Carroll Cave Surface Work Report


I got to the Schoolhouse around 6pm on Friday evening. I was surprised to see the schoolhouse area was tore up from some bulldozer work. A new gate leads into the schoolhouse area.

I pulled the camper in, having to slip into four wheel drive to get through the ruts.

I set up the camper, fired the heater up and settled in for a chilly evening. The overnight forecast was for temperatures in the single digits.

Derik arrived around 10:30pm. I was snuggled in reading a good book. I offered Derik the bed on the other side, he happily accepted.

We awoke around 7am and layered up. Out the door, coffee, breakfast and sunshine.


We set the ladder up on the corner to assess the roof flap. Unfortunately the rubber membrane has torn in several places right at that corner. The tear extends 10 or so feet back into the roof. The rubber was also frozen solid. I could not put it back in place. The underlayment of OSB plywood is exposed. Even if the rubber could be pulled back, the OSB would still be exposed. The tires also could not be moved as they also froze solid to the rubber.

I don’t know what an easy solution is other than to put down new rubber.

Shortly after assessing the roof, a crew from MSM showed up. A little later on, Joe Sikorski showed up.

Silo area.

We drove down the road to the spot we have always turned into the field. A brand new gate greeted us. We crossed the little drainage, and headed up the hill. I was surprised to see new fencing, and a new gate half way up the hill. The area looks very different from the last time I was on site about a year ago. Another new gate, and into the Silo area proper.

At the Silo, I tried opening the lock. It was frozen solid. I worked on the lock for about 40 minutes. I finally got it open after large amounts of lock lube, WD40, lighter fluid, and fire.

The MSM crew had not been to the property, so they were impressed with the silo and knowing that 21 miles of cave sat at their feet.

The brush pile was obvious. We got the kids working on moving the leftover silo steel for a wind break over towards the other side. They got all the steel moved in no time.

We then attacked the brush pile. I was the only chainsaw operator so I got to cutting. The MSM crew worked on pulling it all out, loading Joe’s truck and then unloading it over on the other side of the silo.

Sometime about noon, Tim Howard came over in his tractor. We had a pleasant conversation with him.

We cooked some hotdogs and fed the collage kids. We then worked for another hour or so. We then hauled the kids over to Perkins Cave for a reward trip.

I can’t emphasize enough how much of a huge help the crew from MSM was. They worked their butts off in the cold with no complaints. They were agreeable, enthusiastic and hard working. They gave up a Saturday to go hang out on a hill top with some old dudes, for no other reason than “it was a noble cause” their words.

After getting them to Perkins we went back and worked for another few hours. We made a pretty good dent in the big brush pile. We did not construct any of the wind break, but did get all the silo steel over to the area.

All in all we put in a solid day. We wanted to get the picnic table and benches moved from the schoolhouse to the silo, but Sunday morning brought freezing rain. We packed up and left the property by 10am.



Tony Schmitt