In virtual attendance: Lee O., Martin G. Robert H., Louis Le, Ken W., Mike B., Stephan Francke, Taylor Tibbs, April Nieuwkoop, Joanna Young, Skylar Hopkins, Dan La Pasha, Emily NoPuns, Mark D., Zeke, Lisa L., Jeramie, Pete H., and Arthur
During introductions, Zeke asked everyone to share what they do to clean (not decon) their cave gear. Several cited drying the clothes and then beating off the dirt first, but a more common technique seemed to be forgetting about the gear for a week and hoping it cleans itself. Front loaders at laundromats were popular. Outdoors with a hose (sometimes at car washes) seemed more effective than in bathtubs. Several mentioned hanging the gear outside over fences and drying racks until a rain storm magically cleaned the gear or washed it away. Five-gallon buckets with soapy water are good for gloves and kneepads. The most effective technique with the least effort seemed to be lying in a surface stream immediately after exiting the cave. It avoids Rob’s mother yelling at you for muddying up the kitchen sink.
Zeke announced that grotto dues had dropped to $7 for the remainder of 2021 and that NSS dues are $40 for a year.
Ken announced that the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is reopening its doors in August to its affiliate groups. Taylor conducted a popup survey of the meeting attendees to poll their interest levels in outdoor, indoor, and hybrid meetings. Questions were asked about the TriTrogs possibly moving to the larger meeting room upstairs (and later sent to the Museum) and the associated wifi capability. The officers will hold a virtual meeting to make choices about the remainder of this year and notify the Museum.
Louis shared a trip report about his first wild caving trip with Mark, Susan, and Andy. They visited Hancock Cave after their stay at an air B&B and a few days after substantial rain. They visited the Grantham Room, Octopus Room, Breakdown Staircase, and Comic Book Hole. They discovered a stream, and Louis was thankful that he had practiced caving in the squeezebox at the June meeting. The newly improved trail to the cave made it possible to avoid hungry chihuahuas.
Zeke discovered that returning to cave surveying was more awkward than he thought near the Pole Room in Perkins Cave. Jason, Mark D., and Carlin surveyed at very steep angles without aid from the laser Disto Emily had borrowed from them. Seven hours underground.
Zeke spent Sunday with Carlin harassing Rich Valley cavers and in search of a way into Cold Sink Cave. Because rain was threatening and because they were all caught up on their podcasts about Ancient Rome, they spent little time clearing debris from the Cold Sink entrance and instead headed over for a very short sport trip into Hancock Cave.
Meanwhile Ken and Mark were slipping past an electric fence and entering Big Sink Cave. The bull did not follow them inside. After seeing a salamander, Ken thought that the survey would be finishing. However, Mark found an easier route around the boneyard squeeze; it climbed over a breakdown pile and into a walking passage. Mark found it to be a fun cave with nice features.
Emily described her survey with Elise, Andrew, and Ken in the Second Discovery section of Perkins Cave. She is always amazed by new finds on each trip back to the cave. This time she described a wall full of enormous popcorn that looked like toasted marshmallows. Emily described her travel down a virgin crawlway and the removable handholds she found.
Zeke chimed in that he found the Humming Room one of the most amazing places he’s ever been.
Pete had the opportunity to return to Buckeye Creek Cave in West Virginia. The group entered through the insurgence and eventually discovered that the resurgence was fully pumped. They worked their way up high exposure climbs looking for the third level. Exiting, Pete found that his cave suit was nearly fully washed.
Mike and Lisa explored some shelter caves on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland but then signed up for the commercial lava tube tour into Vatnshellir Cave. The spiral staircase between lava tubes was impressive, but the temperature was much chillier than the lava tubes they explored in Hawaii.
Closer to home, Dan described a photo trip he took to Tawney’s Cave near Blacksburg. They helped repair the gate and enjoyed the chance to take photos in the back where the dead cow no longer lies (lays?). Dan found that the radio remotes he had worked very well.
—Mark D. will be leading a beginners trip to Hancock Cave on July 29
—Ken announced that a gravel haul conservation project will be held on October 16 at Grand Caverns (amidst the MAR/VAR event)
Taylor convinced Mark to describe fungus at our August meeting as a program.
Taylor ran part of Mariann McConnell’s/Dave Socky’s video about Catawba Murder Hole.
After the meeting adjourned, we enjoyed some discussion with Arthur about possible ways to capture video footage within a Panama cave using a borescope.