Stream Flow Project Trip Report

Date of trip – 7 July 2019

Participants – Bill Gee (trip leader)
Shannon Robinson
Amelia Niles
Kristen Godfrey
Martin Carmichael
Hou Zhong
Shayle Williams

Time in – 10:00am
Time out – 4:15pm

Areas visited – Carroll Passage, Convention Hall

This trip was the summer data logger collection trip. The goal was to download data from every data logger.

I drove with Kristen Godfrey. Amelia rode with Shannon and Shayle rode with Hou. Martin met us on Mill Creek Road. The drive was foggy most of the way. It did not really clear up until we crossed Lake of the Ozarks near Camdenton.

Our first adventure was finding a way to get into the field on the south side of the road! A new fence has been put up, and there is no gate anywhere near where our old gate was. Eventually we found a gate that is directly opposite the sky crapper. After going through that gate you have to go east along the fence line, parallel to the road, and through another gate. From there you can go to the bottom of the hill and pick up our traditional trail across the creek and up the hill.

We were all at the silo about 8:50. It took a while to gear up because we had to make sure everyone had suitable rappel devices and safeties for the climb out. That was our second adventure! The cable safety devices were nowhere to be found. We looked all over the silo. Rumor has it that they are no longer at the silo. When the trip was over I sent some email trying to figure out what happened to them.

By the time we were ready to start the descent, the sun was out and things were getting rather warm. The basement under the silo was a bit cooler, so we all gathered there. Kristen was the first person down the shaft at about 10:00am. In spite of some jitters from first-time rappelers, we were all in the cave by 10:30.

I had downloaded the rain gauge logger before gearing up. In the cave I explained how the loggers work and demonstrated with the barometric pressure logger. We all went down to the river while I downloaded the logger in Thunder River.

We left the ladder for Carroll Passage about 10:45. It was an easy trip to the data logger in Carroll River. We got there about 11:15. I downloaded the data, then we made the return trip to the ladder. We were back at the ladder by 11:45.

After lunch we set off for Upper Thunder River and UL2. The water level in Thunder River was running about 3 or 4 inches above normal. That is almost not enough to be noticible. We saw a few fish in the stream. The sand bars along the way had all been cleaned of footprints, indicating a fairly recent flood event.

At UL2 we went straight for the logger. I downloaded the data, then we continued on to Convention Hall. Everyone explored around the big room, and most climbed up to the overlook at the top of the dome. We left UL2 for the return trip about 2:15.

Rather than go to the ladder, we stayed in the stream all the way around to Thunder Falls. Everyone walked out to the edge of the falls. We all went down the ladder to see it from below. While I downloaded data, the others went up to the falls.

We were back at the ladder by 3:30. Gearing up for the climb took a while because we had to improvise some safety grabs. In the end we used a couple of nylon straps wrapped around the rope in a manner similar to a prusik. Two climbed on that. We shared around some handled ascenders. Martin and I had chest ascenders.

I was first up the ladder so I could help everyone else get off the rope safely. Everyone else climbed as a group. We were all out of the shaft by 4:15.

After changing clothes, packing up and closing the cave, we all drove into Camdenton to El Espolon for dinner. We got to the restaurant about 5:30. They were fairly busy, and the service we got was rather slow. It was nearly 7 by the time we finished and left.

Group photo of the team.
The team after the data logger service trip. 6 July 2019. Photo by Martin Carmichael.