Trip date: 11 July 2015
Project manager: Bill Gee
Trip purpose: NSS tourist
Areas of Cave visited: CarrollPassage
Trip participants: Bill Gee, Forrest Wilson, Kerry Rowland, Kiera Rowland, Cliff Gill, Walt ???
Entry Time: 11:15am
Exit Time: 3:00pm
The trip report: This trip was originally planned to be a long, mongo trip to the far reaches of upper Thunder River. That plan was quickly changed after finding that Thunder River was running about 20 feet above normal level. We decided to make this a regular tourist trip to the Rimstone Room, collecting data from the stream level data loggers along the way.
The entire morning of trips did not go off as planned. Rick Hines’ photo trip got a very late start, my trip was changed to plan B (and later plan C!) by the elevted river level. Yet another trip was canceled due to lack of participants.
We finally decided how our trip was going to go about 10:45. Everyone geared up and went down the shaft. We followed very close on the heels of Rick Hines’ photo trip. Our entire team was in the cave by about 11:45.
I downloaded data from the barometric pressure logger. Everyone looked at the stream level. The stream was ponded with no visible flow. It was up to the bottom part of both rock bridges that lead out of the landing area. Forrest estimated visibility in the water at about 3 feet.
We slowly made our way down Carroll Passage, admiring the formations and generally just taking it easy. We passed Rick’s group while they were taking pictures in a side alcove. At the Rimstone Room I downloaded the Carroll River data logger. We went on to look at the rimstone formations, then through the stoop walk to the beginning of the Water Barrier.
The Water Barrier was about 6 or 8 inches higher than normal, but still passable. As we were returning through the Rimstone Room we met Rick’s photo group. We relayed information about the water level, then continued on back to the ladder.
The water level in the rest of Carroll Passage was also higher than normal. At the Bear Claw Passage the stream was running about 6 or 7 feet wide where it is normally only a foot wide. It was not deep – no more than a few inches – but definitely higher than normal. The shortcuts over to Thunder Falls were completely summped, and water from them was flowing through some rocks into the Carroll River headwater pond.
Thunder River was probably as high as it can get. If it gets any higher, the excess just flows over into Carroll River. It will be very interesting to see the data once I can reach the loggers for a download.
At the ladder Kerry and Kiera decided to climb on out. The rest of us went on to the Angel Pool passage. As it turns out, there is a shelf along the ceiling which provides access to the passage. We went to the formations area, talked for a bit and then came back. We were all out of the cave by 3:00 pm.