Trip report by Tony Schmitt
Entry Time: 10am
Exit Time: 4pm
As part of the MCKC 30th anniversary and celebration of the Carroll Cave acquisition, I agreed to lead a trip. Martin Carmichael (Chouteau Grotto) along with Jen Sutherland and Cathleen Yung (both MVG) signed up. Martin has been in the cave many times. Cathleen has been in the cave once on a survey trip downstream to survey a sleazy side passage. This was Jen’s first introduction to Carroll. Both Jen and Cathleen are newer to the caving community. Both are competent, enthusiastic and easy to get along with. Our goal for the day was the Second Azure Pool and the Chocolate Bunny.
Martin ran Jen and Cathleen down to Thunder Falls while I waited near the ladder for a potential 5th person. I soon got a call down the shaft to “go caving”. No 5th.
We headed upstream from the ladder and I immediately noticed the water level was much lower than I ever remember seeing it. It looked and felt like it was a good 18″ lower then usual. Both of the shower heads were running at what appeared to be normal flow.
We almost immediately started seeing fish in the bigger pools. We kept count as we headed upstream. I pointed out all the landmarks along the way. We enjoyed a nice easy stroll upstream. We ended up making it to the Round Room in under two hours. We made the Second Azure Pool shortly after taking a quick break in the Round Room.
We were doing good on time so we decided to head upstream a bit farther. We ended up turning around about half way through the “Jumps”.
On the way out, I tried to let Cathleen and Jen take turns leading. We ended up back at the ladder by 3:30. All of us were on the surface by 4pm.
We ended up counting 54 fish between the ladder and the Round Room, and one grotto salamander. We figured the water being low had pushed the fish together into the larger pools. Obviously that’s just us spit balling, but the water being low was the only difference I can think of.
Once on the surface we enjoyed a nice dinner and the MCKC meeting, well at least as much as one can enjoy a meeting.
Submitted by Tony Schmitt 10/17/2022