was recorded at just under fifty feet. A few camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) were all we saw. Little Daveys Hollow Cave Annex (SHN681) Not twenty feet from Little Daveys Hollow Cave we stumbled across the entrance to a hands and knees crawl just packed up Dennis set off to in-
vestigate this find. The first order of business was to record the GPS location for the cave files. This cave is a dusty, dry crawlway that hooks around clockwise fifty four feet before closing down in a critter crawl. An imposing inactive column is the only formation of note. A few couple crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) were noted along with some eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat. visit this small cave. Daveys Hollow Cave (SHN533) Ridgewalking up the hollow another quarter mile we passed the impressive landslide from last spring just prior to reaching Daveys Hollow Cave. The avalanche of rock and trees filled the bottom of the hollow and backflowed into a nearby small cave. It will be quite some time before this been to Daveys Hollow Cave we stopped in have a look. The two hundred feet of easy walking was much appreciated. Unlike the visit back in November two big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ) were the only signs of cave life we noted today. Upstream Daveys Hollow Cave (SHN682) Continuing up the hollow we reached a split where we took the right branch with Dennis on the left ridge and me on the right. Shadows and small vugs in the bluff were investigated but nothing panned out until I bumbled on an obscure two foot diameter entrance crawlway. By the time Dennis had arrived the GPS location was logged and I was ready to record data. It only required two shots to inventory this dry, thirty eight foot crawl but another cave has been added to the growing Missouri Cave Database. A fishing spider ( Dolomedes sp.) and some raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat were seen in the cave. Other than to satisfy an urge to crawl through raccoon scat there is little reason to return any time soon. Mark Twain National Forest Oregon County, Missouri December 11, 2017 By: Mark Jones Wolf Den Cave (ORE093) Wolf Den Cave, a cave missing for over three decades was rediscovered recently by a team of Forest Service personnel after decades of being lost. Before it receded back into oblivion Mick Sutton wanted to map it and record its GPS location. Jake Pluim, an archeologist with the Forest Service led Sue Hagan, Mick and me on long hike down a four wheeler trail. Sue thought that she could drive up the trail so she retreated to the truck while the rest of us continued on. Shortly we arrived at the base of a hill that we ascended short distance to a large tree. At the base of the tree was a three foot diameter pit that dropped down eight feet. Mick did a quick biological inventory which revealed greenery from an eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) midden, a few fungus gnats ( Macrocera nobilis ) and a couple of camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ). The survey of a survey a six foot shot followed by a thirteen foot shot was all it took. Mick kept book and I shot the Disto X. No one needs to return for another thirty years but next GPS location. Willow Tree Cave (SHN018) We enjoyed an unseasonably warm afternoon hiking another mile down the trail to Willow Tree Cave in a rocky hillside. A majority of the four hundred foot passage was ten feet wide by five foot high making for a very enjoyable experience. The first hundred feet had a dry, cobbly floor but from that point on a small rivulet serpentined along the floor. A nice variety of active formations were noted throughout the cave but the cave biota was the most interesting.
Mick spent quite a bit of time chasing flies and hunting for aquatic creatures. His report is certainly more thorough than what I recorded. I counted s ix big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ), two pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), swarms of flies ( Diptera sp.) and some camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) on the sur( Eurycea sp.), dozens of aquatic amphipods ( Crangonyx forbesi ) and aquatic isopod ( Caecidotea antricola ) in the water. In addition we saw an eastern phoebe ( Sayornis phoebe ) nest, eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) scat and raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. Ozark National Scenic Riverways Carter County, Missouri December 12, 2017 By: Mark Jones Barkdull Cave (CTR013) Sue Hagan and I teamed up to monitor some caves on the Lower Current River while Scott House worked on the cave files within the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Parking at the Big Spring Resurgence we hiked down the Slough Trail to a weepy seep leading up to Barkdull Cave. Fifty feet above the trail at the base of rock bluff is the five foot high sixty foot wide entrance opening. A persistent drought had lowered the water level substantially below normal making it easy to enter and monitor the foyer. Stoopwalking around the perimeter of the room I was hard pressed to find very much in the way of cave life. Eventually I did spy a solitary aquatic amphipod ( Crangonyx forbesi ) scooting around the silt and raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) tracks. The passage continues as a watercrawl but exploration. Barkdull Shelter (CTR067) Around the corner from Barkdull Cave is a small shelter that needed monitoring. All of five minutes was spent trying desperately to find any sign of cave critters but alas we left empty handed. Big Spring Well Cave (CTR001) Before leaving the area we walked over to have a look at the blowout of the Big Spring Well Cave entrance. I had installed a temporary fix earlier this fall to address the opening due to the epic flooding last April. The gate was serving its purpose but a long term solution will be needed in 2018. Granite Quarry Cave (CTR006) Just a couple of miles away was our next cave but we had to backtrack across the Current River to Van Buren and down the east side to access it. Debris from the biblical flooding in April covered the riverbed for miles toys, furniture, appliances, garage doors, roofs, etc. One of the more impressive sights was a picnic table perched in a tree twenty feet above the water. The roadway paralleling the river was scoured away resulting in stretches of very rough road. In spite of all these issues we were able to find the pull off to park. A climb up the steep slope a hundred feet leveled off at the base of a bluff with the gaping entrance to Granite Quarry Cave. The gate was in good shape with no signs of any visitation. With a forty feet wide by twelve feet high entrance there was no heat trap so the cave temperature was very close to the outside temperature. Not surprisingly j ust inside the entrance we found the first of eight big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ). These guys absolutely love to be cold and this cave fits that niche. A hundred feet inside we found two piles of active piles of guano a Deeper in the passage the breakdown floor was speckled with guano. Obviously some sort of colonial bat is utilizing this cave at some other time. Further study using sonar detectors or thermal imaging in the
summer may be the best way to answer this question. The only other cave life we observed were some camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and a few flies ( Diptera sp.). Little Granite Quarry Cave (CTR062) Around the corner from Granite Quarry Cave was our next objective, Little Granite Quarry Cave. A hands and knees crawl angled down to a simple one bar gate before another twenty feet of crawling. As we popped into walking passage we were greeted by a Western slimy salamander ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ) spotted another, then another and another. One small section of Swiss cheese rock housed eight of them! Within the first few steps we counted twenty of these little fellas. A couple dozen surface millipedes ( Scutigera sp.) scurried around the salamanders. Soon we were in a twelve foot high dome room where a solitary big brown bat ( Eptesicus fuscus ) and three pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) were hanging out. It was surprising to find a big brown in such a warm room. We also found o ld graffiti on some flowstone being gradually coated in a thin veneer of calcite. Continu i n g d o w n t h e m u d d y p a s s a g e a f e w h eliomyzid flies were seen on the wall but no other cave life was noted. An eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) midden and associated scat and raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat were also seen during the trip. Backbone State Park Delaware County, Iowa December 3, 2017 By: Mark Jones Larry Welch was itching to get out to do some ridgewalking in Iowa so Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller and I joined him at Backbone State Park in search of some end of the year caves. With good weather predicted and templeasant hike down the Bluebird Trail to a break in the bluff along the Lakeside Trail. Bluebird Cave Almost immediately we stumbled upon a solutional tube ten foot above the base of the cliff. Larry bolted into a crawl on the right coated with an inordinate amount of raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. He stopped at a pinch where even more scat had acand pushed into an alcove with two small critter crawls. Meanwhile Larry had wriggled into two other bellycrawls off to the left. At one time these may have been connected but currently are not. This cave meets the minimum fifteen foot criteria of the Iowa Grotto so a survey was in order. Ed sketched, Elizabeth was on point, Larry read instruments and I snapped photos. The total cave length was 34.3 feet.
Sliver Cave Not a hundred feet west of Bluebird Cave was a cave formed by a fracture of the bluff. I took a single shot of 25.5 feet to define this narrow slot canyon that Ed quickly put to paper. I was surprised to find a lone orb weaver ( Meta ovalis ) clinging to the ceiling. Crack of Doom Cave Hiking down the Lakeside Trail Larry found another solutional tube that the strict Iowa Grotto minimum of fifteen feet. Down the bluff Elizabeth found an interesting fracture feature that became our third and final cave of the day. A twelve foot wide by five foot high entrance crack continued another thirteen feet to a breakdown squeeze. The remainder of the afternoon was spent reconnoiterplenty of opportunity to do more ridgewalking in the park for anyone interested in adding new caves to0 the Iowa Grotto database. While driving home I crunched the numbers and determined that for every foot of survey I drove 4.4 miles. (84.8 feet of survey/374 miles of driving) Not exactly the best return on my cave time but well worth it to spend time with Elizabeth, Ed and Larry. Mystery Cave Fillmore County, Minnesota December 13, 2017 By: Ed Klausner Elizabeth Miller, Chris Beck and I made plans to meet Bob Storlie, Cave Manager at Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park to survey the passage leading to Cathedral Dome. We met at
cave gear before taking the short to get to the start of Cathedral Pasthe tour trail. The park has been removing cubic yards of the sediment to restore the passage and will build a boardwalk so visitors can see the cave floor below, sometimes, far below. They have done this on their existing tour route and it is very effective in showing off the size and shape of the underlying passage. Elizabeth was lead tape, Chris read instrument and I took book while Bob searched the records for a tie station. Since the tie station would be on the existing tour trail, there would be lots of magnetic interference. A survey shot from there to the first side passage station couldwould not be affected by all the magnetic interference, but we could shoot from the side passage to the tour trail station and do double backsights as a check on the accuracy. Going down the passage was fine and we shot across a pit and then from the other side, down to a lower station. It turned out that this doubling back was easier and the lower part of the passage had additional passage. In reality, the floor above was built by breakdown filled in with sediment and did not have a bedrock floor. The pit broke through this breakdown/mud floor. Once on the other side of the pit (two extension ladders, one on each side, made it an easy climb) our problems began. Foresight / backsight compass readings were as much as nine degrees off. Backing off the station and shooting along the tape did not help. We finally went forward to the Cathedral Dome room and did a foresight / backsight reading there to see if the compass was problematic, but the readings were only a half a degree off. We were stymied. It turns out that the cables in the ceiling were low voltage DC lines and they were creating our problems. It was getting late (we drove back to Iowa City that evening and Chris drove back to Warren, Illinois) so we finished up by shooting to the tie station that Bob found on the tour trail from our first station. At least we tied in the survey so it will return to complete the survey of Cathedral Passage and Cathedral Dome when the old electrical lines are removed.
Photo Gallery Mark Jones and Larry Welch checking a lead at Backbone State Park it didn't go. Photo by: Ed Klausner
Top: Cave salamander and larvae in Three Forks Cave. Bottom: Mark Jones and Elizabeth Miller in Three Forks Cave. Photos by: Ed Klausner
Top: Pleistocene aged bear tooth from Three Forks Cave. Bottom: Elizabeth Miller underneath a stalactite in Three Forks Cave. Photos by: Ed Klausner
Top: Pipistrelles, or Tri Colored Bats, in Stockman Cave. Bottom: Finding new passages in Stockman Cave. Photos by: Ed Klausner