Date of trip – 26 January 2018

Participants – Bill Gee (trip leader)
Seth Colston
Kirsten Colston
Tyler Skaggs

Time in – 10:00am
Time out – 3:00pm

Areas visited – Carroll Passage, Convention Hall

This trip was the annual data logger collection trip. The goal was to download data from every data logger. The data from the logger is linked at the end of this post.

The trip was originally scheduled for January 12. Due to bad weather (snow-packed and icy roads), it was delayed one week to January 19, and then for the same reason to January 26. 14 people had signed up for the trip, but after delays it turns out only 4 were able to make it. That’s OK – We were able to move faster and see more of the sights than usual.

I drove down Friday night with my camper. As soon as I arrived and had the camper set up next to the silo, I changed the battery in the rain gauge logger. That requires connecting the logger to a laptop computer so it can be restarted. It only takes a few minutes. Even so, it blowing wind and cold weather it can be an adventure. There are two small screws that hold the logger together. They are very easy to lose when fingers are cold.

Saturday morning I got up early and walked around the property. There are six stakes in the ground with flagging tape on them to mark the corners of our two tracts. I was please to note that both of the power poles are on CCC property. I also walked down the fence line to the road to get an idea of what the access easement looks like. It is fairly passable except for the first 150 feet or so from the road. The vence line along the road is choked with trees that will have to be taken out. A culvert is required in the ditch, and there are some places that need to be either taken down or filled in. A skid-steer will be needed for this work.

Tyler Skaggs was the first to arrive, at about 8:30. He was expecting two friends from OHG. In the end they got lost and never found the silo. Seth and Kirsten arrived shortly after 9am. While we waited for Tyler’s friends, I helped Seth and Kirsten get into seat harnesses.

At about 9:45 we decided to go ahead without Tyler’s friends. Tyler was first down the shaft, followed by Seth, Kirsten and me. We were all in the cave by shortly after 10:00am.

After I downloaded the two loggers at the ladder, we left for the first leg. We went down Carroll Passage to the Rimstone Room. I downloaded the logger there, then we went on to look at the rimstone formations. Tyler has a new camera, so he took pictures of formations at several places. His camera did a surprisingly good job even though he has no slave flashes.

We were back at the ladder around 11:30. We had lunch, then left for the second leg up to UL2. Thunder River was running about 3 inches higher than normal. That is not enough to cause any problems travelling in the cave.

I kept a lookout for fish, but Tyler had the eagle eye. He saw four or five fish in Thunder River. We arrived at UL2 about 12:45. We saw another half-dozen fish in UL2, and one of them was among the biggest I have ever seen. It was a good 70mm long and really fat. After I downloaded the data logger, we went on to Convention Hall. A few minutes there while Tyler took some more pictures, then we started the return.

We stayed in the river all the way to Thunder Falls. I downloaded the data logger while the others walked up to the base of the falls.

Back at the ladder, we all geared up and climbed out. No one had any difficulty with the climb. We were all out of the cave by 3:00pm. Clean up, put away, lock the cave … By 3:30 we were ready to leave. I went on to Big Cavern Ranch near Dixon for more caving and survey. Tyler, Seth and Kirsten went on home.

The data collected over the full year shows only one major flood event at the end of February. There were other minor events, but none of them caused a rise of more than a couple of feet at the ladder. The ZIP file attached to this report contains all of the original HOBO files and comma-separated value files of the year’s data. The CSV files can be imported into a spreadsheet for analysis. I also included JPG files of all of the individual graphs and a PDF file that includes all of the graphs in one document.