Introductions

Attendees were asked “What was something you enjoyed about your last cave trip?”

John liked looking in all the various caves; Mark liked emerging from the cave with the same number of people who entered; Ken liked his fellow cavers’ patience; Diana liked that Union Cave was fun and sporting; Martin liked playing in the mud; Robert liked the hike up to New River Cave; Grant and Jenny both liked (in an appropriately sad way) getting to see a bat with visible WNS; Craig liked seeing his Scouts challenge themselves with something new; Lisa liked the light in the ice cave in Patagonia; Mike liked the Comic Book Hole and co-leading a trip through Hancock; Carlin liked getting to set a lot of bolts; Emily liked getting to share the experience with her niece. Sarah liked her last cave trip so much that she was late to the meeting and missed introductions.

Business

  • Pay your dues, or check with Joel if you’re not sure whether you paid.
  • The website: Carlin has no changes to report. Ken will post [has now posted] a trip report for the recent Rehoboth Church Cave trip.
  • May’s meeting topic: Rob wants to know if people want to hear about ecology.
  • Vertical training: Rob would like to do some vertical training on a Social Tuesday night. We do have a copy of On Rope (the vertical caver’s tome) in the grotto library of which Mike is the custodian.
  • There’s a new WNS decon protocol. The link to it is on our website.

Trip Reports

  • Ken, Matt, and Emily went to Grand Caverns Easter Restoration Weekend. All that gravel that the cavers have been putting down for years now on the paths through the cave has cemented, and so we spent the day pickaxing and redistributing gravel and dodging tour groups. That evening, Matt and Emily joined a group for a trip to Madison Cave and saw George Washington’s graffiti.
  • Emily and her niece, Ava, joined Ken for a trip to Rehoboth Church Cave. What was originally going to be a photography trip with 7 people dwindled to 3. Inside the cave they saw many salamanders, a mudpuppy, crayfish, frogs, spiders, and bats. The water was higher in many places, but somehow lower near the sump. Ken took some pictures. Ava and Emily were rewarded for their patience with many trips down the very muddy slide. See Ken’s trip report here.
  • Craig, Mark, and Joel took some Boy Scouts to New River Cave. Joel took one group on a hike up to Cascade Falls while Mark wore out the other group in the cave. Mark led them in a loop, testing to see how long it would take them to recognize the same passage the second time (they didn’t). When it came time to swap groups, the first set of cavers were happy to cancel the long hike in favor of relaxing back at camp.
  • Lisa and Mike visited a 20-foot long ice cave just beneath the surface of a glacier in Patagonia. The weather was perfect; the ice was surprisingly blue and pure. It was beautiful and, unlike most caves we visit, very temporary. Their guide considerately dropped a big chunk of ice into a puddle in the middle of the cave so that they wouldn’t get their feet wet.

Upcoming Trips

  • May 17 – Social Tuesday. Disc golf at 6:30 in Durham.
  • May 21 – Cave survey trip in Smyth County, VA. Nature and location TBD. (Dave D.)
  • May 28-29 – Caving in/near Perkins Cave. Surveying optional. (Ken)
  • June 2-5 – SERA Summer Cave Carnival in Lafayette, GA. (John, maybe)
  • June 10-12 – NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue Training in McDowell, VA. (Emily)
  • July 2-4 – Vertical Caving trip in the Blacksburg, VA area. (Rob)
  • July 17-23 – NSS Convention in Ely, NV. (Emily)
  • Aug 20 – Annual TriTrogs Grotto trip. Looking for something that appeals to various levels of experience. Acme Mine No. 5, maybe.
  • TBD – Conservation trip with Walker Mountain Grotto (Emily)

Program

“Origin and geomicrobiology of make-like cave wall formations” presentation from Jenn Macalady (Associate Professor of Geosciences at Penn State) delivered by Lisa Lorenzin. Biovermiculations and microbial mats and snottites, oh my. Add these to your lists of Nasty Stuff I’d Like to See Either From a Great Distance Or Through a Microscope.

Attendees were asked “What happened on that first caving trip to make you want to cave again?” Ken fell in feet first and got himself back out; Emily was too young to remember; Carlin was never going caving again; Grant’s first cave was large and pretty; Jenny and all of her students survived; Rob liked the challenges; nothing bad happened on Peter’s trip; Matt looks forward to his first; Lisa got muddy inside a mountain; Joel’s was a productive survey; Mark has a beard; Rashmi is now nervously anticipating her first trip. If you’re looking for a trip that’ll make you want to stop caving, Lisa has some suggestions for you.

Business

  • Joel will accept dues. Check with him to see if your membership is current.
  • Rob will accept ideas for future meeting programs. Lisa and Mike saw a cave microbiologist’s presentation recently that covered snottites.

Trip Reports

  • Hancock Cave bat count and graffiti clean up (Peter, Emily, Jenny, Grant, Ken). The final count was 6 hours, 9 bats, 18 people. We cleaned up graffiti in the Octopus Room and Harrington Hall. Grant enjoyed his trip through the Comic Book Hole, finding it helpful to meditate partway through. Jenny says it was a little Pooh Bearish from her point of view. Her favorite part of the cave was the exit.
  • Beaver Creek Cave survey (Peter, Ken, Emily). The Sunday after Hancock Cave, Ken got Pete and Emily to check over some survey sketches at Beaver Creek and help with a few corrections. Peter spotted several salamanders, both cave and slimy, inside the entrance. The water was high enough in the cave that he saw a fish several feet above where the water’s edge had previously been. They climbed down to the Candy Room and saw a grayish bat there.
  • Reptile and Amphibian Day at the Museum. Peter talked to a herpetologist about swabbing some salamanders.
  • SnoCone Cave survey (Mark, Carlin). Mark got to play with the drill. He set a few bolts at the 20-foot spider-filled pit near the entrance and descended, but it didn’t go anywhere. Farther inside, they rigged a traverse line and stopped at a squeezy t-intersection with Lisa-sized leads. Martin and Joe meanwhile surveyed 75 feet at the bottom of the cave, which was way more than Carlin and Mark did on their one shot. Dave and Carlin later felt a lot of air blowing through some small cracks between dried blocks of mud. It’s diggable.
  • Lisa and Mike went up to the Butler Cave area for pancakes and 6 hours of gropple. They didn’t get into any actual caves.

Upcoming Trips and Activities

  • Mar. 26-27 – Grand Caverns Easter Restoration Weekend (Ken)
  • Apr. 1-3 – Upper Tennessee Karst Conservation Symposium at Natural Tunnel State Park, VA
  • Apr. 9 – Rehobeth Church Cave photography trip (Matthew Weiss)
  • Apr. 9-10 – Wilderness First Aid Class at Umstead Park (Mark Daughtridge)
  • Apr. 12 – Social Tuesday in Durham (Amar, Bithika)
  • Apr. 15-16 – Scout trip to New River Cave (Joel, Mark)
  • Apr. 22-24 – Virginia Area Regional event at Endless Caverns, VA
  • Apr. 22-24 – BCCS work weekend (Lisa, Mike)
  • May 7-14 – NCRC weeklong training in AL
  • May 28-29 – Perkins Cave survey (Carlin)
  • June 10-12 – NCRC 3-day orientation to cave rescue in VA
  • July 2-4 – Vertical caving trip (Robert)
  • July 17-23 – NSS Convention in Ely, NV (Emily)
  • Aug. 20 – Annual TriTrogs Fun Grotto Trip

Meeting Program

White Nose Syndrome Memory Game (Ken)

2 typical number of tricolored bat pups
4 Canadian provinces with observed cases of WNS
5 length in years of blanket closure of caves and mines by USFS-South
7 bat species experiencing diagnostic effects of WNS in North America
12 bat species infected by WNS in North America
25 bat heartbeats per minute during hibernation
27 states with confirmed WNS
27 letters in Pseudogymnoascus destructans
28 % survival rate when Smithsonian Zoo tried captive breeding of Virginia Big-eared Bats in 2010
75 bats that were released after being treated by the banana cure
83 days a bat may hibernate in Virginia
100 % killed by WNS in some winter colonies
122 original temperature (F) for submersion decon protocol
140 temperature (F) recommended in 2015 for submersion decon protocol
400 bat heartbeats per minute outside hibernation
800 miles between farthest summer and winter bat roosts
2006 year WNS was first observed
115,000 dollars of grant funding from the NSS
2.5 mil dollars of grant funding for WNS from USFWS last September
5.7 mil estimate of the number of bats that have died from WNS
22.9 bil dollars attributed to annual insect suppression by US bats

Resources

 

Attendees were encouraged to introduce themselves and list their favorite underground snacks. To protect the innocent the names and snacks are listed here separately and in no particular order. Ken, Mark L., Joel, Robert, Mike, Zeke, Craig, Paul, Megan, Nick, Grant, Jenny, Peter, Matt, Steve, Emily, and Carlin. Granola bars, Clif bars, Kind bars, Chex mix, trail mix, apples, clementines, cherry chews, fruit cups, liquefied pizza, jerky, enough of anything, and Lord of the Rings.

Business

  • Joel has a list of people who have paid dues for this year. People who don’t know whether they’ve paid yet can contact him for confirmation.
  • Thank you to Robert for organizing the grotto’s Bat Adaptations table at Darwin Day. Reptile and Amphibian Day is coming up on March 12. While that’s likely too soon to organize anything this year, grotto members might consider ideas for the event in 2017.
  • Robert is accepting suggestions for future meeting programs.

Trip Reports

Due to a combination of weird timing and snow, there are no trip reports this month!

Upcoming Trips and Activities

Check the calendar on the website for current information.

  • Feb. 27 – Hancock Cave bat count and clean up (Ken)
  • Feb. 28 – Beaver Creek Cave survey (Ken)
  • Mar. 1 – Social Tuesday (at Ken’s this month, future hosts and events tbd)
  • Mar. 19 – SnoCone Cave survey (Dave Duguid) Vertical and horizontal leads.
  • Mar. 26 – Grand Caverns Easter restoration weekend (Ken) Hauling gravel, gluing formations back together, etc.
  • Apr. 1-3 – Upper Tennessee Karst Conservation Symposium at Natural Tunnel State Park, VA
  • Apr. 9 – Rehobeth Church Cave photography trip (Matthew Weiss) with camping at Moncove Lake State Park, WV
  • Apr. 9-10 – Wilderness First Aid class at Umstead State Park (Danny McCracken)
  • Apr. 22-24 – Virginia Area Regional event at Endless Caverns, VA
  • May 7-14 – Nat’l Cave Rescue Commission week-long training in Alabama
  • May 28-29 – Perkins Cave survey (Carlin?)
  • June 10-12 – Nat’l Cave Rescue Commission 3-day course in Highland Co., VA
  • July 2-4 – Vertical Caving trip (Robert) possibly at Newcastle Murderhole in VA
  • July 17-23 – NSS Convention in Ely, NV
  • Aug. 20 – Annual TriTrogs Grotto trip

Program

Robert showed pictures from various caving trips to Mexico.

In attendance: Ken Walsh (Chair), Rob Harris (Vice Chair), Carlin Kartchner (Webmaster), Joel Johnson (Treasurer), and Emily Graham (Secretary)

In advance of the meeting Ken had prepared and sent out an agenda. We covered almost all of the items listed.

The bank account is being turned over to Joel. Rob set it up so that Joel will now be notified via email whenever someone pays dues via PayPal. Joel will keep a record of our current members. There was a brief discussion about keeping a member roster, with phone numbers and email addresses, on the Members Only section of the website (once that exists). Ken also suggested having a membership form that could help gather information from willing participants about specific interests, to help members contact photographers, or scout leaders, or biologists, etc.

The next discussion covered possible program topics. These included knots and rigging, salamanders and amphibians, an update on the Homo naledi discovery, geology (specifically regarding fossils we’re likely to find in caves), survey practice (outdoors), vertical instruction and practice (and cookout if at Pete’s), bolt drilling, and WNS decon protocols. Rob is approaching Buford Pruitt about a program on the NC gneiss exfoliation caves that were covered in February’s edition of NSS News.

Discussion turned to the annual grotto trip. Ken suggested looking at cave options near the camping areas that we’ve enjoyed in recent years. Rob proposed joining the SC grotto at Table Rock for a joint grotto trip. Carlin wants to go to Bone Norman. There was agreement that Perkins would be nice if we can get permission and figure out camping. We settled on the weekend of August 20, for now.

Ken asked if there was any interest in putting together the manpower for a conservation trip. Walker Mountain Grotto may have some projects in mind (Buchanan Saltpeter Cave?). Emily agreed to muster some troops.

Carlin is keeping a spreadsheet of changes, fixes, and updates that he plans to make to the website. He has copied the recent trip reports from the old blog over to the new site. The old blog will stay up, with a notice directing visitors to the new website. Carlin floated the idea of using the grotto Google account to share Members Only information via Google Drive.

At the next general meeting Ken will gauge interest in Social Tuesday (bowling, board games, etc.) which was apparently an event the grotto used to have once every few months.

We talked about the possible consequences of moving the grotto meetings to Thursday night to appease the museum. No one is currently pushing for this. If it ever happens we might also change the meeting time to 7. We would also have to change the meeting information anywhere that it’s been published (our website, the NSS, the TriTrog business cards).

Joel is researching caves suitable for the Scouts trip that he’ll be leading.

We agreed that we’d like to make it easier for newcomers to find our meeting space. This can be done by improving the directions posted on the website and by making our signage more obvious (possibly with a freestanding sign on the mall).

In attendance: Carlin, Robert, Emily, Peter, Ken, Joel, Matthew W., Mark D.

Past Business

  • The mailing list transfer: it’s done. Everyone on the old list should have received an email or two telling them how to opt in to the new mailing list. The Mailing List page of the website has been updated. Speaking of the website …
  • The website: Carlin both intends and expects to send out a message to the TriTrogs to let us all know how to post (trip reports!) to the website. He’ll take care of transferring the recent trip reports that were posted to Blogger.
  • Ken brought his copy of the monograph from Breathing Cave so that people would know what a monograph looked like in person.

New Business

  • Grotto dues: pay them. It’s only $15 for the year. Give your cash or a check to an officer or pay online.
  • Youth groups: Joel offered to get in touch with the Boy Scouts leader who came to the last meeting. Joel and Ken will coordinate and deliver a talk to let them know what to expect and what’s required.
  • Darwin Day: The Museum of Natural Sciences will celebrate Darwin Day on February 13, 2016. They were impressed by the TriTrog bat booth last year and expect us to participate again this year. Rob will organize and muster troops. Volunteers needed. The museum encourages us to seek out future opportunities to volunteer our time in exchange for the free, after-hours meeting space it provides every month.

Trip Reports

  • New Year, New River:
    Joel, Rob, Rachel, Ken, and Beth went to New River Cave on the first weekend of the new year. They saw forty or so hibernating bats and took a few pictures while sneaking past very very quietly. A few were identified as Northern long-eared bats which were listed last year as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. The others were Big brown bats. Joel posted his detailed trip report here.
  • Sheep Cave Survey:
    Ken, Mark, and Emily celebrated the end of Tanya’s brief caving hiatus by dragging her to the coldest, trashiest cave in the county. Sheep Cave was not really all entrance, it just felt that way. We surveyed 300 feet but were never more than 50 feet from one of the two big, junk-filled entrances. Everything metal (huge spools of barbed wire, a vintage freezer, unrecognizable rusty appliances and machinery) was right where we wanted to be standing to take readings. A couple leads are left, probably not amounting to much. One smells bad, the other may require getting wet. We all would have liked to get to a deeper, warmer section of the cave, if only one had existed. It was snowing when we came out. Ken’s trip report is here.
  • Florida has dry caves?!
    Carlin went to Florida over his winter break and used up some excess vacation while hunting for the elusive dry Florida cave. In Jackson County he visited Florida Caverns State Park and The Ovens cave system, accessible only by paddling across the Chipola River. In Alachua County he went to Warren Cave, where he encountered several Tri-colored bats and stepped on only some of the small frogs crowding the entrance. At four miles in length, it’s Florida’s longest dry cave by far. Then, having read a report on the caves of Miami and recalling the description of razor rock, he decided not to bother with any of the caves there.

Upcoming Trips

  • Feb 27 – Hancock Cave Bat Count

Elections

We did some democracy. The 2016 officers:

Ken Walsh, Chair
Robert Harris, Vice-chair
Carlin Kartchner, Webmaster
Emily Graham, Secretary
Joel Johnson, Treasurer

Program

For this month’s program we had over thirty people in attendance, plus members of Walker Mountain Grotto via Skype. The guest speaker was Professor Steven Churchill from Duke University’s Department of Evolutionary Anthropology and the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of Witwatersrand. Dr. Churchill was part of the team of scientists responsible for the discovery of Homo naledi, a new species of hominin, fossils of which were found in South Africa’s Rising Star cave system in 2013.

Past Business

  • Holiday party: Mike and Lisa will send out details via the email list. Guests should arrive any time after 6:30 (PM). They’ll also send out a Google form to help people decide what foods and/or beverages to bring (and to remind us to keep a respectable dessert-to-side-dish ratio).
  • Website stuff: The email list will be transitioned. Mike is on top of it. He’ll send out an email to warn people that it’s going to happen so that they can opt in.

New Business

  • Grotto contributions: Board members have been reminded to consider if and to whom (or at least for what cause) the grotto should make any donations this year.

Trip Reports

  • Bat count (and graffiti cleanup): Once again, Ken scheduled the Hancock Cave bat count on the same day as the West Virginia Cave Conservancy annual banquet. Seven people participated: six from the Triangle area, including a first-time caver, and one new member of Walker Mountain Grotto who learned the hard way that he didn’t want to follow Matthew Weiss. We counted five bats (all living and all likely tri-colored). In the Grantham Room we noticed several quarter-sized circles of bright white fungus covering individual dead flies on the walls, something Ken hasn’t seen previously at Hancock. Near the Funnel Tunnel Matthew took a picture of a honeycomb-patterned fossil that was probably a tabulate coral (according to a follow-up consultation with Wil Orndorff). The graffiti cleanup continued enthusiastically. The next day Ken, Matthew, and Emily had hoped to visit Dead Air Cave but decided to avoid Cave Ridge because of newly posted warning signs along the property fence. Tanya suggested Pet Sematary* Cave instead (*as originally misspelled by Stephen King). It may be haunted by the ghost of a hamster, but how could you tell? In an effort to investigate a possible lead Ken was strung up like a marionette. Two of us got grossly muddy.
  • Survey: Carlin, Dave, Brian, and Stephanie went to Missed Opportunity. They saw some bats and some of those dead flies and oh, yeah, the survey is finished [way to bury the lead, Carlin]. Hopefully there will be a map in the nearish future. They got access to another Cave along Beaver Creek after meeting with the landowner. Mostly a big room with side passages. Yes, it needs to be surveyed. Sunday they went looking for Doane’s but did not find anything that fit the description. Instead they found a truck inside a sinkhole. They stumbled upon a sheet cake while being led around by a helpful local contact. [Ah, Sheep Cave. Yeah, that makes more sense.]
  • Geology: John went on a speleological field trip through Maryland and West Virginia after a geology conference. He has a field guide he’s willing to share if anyone’s interested.
  • Sport: Rob went caving during a stay at the Bat Ranch. They dropped a pitch at Pig Hole.

Upcoming Trips

  • Dec 4 – holiday party!
  • Jan 2 – possible fun trip to somewhere?
  • Jan ? – a trip to SnoCone and everyone’s going

 

In attendance: Emily, Ken, Robert, Lisa, Mike, Diana, John, Carlin, Mark D., Summer, Zeke, Steve, Jennifer, Matthew W., Joel. During introductions nearly everyone stated something interesting about themselves, but not so interesting that it made it into the notes. You’re welcome.

Old Business

  • The holiday party date has been set for December 4 chez Mike and Lisa in Durham. Details to follow via email. Party-goers are encouraged to keep the party going until Diana’s done with the holiday pops concert that night. Challenge accepted.
  • Something is still supposed to be done to the email list.
  • As promised, Robert brought in some cave-aged cheese for our consumption. He found it in a local store and it doesn’t taste like cave (one imagines), but it was well appreciated.

Trip Report

Ken was pressured into getting a group into Scott Hollow Cave. Eight of us went up, including Matthew, who now has a new favorite cave and a new favorite cave entrance. There is no natural entrance. Instead, cavers descend via ladder through a hole cut out of the floor in what would be the living room of what looks like an abandoned, threeish-story house. A really cool house. Ropes rigged from a catwalk spanning the top floor turn the atrium below into a possible rope-climbing practice space. Anyway, inside the actual cave, the huge Mystic River passage was really beautiful, and everyone got to appreciate the big light that Matthew brought along. Matthew, Carlin, and Mark got bogged down taking pictures.

The rest of the group went upstream towards the Double Waterfall. This was the second trip to Scott Hollow for Mike and Lisa. The first was ten years ago, back when Mike thought it counted as a muddy cave. It isn’t (some people come out looking cleaner than they went in). We climbed John’s Flowstone which is sort of 50 feet wide and maybe 30 feet up to the first real plateau, then slopes up and back another 60 feet to a group of impressively large rimstone dams, each of which is 3-4 feet deep with 8-inch thick walls. From near the top Mike followed a side passage that led to a little keyhole about 12 feet above the main river passage. We finished with that and stopped for a lunch break and the other group was still back at the sump taking pictures.

Eventually we regrouped and found our way into the Root Canal which was not painful at all but replete with soda straws and gypsum around every turn.

The loose plan was to try to get into Patton Cave the following day, but we were unable to contact the landowner.

Upcoming Trips

  • Nov 14-15 – Hancock Cave bat count / Dead Air Cave
  • Nov 20-22 – Smyth County survey trip
  • Dec 4 – Holiday Party
  • Dec 11 – ?

Program

Ken Walsh attempted to lower expectations before giving a presentation about his recent visit to Lava Beds National Monument, but the caves were colorful and he took pictures.

 

Attendees: Emily, Martin, Carlin, Matthew, Mike, Mark D., Sarah, Steve

Past Business

  • The new website is up and running at www.tritrogs.org.  The next step is to transition the email list.
  • Survey instrument.  Carlin’s goal is to have a working prototype for the Smyth County survey trip in November.

New Business

  • After a brief discussion among potential party-throwers, Mike announced that he can host the grotto holiday party this year.  It will be held in early December.

Trip Reports

Since we skipped trip reports at August’s meeting, these cover nearly two months.  Briefly:

  • Emily went on her first survey trip (Beaver Creek and Rail Valley) and, recalling very few details, may be willing to do it again some day.
  • The grotto trip to Union Cave turned out to be less of a fun beginner trip and more of a 16-person tank haul beginner trip.  Still, some of us would like to go back with a smaller group.  Carlin says it really does open up to nice walking passage.
  • Those who stuck around for the trip to Rehoboth Church Cave were not disappointed.  Mark claims to have video and/or audio of the mud slide amusement.  Salamanders, crayfish, enormous frogs, chert nodules.
  • During OTR Mark and Robert rode an old train.  Then they located and explored a cave called My Cave.
  • Mike and Lisa worked on a BCCS dig at Waterfall Cave, about 70 feet in.  Mike spent two days moving full buckets.  No breakthrough.  Yet.
  • SnoCone survey.  Mike, Lisa, and Dave got through super muddy passage to an area that definitely continues and has air flow.  So they turned around and left.  They saw both slimy and cave salamanders.  Carlin and Mark did a bolt climb.  It was 6:30 pm before they set their first station of the 15-hour trip.
  • Carlin and Dave went to Beaver Creek Cave the next day.  Another 100 to 200 feet and it should be done.

Upcoming Trips

  • Oct 8-11 – TAG Fall Cave-in
  • Oct 24 – Scott Hollow Cave
  • Nov 14 – Hancock Cave bat count
  • Nov 20-22 – Smyth County survey trip

Program

Matthew showed off the light that he designed and built for cave photography.

We started the meeting this month with the program so that our guest speaker could get back to Greensboro at a reasonable hour. That might have been unnecessary given that her fieldwork with bats and mice has required the ability to adapt to an unusual schedule. Our guest speaker was Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell, PhD, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in UNC Greensboro’s Biology Department. The program covered a wide range of information. We got to see spectrograms and hear audibilized recordings (slowed way down) comparing the ultrasonic calls of a bat and a mouse, comparing the voice frequencies of numerous bat species, and tracking the progressing vocalizations of a bat flying in for the kill. We also heard about maternity colonies, hibernacula, and roosts, as well as short-range and migrating flight patterns, the threats posed by White Nose Syndrome, wind turbines, and deforestation, and the difficult work and long hours involved in “batting” out in the field.

After the program and the Q&A we chose to adjourn until our September 22 meeting.

For more information about Dr. Kalcounis-Rueppell’s work, visit
The Bat and Mouse Lab website: http://www.mckalcounisrueppell.org/
The fieldblog: http://www.batandmouselab.blogspot.com/

This month’s meeting, like June’s, took place in a room on the fourth floor of the museum. In attendance were John, Ken, Emily, Martin, Carlin, Joel, Robert, Summer, Cheryl, Janet, Peter, Mike, Lisa, Mark D., Keely, Jason, and Zeke.

Past Business
Carlin brought a SurveyBat to the meeting. He’ll have it for a few months so the grotto can play with it, but the housing is neither entirely waterproof nor Martin-proof. Carlin has built his own housing that can stand up to, or sink into, our East Coast caves. Now he’s working on waterproofing the buttons and cable.

The new TriTrogs website has not yet been born. Suggestions and assistance are welcome. Ken has pictures of the museum entrance that will be added to the meeting information page to help direct newcomers and the perpetually lost (yes, I know who I am).

The Annual Grotto Fun Trip: see Upcoming Trips, below.

New Business
A new TriTrog has emerged! Welcome, baby Kartchner!

Grotto dues for the second half of the year are $7.50 a person. Use the Paypal link on the TriTrogs website or give your payment to a grotto officer (Carlin, Rob, Mike, Emily, Mark Little).

Trip Reports
Lisa, Mike, and Peter ascended and rappelled El Capitan a silly number of times each. While Lisa was on rope she was carried some 200 feet from the cliff face by a scary wind. Fortunately it subsided gradually. Mike found a small cave on the descent hike.

Rob and Rachel went to Neversink. They descended the pit in the evening in order to get a good look at the glow worms. Super interesting things luminesced all over the place, causing the floor to move, but in a good way.

NSS Convention. Peter broke four rope-climbing records. Tanya became an NSS Fellow. Mark, Tanya, and Emily visited two Missouri show caves and unanimously preferred Onondaga Cave to Meramec Caverns. Mark, Matthew, Michael, and eMily went to Finley #1, a wild cave with several low crawls around and over a meandering stream passage. Mark investigated some climbable leads in the upper level of Finley that kept going. The kneepadless chose to turn back and missed out on the pretty waterfall and dome rooms. Emily saw a cave salamander. After the convention, Peter and Mark got their picture taken at Indiana Caverns which boasts 42 miles and is getting more added at a rapid rate.

Upcoming Trips
Aug 1-2 – Survey, Rail Valley Cave
Aug 14-16 – Annual Grotto Trip, Rehoboth Church Cave
Sept 3-6 – Old Timers’ Reunion
Sept 21-28 – Survey, Lava Beds Nat’l Monument
Oct 8-11 – TAG Fall Cave-in

There is also a trip to Scott Hollow in the works. Lisa offered to organize an online date poll.

Miscellaneous
Lisa recommends On Rope 1. When she had to replace a faulty seat harness they made the process surprisingly delightful.

Program
NSS grant recipient and NCSU grad student John Wall gave a presentation on LiDAR and its potential for discovering and mapping sinkholes.