Carroll Cave Trip Report 8 July 2023

Participants: Bill Gee
Mike Kovacs
Candace Kovacs
Sarah Peterson
Rabecca Marlin
Sean Zimmerman

Purpose: Data logger service

Time in – 09:30 Time out – 14:45

This trip is the summer service trip for the stream flow data loggers. The goal is to download data from all data loggers in the cave. Also replace the battery in the rain gauge logger, and replace the batteries and memory card in the cave intrusion detector.

I drove to the silo early Saturday morning, arriving a few minutes after 07:00. Nathan and Sam Taylor were there in their camper. No one else camped over Friday night. I downloaded data from the rain gauge logger and replaced its battery.

Looking around the site, I noticed that the weeds were getting quite tall in front of the silo. Part of the area had been mowed. Grass in the unmowed area was about 20 inches high.

People started showing up shortly after 08:00. I was expecting Kohl Mitchell to be early since he was planning an overnight camp and survey trip. The plan was to use his rope for all three trips. When it got to 08:45 and he was still not there, I rigged my rope in the shaft. I did not know if Kohl had canceled his trip due to the threat of rain. Kristen Vogel also had a trip planned. Some of her group were already there, and the rest arrived just as my group was starting down the shaft.

Kohl and his team arrived about 09:15. They had some tire trouble on the way and so were running behind. My group was all there and mostly geared up. Rather than wait for Kohl’s group to get ready, we decided to go in first. We were all in the cave by 09:45.

I downloaded the two data loggers at the ladder. I replaced the memory card and batteries in the cave intrusion detector. Some of Kohl’s group were in the cave when we left a few minutes after 10:00. We made our way to the data logger at the Rimstone Room, arriving there about 10:30. I downloaded the data.

We then went over to the big rimstone formation where Candace Kovacs took some photos. She set up several very bright lights on one side of the rimstone and then took some photos of the light shining through the rock. Very cool!

We were back at the ladder at 11:15. No one else was around. We had lunch. At 11:35 we started into upstream Thunder River heading for UL2 and the data logger. Kristen’s group and our group crossed paths at the big rock.

I was surprised at how clear the stream was. It was only a bit murky even though two groups (Kohl and Kristen) had passed by just an hour earlier. We saw several fish in the river. I turned over a few rocks and found one isopod.

We got to the data logger in UL2 at 12:20. The download took only a few minutes. We had plenty of time, so we continued on to Convention Hall. I took some of the group up to the overlook level. Mike and Candace stayed down to take photos. We saw many fish in UL2. There was one group of six and another of four. Sarah kept an informal count, with a total of almost 20 fish just in UL2.

On the way out of UL2 I stopped at two formation areas so people could have a look. Sean and Sarah had never been to this part of the cave. Candace got some nice photos of the formations just outside the UL2 entrance.

We stayed in the stream all the way to Thunder Falls. I had one last data logger to download. Everyone else explored the area above and below the water fall. While we were there Kristen’s group arrived and also did some exploring. My group left first to head back to the ladder.

We were at the ladder about 14:15. We all geared up and climbed out. Martin Carmichael from Kristen’s group had climbed out earlier and was waiting at the top to help people get off the rope safely. That was very kind of him and also very useful. He took photos of each person as they reached the top.

My group was all out by 14:45. Kristen’s group was immediately behind us. After everyone got changed and cleaned up, we went into Camdenton for an early Mexican dinner at El Caporal.

Since Kohl’s group was planning to spend the night in the cave, we did not pull up the rope or lock the silo. I plan to be back at the cave in a week for a work weekend. I will pick up my rope and some other stuff then.