Trip date: 11 January 2014
Project manager: Bill Gee
Trip purpose: Data logger service
Areas of Cave visited: CarrollPassage
Trip participants: Jarrett Ellis, Cliff Gill, Andy Smith
Entry Time: 10:00am
Exit Time: 2:30pm
The trip report: Every year I run a short trip in Carroll Cave to service all of the data loggers. The purpose is to visit every data logger in the cave. Every logger is downloaded. The rain gauge logger on the silo gets a new battery. The data gathered on this trip is combined with data gathered throughout the year to create a full-year graph of the stream levels and rain events.
Andy Smith and I drove down Saturday morning. We were substantially early, so we went first to the natural entrance. No dead bats were found. The stream seemed to be about its normal level. The rebar gate does not show any obvious breech. The “No Trespassing” sign is gone.
We drove back to the silo, arriving about 8:30am. The area was under flood watch from Friday night. The creek bed crossing in the field was dry, but the field itself was a bit sloppy. I was glad to have a 4×4 truck.
The first thing we did was download the rain gauge data logger and then change its battery. The battery change requires connecting the logger to a computer so it can be restarted. I brought a laptop just for that purpose.
When the rain gauge service was complete, I unlocked the cave and rigged the rope. Andy and I then changed into our caving gear. Just about the time we finished, Cliff and Jarrett showed up. Cliff’s car could not make it up the hill, so he parked at the bottom gate and rode up with Jarrett.
Jarrett went down the rope first at 10:00am. Cliff and Andy followed and I was last. Everyone was in the cave by 10:15. I downloaded the two data loggers at the ladder, then we set off for the Rimstone Room. We got there at about 11:00am. I downloaded the data logger in Carroll River. We went on into the Rimstone Room to admire the formations. Andy set his helmet inside one of the rimstone formations with the light shining through the rock, then took a few pictures with his camera. It is hard to say how they will turn out. They looked OK on the camera.
On the way back we took a detour over to Thunder Falls. This was Cliff’s very first trip in the cave, so we had to do some of the tourist things. We were back at the ladder at 12:00pm.
Everyone had a sandwich lunch. We left at 12:30pm to head for UL2 and the last data logger. It took about 45 minutes to get to the logger. I did the download. On the way out we stopped at a formation area in UL2 so Cliff and Andy could get an eyeful. We also climbed up to the viewing area just outside UL2 in the main passage.
We arrived back at the ladder a few minutes after 2:00pm. Everyone geared up. We climbed out together. The last person was out of the cave by 2:30pm.
The surface weather was quite pleasant. It was sunny and about 45 degrees. Definitely better than trying to change clothes in sub-freezing temperatures!
Jarrett went on home since he lives close by. Andy, Cliff and I drove to Camdenton where we stopped for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. While we were eating, I hooked up my laptop to the data shuttle, copied the data over to it and ran some quick graphs of the data we had just gathered. There were no surprises. The stream level at the ladder showed one spike to about 1.3 feet. Normal level is just over one foot, so this was not significant. I expect to see some significant spikes in August when I get the full-year data set put together.
In UL2 we saw several cave fish and a couple of larval salamanders. We looked in a few places for isopods and found several. We looked at two of the tiles and found one snail.