Participants – Bill Gee
Time in 9:15am, Time out 3:45pm
This is the annual summer trip to download data from all of the data loggers in the cave. The loggers only hold about 7 months of data, so we visit them every 6 months or so.
I drove to the silo campground Friday afternoon, arriving about 4:00pm. After parking the camper, I started the lawn mower. The grass was not all that high except right nround the camper. I mowed in front of the silo, around the picnic table and around my camper and truck. I also ran a string trimmer. My string trimmer is a small battery-powered device that just does not have the power to deal with tall grass such as what is under the picnic table.
I took a look at some of the cedar trees we planted back in March. They all seem to be doing fine. They are all green, and it looks like they have put on some growth. Someone set rubber roof tiles around each of the cedar trees to keep the grass down. That is working well.
Only two of the oak tree tomato cages were still standing. The tree in one of them is dead. The other tree has a few leaves on it. I did not look at the bald cyprus trees around the frog pond.
Kent arrived shortly after dinner, and George, Josh and Rebecca after dark. In the morning Shawn arrived around 8:00am. Everyone was there, and early! We geared up and were starting down the shaft about 8:45am.
The weather forecast called for some rain overnight Friday into Saturday. It did rain some, but only 0.15 according to my rain gauge. That is not enough to have an effect on the stream level.
George went down first. I stayed up top to make sure everyone got on the rope safely. I was the last person in at about 9:30. I downloaded the stream and barometric pressure data loggers. We grabbed gear and headed down Carroll Passage.
It was obvious right away that Shawn was havng trouble keeping up. We stopped for a couple of rest breaks so he could cach his breath. Just before the Bear Claw Passage he decided to sit while the rest of us continued on to the data logger.
We got to the logger, downloaded the data and returned to Shawn in about 15 minutes. The return trip to the ladder was very slow. I wound up staying back with Shawn while the others went on ahead. We got back to the ladder about 11:15. Shawn decided that he was done caving for the day.
We all had lunch. Shawn decided to wait for us at the ladder rather than try to climb without anyone else around. The rest of the group left for Upper Thunder River about 11:45am. We told Shawn to expect us back around 2:00, and if we were not back at 3:00 then something was wrong.
The trip to UL2 and the data logger was uneventful. We saw several fish in the stream. We turned over some rocks so I could show the group was isopods look like. After downloading the data logger, we took a few minutes to admire the formations around the UL2 entrance.
The return trip went smoothly. We were back at the ladder about 1:45. From there we went over to Thunder Falls so I could download the last of the data loggers. Back at the ladder we all geared up and climbed out. Shawn took a while but made it out under his own power. We were all out of the cave by 3:15pm.
A quick look at the data shows minor flood events in late January, mid-March and mid-April. The highest of these was about 3 feet at Thunder River. The water level during our trip was about 4 inches above normal, which caused us no problems at all.