Survey Trip Report for April 5, 2003

Area Visited: upper Thunder

Bookman-Bob Lerch

Transit-Brian Borton

Front Pole/Tape/Sherpa/Trip Leader-Matt Goska

Back Pole-Ashley Fleming

We got into the cave somewhere around noon on Saturday. The day started out wonderfully, as the tripod for the transit made a gravity-assisted trip down most of the shaft. Fortunately, Brian had another tripod in his truck. The coupler for mounting the transit on the tripod was damaged, but it was repaired in cave. We headed in, and did some trail flagging on the way, for some of the first muddy sections, where the elephant tracks are getting too wide. Also, the first climb-down near the entrance is getting more difficult to climb up every trip, as it is getting muddier and slicker.

We made it out to the last station on the baseline, U57, and got started. The passage for the day was very wide, and there were many ledges. Bob sketched everything, and no mop-up will be needed in this section of the cave, but that meant that sketching took awhile. We checked some potential upper leads that Brian saw. There was an upper level overflow passage on the left, and it was fairly dry, so we stopped there for chow. After eating, we saw a large hole in the mud, formed by large amounts of water dripping down. Above this, there was a decent quantity of the reddish mud, like in UL1. So we pushed Ashley (the light one) up on a ledge on the opposite side of the passage to look into some of these holes, but they did not continue. Also, in the big hole that got us looking was some moon milk. We probably should have flagged this with yellow tape, but it can be done next trip. We continued surveying, and finally tied in to UL2. Our new toy, the Disto, worked very well. It is one of those laser range finders.

We counted 6 fish during the day, and they were very docile, which I think is the reason we have not been seeing many. I was looking hard for them, and had not seen any yet. I bent down to pick up a piece of survey flagging that had come loose from its station and washed downstream, and as I put my hand in the water, a fish started moving about 6 inches from my hand. So I think that they are just inactive at the current time of year for some reason. Also, the water is still very muddy downstream of UL1 from all of the mud that has fallen down, which means lower visibility for sighting fish. We were going to de-rig the handline, to return the ropes to the owners, but we forgot the Board of Education, so this will also be done on the next trip.

After a long day of surveying, we came out of the hole somewhere around 2 AM, changed, and ate the chow that Peddgie had made for us.