Howard Holgate, Dave Duguid, Mark Little, Mike Broome, and Ken Walsh all enjoyed Guinness and pizza.

Dave first reviewed the action items from the last meeting. We have interconnections at the meeting place fast enough to support video links and WebEx. Howard has the sandwich board underway, and it should be ready blank by next month. Ken will contact Steve Simmons about ways we might attract Venture Scouts to the TriTrogs (and ask him about bringing the Vliminator to the August pool party).

With a few asides about outreach efforts, the conversation eventually turned to fully developing a calendar for 2009 programs. The TriTrog officers presented ideas for each of the upcoming meetings through November and will follow up with the speakers. December will mark the 20th Anniversary celebration for the TriTrogs. We will post the calendar when the officers have confirmed with the speakers.

On March 24 Howard will present the slides we once shared at an Exploris event. He will be seeking input from the grotto members about ways to share it as a canned presentation to other groups, such as a lunchtime presentation at Cisco or NetApp.

April will likely feature a discussion about bats and their threats. Dave and Howard are inviting several bat experts (e.g., Melissa Miller and the museum bat specialists). Along with the April presentation the TriTrogs will begin their matching collection for the NSS White Nose Syndrome Rapid Response Fund. The TriTrog officers have agreed to match up to $200 of the donations from individuals. The collection will run from the April meeting through the May meeting. This plan resulted after discussion about our budget, charitable donations from the grotto, and matching gifts from corporations. The officers decided to hold off on further helmet and lamp purchases because several members have volunteered their extra gear.

We briefly discussed outreach issues (bulletin boards, REI caving classes, college recruitment, etc.), but those discussions were tabled until we published our calendar and finished the canned presentation.

Members should look for changes to the web site now that the Tiger Technologies site is set up. Mike will be setting up an area to post upcoming programs as well as presentations from meetings past.

Howard also suggested that the web site should show photographs about how exactly to find our meeting room. Members should volunteer to help or look forward to an interesting production.

The photo gallery will be a priority for Mike to put up, but he’s not sure the folders will be associated with the archived photos. Mike will also handle posting events like regional and national events on the Google calendar when they’re posted in the NSS News. He’ll also fix the links on the new FAQs page, post the membership forms on the web sites, and add some links to the WNS info pages.

Ken will work on content for a web page describing the officers and providing contact information (probably through alias addresses for each officer). Mike will let the members know what other content he’s looking for.

The officers tentatively set the weekend of September 19-20 as the time for the grotto trip. Ken suggested that we consider a visit to Culverson Creek Cave during that dry season. We also talked about scheduling other trips in advance.

Ken is also looking into a Celebration to the End of Hibernation season on April 11. Hopefully the local party will include vertical work.

Ken Walsh, Dave Duguid, Mark Little, Hayden and Howard Holgate, TJ Smith, and Mark Daughtridge were in attendance. Before the meeting Howard discovered that the internet connections in the museum were 5 Megabits down, 1.5 Megabits up and thus video capable. We could connect long-distance speakers to our meetings, even in Antarctica.

Discussion turned to the purchase of new lamps and helmets, an item that was dropped from last year’s agenda when someone had promised a donation. After talking about the types of lamps that we thought beginners could rent, Howard agreed to price them out and give costs at the next meeting. We also opened up the possibility that we could purchase used gear directly from members.

Another previous purchase approved was the book Cave Minerals of the World, and Dave plans to purchase it for the grotto library. The grotto also thanked Dave and Sandy Duguid for hosting a great holiday party with lots of delicious food.

Mike Broome plans to transition the web hosting to Tiger Technologies when he returns from Greece. He has also posted a Frequently Asked Questions page to the grotto web pages; hopefully he will fix the links that now point to Ken asked that any members with comments share them with him.

Ken also suggested that the FAQ page be spiced up with some doodles or cartoons. Ken will contact Barbi Bailey-Smith for some drawings.

Hayden proposed that the grotto should produce bumper stickers and magnets again. This item will go on the agenda for the next general or officers meeting.

To make the meeting location seem more inviting, the TriTrog officers have chosen to begin leaving a greeter or two at the door as well as set up a sign near Jones Street. Howard promised to spend two months preparing a white sandwich board sign, and the members discussed the appropriate size that could be brought to the meetings as well as to caving events. Then the ideas started flying (LED lights, bonfires, stenccilling, motion sensors, and the need for NORAD approval).

Mark also introduced a discussion about finding a new location to meet, and he asked the members to look for other locations that could compete with the museum.

Howard mentioned that he is working on a new presentation that can be shared with other groups and businesses in an effort to grow the membership.

TJ mentioned the 1000-foot Clinch River overlook in Breaks Interstate Park where he’s working to get access to unexplored caves.

Ken shared a cave trip report written by Linda Waters-Lindqvist. She described a volcanic origin to the cave with an icy floor. The only decorations came from penguin poo, and elephant seals guarded the entrance.

Upcoming Trips
–Ken is planning a cave photography trip to Fountain Cave from March 7-8.
–Spring VAR April 24-26
–SERA—May ??
–Spring VAR April 24-26 at Grand Caverns
–Easter Grand Caverns Conservation Weekend—April 11-12
–NCRC Weeklong training—May 1-9 in Harrisonburg, VA
–Dave plans to survey Boones Cave and produce a map for the kiosk that gets constructed (hopefully the map will list
–Grotto trip
–NSS Convention and International Congress of Speleology in Kerrville, TX– July 19-26
–Blevins, Worleys, and Rowlands Spring Caves still need surveying in Smyth County, Virginia—interested members should contact Ken or Dave

Mark Daughtridge mentioned that rock climbers use an online meetup group and suggested the cavers consider using their methods for setting a class and then going on a trip to use what one learns. He might be able to promote the event on the meetup group if it would be of interest to the climbers.

Howard will organize a TriTrog lunch in RTP some time in the near future.

Before closing, members shared some thoughts about White Nose Syndrome.

Mark Little, Dave Duguid, Howard Holgate, and Ken Walsh were in attendance. Some members find the 7:30 PM general meeting time to be difficult, but I-40 rush hour traffic in the eastbound direction prevents an earlier start time. Discussion will be held at a meeting before the times are changed. However, Dave reiterated his intention to begin the meetings on time.

The officers discussed the possibility of moving the meeting place somewhere else in the Triangle. However, no other place in the Triangle came to mind that would have the same desirable qualities found in the Museum location. The officers think that the meeting place needs to feel more welcoming above the surface. Howard is going to ask a member to build a sandwich board that we can sit near the street before meetings and maybe even include LED lights to make the sign easy to see. We will also start asking a member or two to stay upstairs and act as greeters for possible new members.

Discussion turned to programs for the coming year. With more coordination at this challenging task, the topics can be announced at the previous meeting, across the list serve, and on the web page. Some officers proposed that programs should be aimed toward attracting and sticking new people to the grotto. These two programs would include geology, flora, and fauna. Other topics include the exploratory cave dive videos (e.g., Wakulla Springs), materials from the NSS Library, open forum, blasting, and conservation.

Outreach was the next subject of discussion, beginning with an identification of key demographics that might be attracted to caving as a sport and where to find them (e.g., Cisco). Grotto activities would be considered a good socialization for young people, and Howard suggested that a canned program could be presented with these groups.

The officers also discussed advertising across the web by sharing external links with other local outdoors groups (e.g., rock climbing groups, Carolina Canoe Club, Sierra Club, cycling clubs, outdoors stores, and BOK). A way to get more hits on the web page would be to say “Cave locations” and then follow it with “…are not disclosed on the web. Come to our meeting.”

Discussion then turned to participation on trips. Several alternatives were discussed (family trips, combining trips with the Virginia Creeper Trail or other activities, and alternative departure times). These activities could be improved with college leaders and people hoping to excite their children about the outdoors. It may even be possible to recruit people at activities such as the Eno River Festival.

Action Items
· Howard will test the internet speed at the next meeting to understand if streaming the meetings would be possible.
· Howard will ask a member to build a sandwich board to place outside before meetings.
· Ken will try to identify a graphic artist to help us design the sandwich board message.
· Dave will work on a program presentation that describes how running a kids trip is different than one for adults, including items such as the parent:child ratio and picking an appropriate cave.
· Dave will repeat his cave diving presentation at some point this year. Perhaps scuba groups would also be interested in attending that meeting.
· Ken will contact Steve Simmons about ways to reach out to Venture scouts who are looking for outdoor activities outside the scouting groups.

Agenda Items that Were Not Discussed
· Membership (spending funds on sure advertising and monetary incentives)
· Green/environmental activities
· Vertical training sessions
· Claiming long weekends for cave trips
· Web site improvements (showing larger presence, FAQs, contact names, and listing upcoming trips)
· Grotto donation to the NSS White Nose Syndrome Fund

Introductions were skipped because everyone already knew one another.

Mark Little led discussion on the Annual Treasurer’s Report. He discussed the undeposited funds from the grotto trip (corrected by Mike) and how we spent slightly more than we took in due to charitable donations.

Ken Walsh mentioned that he spoke to a Cary Boy Scout troop in January. They planned to head out for the wild cave tour in Mammoth Cave over the MLK weekend. Dave Duguid mentioned that Organ Cave also gives wild tours.

Memberships are up for renewal, so everyone was encouraged to re-up. $15 for individual members.

Mike Broome announced that the web hosting transition would serve as his 2009 platform when he ran for editor/webmaster.

The National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) is building its staff by hiring a director to establish, lead, and coordinate their Education Program. Anyone interested in the position should contact Ken for more details.

Mike Broome agreed to check with Keith Wheeland about how to deliver the TriTrog blogs as records of annual publications.

Ken announced that Hamilton Cave in Pendleton County, West Virginia had shown signs that White Nose Syndrome has reached that southern extent. [The bat count on January 30 confirmed that the cave is showing clear signs of a WNS outbreak, including five dead bats found on the trail to the cave entrance] The Guilday Cave Preserve (Trout Rocks) is closed to cavers until further notice.

Some discussion led to the conclusion that the TriTrogs should decline to participate at Wiley Elementary School’s Science Night this year. Caves don’t really fit easily into this year’s theme of Air.

Dave Duguid described the New Years weekend trip to Marion with Ken Walsh, Mark Daughtridge, and Tanya McLaughlin. While rescuing coon dogs, Tanya had met the daughter of a cave landowner who wanted to descend into the pit on their property. She led the group out to the cave entrance where they encountered another group exiting the cave with a rudimentary sketch. Because of the late hour to the day, the group instead surveyed horizontal Cotton Cave with a 2-foot wide entrance. They left one 30-foot-high lead up a flowstone slope for another trip. The return trip at night was riddled by briars when the landowner’s daughter turned too early.

The next day the group found Fasell Cave, marked it on the GPS, and left because there was just 25 feet to see. The group then mapped Ward Saltpeter Cave completely. They then went to The Flat behind the door in Flat Ridge and surveyed its two leads. The survey ended Saturday evening at two smaller leads.

On Sunday that group went back to Worley’s Cave in Smyth County after six years away. The cave is really wide and slopes down 25 degrees. The group began survey from the streambed and then headed up hill to the back area with the monorail worms.

Ken began a trip report about his next trip to Smyth County with Mark Daughtridge, Tanya McLaughlin, Justin Noia, and Hannah. Because the 1952 map of Roberts Cave was just compass and pace, Ken, Mark, and Tanya began resurveying the cave o Saturday morning. After a good lunch at Smokey’s Barbecue, Mark and Ken joined Justin and Hannah over at Hancock Cave. They stopped at the second Toilet Bowl because of the scare factor and headed instead toward the Long Room. Back there Justin and Mark squirmed into the hole high in the wall, much to Hannah and Ken’s amusement. Mark finished the trip report by describing the Echo Chamber, the inch-thick false floor, his squeeze at the low end of the formations, the white isopod, roots that were mistaken for iron, a virgin room that is not shown on the map and pure white formations beyond that, Hannah’s recognition of the Octopus Room, 23-degree weather outside the cave, and good Mexican food.

The following day Mark, Tanya, and Ken went back to Worley’s Cave. Mark mentioned that racing through the entrance room avoided a disgusting experience. The sandwich of the 18-inch high crawl didn’t bother Tanya at all, and the group surveyed to the waterfall. Three leads went out from the waterfall room, but the short survey didn’t get the group back into the main passage. Mark got lessoned about how to set surveyed stations, and Tanya learned not to wash hers in the waterfall. Mark discovered that the black formations up the waterfall were merely mud, but the shelves and Ken’s shoulder let him climb to the top to find some leads and a second waterfall. Worley’s Cave now seems to be getting quite mazy.

Mike Broome described the trip he and Lisa Lorenzin took to Basswood Cave. They stayed with Keith Wheeland and spent three days digging with chemical persuasion, but Mike still doesn’t fit. On the first trip he learned to use a mechanical ascender to pull the muddy rope attached to the sled, and he drilled and set charges on the second trip. Lisa had squeezed through and sketched the room she found, but the multiple ledges kept others from joining her. Lisa’s helmet cam was underlit, and the weather outside was incredibly cold.

Now Mike Broome is looking for an excuse to buy a hammer drill.

Mark Daughtridge mentioned that he did two commercial tours of Mammoth Cave over the holidays.

TJ Smith shared photos from his family trip at New Years to Hardin’s Cave (Junkyard Cave). His six-year-old nephew loves having his photos taken. After a short crawl they spent most of the time in a newer section discovered during the survey of this formerly sacrificial cave.

After a break, there was quick discussion about the upcoming trips:
February 6—Grand Caverns
February 20—vertical trip to Smyth County
Easter—Grand Caverns restoration weekend
Spring VAR
Boone’s Cave
Weeklong NCRC in Virginia
SERA Summer Cave Carnival in May
Breaks Park in icy Virginia

Elections were held, and the members unanimously elected Dave Duguid for Chair, Howard Holgate for Vice Chair, Mike Broome for Editor/Webmaster, Mark Little for Treasurer, and Ken Walsh for Secretary.

Dave Duguid welcomed the fourteen members to the last grotto meeting of the year.

TriTrog membership dues for 2009 will be collected again for all members in January.

The issues associated with web hosting had not yet been resolved, but Mike Broome was working on them while the meeting was going on. Mike had contacted Tiger support about transitioning our existing site to the new system. Tiger would prefer that the whole system be transferred to their system, following their step-by-step instructions. Issues would be simplified if anything went wrong, and there is no financial difference between the choices. Fortunately we have not received two bills for the same services this year.

Dave Duguid will host the holiday party on December 6. It will once again be a pot luck celebration, and Dave encourages carbide pumpkins but hesitated at the mention of song books. Ken will roast a turkey, and others are encouraged to bring appetizers, sides, and desserts. The party will start around 6 PM with food served beginning around 7 PM. Casual dress in a kid-friendly home.

Ken encouraged any members to share any information about 2008 activities of TriTrogs in the areas of exploration, protection, and education. This will be included in the NSS annual corporate report.

John Plyler shared that fellow caver Ed Kehs Jr. had been in a serious car accident. He is in pretty bad shape, and the TriTrogs send him their best wishes.

In terms of trip reports, John Plyler talked about the trip he and Pete Hertl took to OTR. They took second and third places in the ropewalker competition, third place in cable ladder, second place in knots, honorable mention in the obstacle course. When competing in beer drinking speed competitions, they learned to get their face down in the beer, remove the foam, and drink it warm and flat to down it in under two seconds. Pete did not recall where he caved on OTR Friday but did not indicate if the beer drinking influenced his recollections.

Dave Duguid described the digging trip to a North Carolina cave found in a county park. He, Tanya McLaughlin, Linda Waters-Lindqvist, Christian Lindqvist, and Ken Walsh found the first lead into the hillside closed down to an impossibly tight lead. Dave, Linda, and Christian did manage to dig two connections using a hoe, kitty litter buckets, and snow saucers. Dave described that we could dig for eternity in the cave in the loose soil, but it likely will not yield much. Odds are that the cave was not filled by the state as was once rumored.

Dave mentioned that Cato Holler shared the the 1970’s map of the cave, and that and the NSS article from the 1950’s described the same cave that we found. It’s probably not worth digging further in this cave, but we could go up and survey for a high quality map that covers the new connections.

Mike Broome and Lisa Lorenzin went on November 8 to Burnsville Cove with the Butler Cave Conservancy Society. They stayed at the homestead with BCCS members. They entered Basswood Cave at the base of an award-winning tree. Saturday they went in for a dig 10 minutes from the entrance. They microblasted dinner plate-sized rocks. A crawl led 25 feet to a dogleg in a thin crevice from 5 to 7 inches wide. They felt huge amounts of air blowing and stayed in the cave from 11 AM to 11 PM. There is another low lead down a cable ladder. Lisa bellycrawled through 2 inches of water for 20 feet to the turnaround point. Forty or fifty feet further she could have wiggled her chest through but had to turn around. They microblasted with soda straws and black powder. Two drills ran through the batteries pretty fast, but they could recharge at Nevin’s house just outside the entrance. The sounds they liked to hear while microblasting were “Woomph, crumple, crumple, crumple.”

Dave mentioned the possible upcoming trips to Boone’s Cave or the first weekend in January.

After the break, TJ Smith shared Jody Bailey’s presentation on their weeklong class of Level 1 certification from the National Cave Rescue Commission.

Recorded by Mike Broome

meeting started at 7:50pm
10 people in attendance

Notes on attendance:
- only 1 person there at 7:30pm
- only 7 of the final 10 there by 7:50pm
- only one officer in attendance by 7:50pm
(note 3 of 5 officers were present by half-way through the meeting)

Old Business
- web site
. going with Tiger Technologies
- need to move the domain from GoDaddy to Tiger, but they help with that
- won't cost any extra
. discussion of picture gallery

New Business
- Mark Little setting up trip for Explorers
. Mark can't cave right now
. need another person
. weekend of 11/15 ?
. Rehobeth Church w/ backup of Paxton's
. have about 12 scouts lined up

- suggestion to change meeting time to 8pm
. for a while now, the meeting start time has been drifting later due to
people showing up late
. a later start time would make it easier for people to get dinner before
. there was a concern that with a later start time, if the meeting runs for
2 hours like it often does, we won't get out until very late; perhaps the
meeting could be run more efficiently
. alternate suggestion: actually *start* the meeting at 7:30

Upcoming Trips
- Explorers trip - 11/15 ?
. to Rehobeth Cave or Paxton's
. see "New Business" for details of needing additional trip leader(s)

- Rowland Spring - this weekend
. might or might not require surveying and vertical skills
. contact Dave Duguid for details

- Halloween party at Susanna's - Friday, 10/31
. wear a costume (but not a caver!) or get painted when you arrive

Trip Reports

- TAG Fall Cave-In (Lisa)
. TinY and Nikky's wedding on Friday
. went to Flowing Stone Cavern on Saturday
- "we went so you don't have to"
. 1-2 hour hike over hills and around quarry through poison ivy fields
. 225' cavern that we rappelled into
. pretty at the bottom with pool with large salamander and fossil shells in the wall
. TAG Fall Cave-in is a great event, and looking forward to going back

- Conservation Trip (Susanna) - early October
. Hancock Cave Peacock entrance
. where the stream flows into the cave
. 15' of "stuff" to remove that had been dumped in the entrance
. appliances, etc.
. land owner let us use his truck
. still more to be picked up
enough for another conservation trip
. Ken *never* said there was a car in there

- Rehobeth Cave (Lindsay)
. friends Mom who caves a lot to her and her boyfriend
. did top part first and went all the way back
. optional tight squeeze - ladies only
. cave back through and went down to the stream part
got really wet crawling in the stream despite the low water level
. one of the people on the trip fell in and got really wet which was the
end of the trip
. about 4 hours underground
. lots of wildlife - salamanders, crayfish (white), crickets, spiders (way back in)

- Hancock Cave (Ken)
. after conservation trip Ken, Mark, Dave, Dawson went in
. found a hole near Peackock entrance
. from top of sink hole, Dave climbed in
really drops, but he saw daylight
Ken went around to main entrance and could see Dave above him (~18')
. Dave was afraid to take Dawson down breakdown staircase; solution was to
tether the two of them together (8-10' leash)
. Dawson was getting worn out (there was disbelief at this), and they left
the cave when he got tired
. Dawson was very excited about having done an arm rappel

- Rowland Springs (Ken)
. day after the conservation trip
. Dave wanted to take Dawson to the cave
. stuffed Dave down holes that Ken and Tanya hadn't fully explored previously
. found a hole that drops down into the stream that is probably a couple more
survey shots
. another room (Rock and Roll room) that needs to be surveyed
. went up to upper entrance; took some pictures
. then went to Sentinel Cave
had found a long piece of rebar/screw in the upper entrance that was a great
digging tool; left it with Tanya
. Tanya found another hole in the hillside lower down from Sentinel
. hoe was a great digging tool
. Dave was able to get his whole body in; needs more digging

- Bridge Day (Mike)
. great weather; had a good time
. Mike got 4 rappels; Lisa got 3
. there were 2 dedicated ascent ropes this year and they climbed together once
. have not heard of any injuries or fatalities from this year


. National Geographic Channel show: "Giant Crystal Cave"

Attendees: Mark Little, Christian Lindquist, Ken Walsh, TJ Smith, Melanie McCullough, Howard Holgate, Hayden Holgate, Matthew Lubin, Matt (who won’t cave with us), and Mark Daughtridge

It was suggested that the TriTrogs wouldn’t mesh well with North Carolina Gem and Mineral Club, another affiliate with the Museum.

Mark Little led the meeting, in the absence of the Chair and Vice Chair. Mark mentioned the dues for the second half of the year and that the grotto had $1800+ in its treasury.

It was agreed that Susanna should send out directions and a date for the Halloween party. Several volunteered to host the holiday season party.

Ken described why the TriTrogs had changed their minds about surveying Santee State Park: a map was already completed, dry cave was limited to 200 feet, no cave diving allowed, etc.

Trip Reports
Ken described a fantastic trip to Culverson Creek Cave at the VAR. The trip to the Echo Tube was his big reward but Melanie wondered how he got so muddy.

Howard mentioned Phil Lucas’s VAR presentation about Water Sinks Cave and said that everyone enjoying the presentation would surely want to visit this most impressive cave that opened itself last year. Howard talked about his personal first trip to Scott Hollow Cave. Peter and Ann Bosted took photos of the Double Waterfall, and Howard watched Melanie descend from the Chess Room with too short a piece of webbing.

Melanie described Scott Hollow Cave as having more breakdown than she had ever seen. Her trip report included the W Room, Omega Pit, the natural bridge 75 feet in the air (which Cheryl Jones strode across), Volcano Pit, and the Chess Room for pictures. Melanie wasn’t sure she’d recover from all of the climbs and crawls, but it was certainly a good workout. After connecting with Howard’s group, they checked out Craig’s Creek and then up the steep breakdown piles to the entrance.

Mark Daughtridge shared disposable camera photos of his sixteen-person trip to Norman Cave, but they featured far more formations than people. He described that one woman had had shoulder surgery a month earlier, but her doctor had given her the go ahead to do whatever she wanted. Caving shouldn’t have been on the list. With a creature swimming by his shoe, Mark got wet up to mid-thigh before they got to the Great White Way. To find the Great White Way, Mark mentioned that they had to turn around 180 degrees and then crawl into the lead. He even shared a photo of something he called a coral head, described as coral replaced by chert.

On Sunday only 3 out of 16 people showed up for Mark’s trip to Crossroads Cave, led by Mark Morton. With a small group and armed with a map, they were able to visit the lesser known parts of Crossroads Cave and were rewarded by nice formations in the very mazy cave. Mark got some very nice photos here too which he shared, including good passage shots. They went down the “very narrowest passage” and found tree roots hanging 10 feet down from the ceiling. Mark was also impressed by the sea shells in the rocks on the “beach.” The experienced cavers indulged Mark and allowed him to explore dead ends. He even got a nice shot of a splattermite formation.

Upcoming Trips
Boone’s Cave this weekend
Cave conservation trip to Hancock Cave
Geology field trip along the Saltville and Pulaski Faults — Contact Howard if interested
TAG—Pete Hertl and TJ plan to attend this event held at the permanent TAG site, 80 minutes south of Chattanooga
Venture crew youth group trip at Nov. 15—Contact Mark Little if interested

Dave Duguid (Chair) welcomed everyone to the meeting and then asked everyone to introduce themselves. They included Dave Duguid, Will Summer, Matt Westlake (Vice Chair), TJ Smith, Mark Little, Janell Lovelace, Ken Walsh, Rob Phelps, John Plyler, Lindsey Carey originally from the Chicago area, Susanna Clark with the advice to avoid baby showers, Susan Bullers who began wild caving in Colorado and drove up from Wilmington, Howard and Hayden Holgate, Christian Lindqvist, and Mark Daughtridge. Linda Waters-Lindqvist, Matt Jenkins, and Brian Bolt joined the meeting later.

To cover Business, Mark Little (Treasurer) planned to accept dues during the break. Dave mentioned that the web host transition is an ongoing project. When Dave brought up the holiday parties, Susanna Clark volunteered that she might host the Halloween Party. There was no other business.

Dave Duguid led off the trip reports by talking about his July trip to Rowland Springs Cave. Robbie and Jason helped Dave survey up through some formations. They ended up surveying back up into an area they didn’t expect and covered about 250’ of survey. Sentinel Cave needs to be dug out some more and may lead further into the hillside, so Dave described the dig in Sentinel Cave and was interested in suggestions on how to lift out the dirt.

Matt Westlake described the TriTrog Annual Cave Trip to James Cave. We popped out the second entrance and saw some salamanders. We climbed through the culvert formation poised with a convenient pool of water at the bottom. It’s a horizontal cave with some climbing, and we got out faster than we got in. Dave added that Diana, Dave, and Dawson sped out of the cave in 45 minutes, with Dawson getting wet up to his waist.

Dave made me give the trip description to Tawney’s Cave, so the minutes are sketchy. Dave, Dawson, Mike, Lisa, and I took lots of photos in the first room, and then the intense fog confused me for a while. Dave posted a photo of the back entrance from the cave with the trip report.

Dave shared a trip report from his trip to a North Carolina cave reputed to once be the home of a famous explorer. Dave and his youngest visited several low passages that have been filled with dirt since the 1960s. The cave is right beside the river, and the dirt was easy to move. His photos showed far less room than could have held the 24 people that once were purported to live there, but there were once seven rooms. The county park would be willing to let us remove the graffiti and the dirt in order to discover more about the cave. They’d also appreciate a map.

Janell went caving with an organized group. They went out near the Sinks of Gandy (probably to Stillhouse Cave) for a concert. They held well over a hundred people there after telling them to dress like they’d be wrestling pigs in Seattle. [I didn’t realize that Seattle was a pig wrestling mecca.]

Upcoming Trips
OTR: John Plyler and Pete Hertl are going up on Thursday morning to this event for 1500 cavers.
Fall VAR—September 19-21 in Covington: Ken, Howard, and Hayden are planning to go
Annual Conservation Trip—October 4-5: Clean up the Peacock Entrance to Hancock Cave in the morning and cave in the afternoon. Stay at Tanya’s house, present the map to the landowner, and hear a Bob and Sheri radio interview about a trip into Hancock. The owner will be bow hunting starting that weekend, but he promised not to shoot at us.
Cave Survey in Santee State Park, SC—September 13: Dave hasn’t heard for sure about this date
NC Cave described above in the trip reports: contact Dave Duguid
Venture Crew 888 wants to reschedule their trip for Nov. 15. It would help to have more leaders for this all high-school group. Mark Little is the contact person.


Ken Walsh shared a presentation titled Hancock Cave: Survey, Cartography, Recollections, and Recognition. After getting a nice plaque from the TriTrogs, he passed out copies of the map to the surveyors.

Diana Gietl kindly volunteered to lead tonight’s meeting. She began by allowing everyone to introduce themselves: John Plyler, Jing Niu, Mark Little, Lisa Lorenzin, Mike Broome, Mark Dautridge, Diana Gietl, Hayden and Howard Holgate, Will Summer, Matt Westlake (late arrival), Ken Walsh, and Matt Meyers.

Mark Little (Treasurer) asked anyone who had not yet paid dues to pay them now ($8/half year, $15/year). Discounts for the grotto trip were based on the dues that were paid.

Ken announced that the August program would deal with the survey and cartography efforts associated with Hancock Cave. The final map will first be shown at the NSS Convention in Florida next month, and the local surveyors will be able to get their copies of the map at the August TriTrog meeting.

In thinking about future programs, Diana suggested that we consider a barbecue gathering in the early fall. Ken suggested an auction to raise money for research into White Nose Syndrome, and he shared some items that he thought would be good for the auction. Diana also offered to share her Greenland or France slide shows for a future meeting.

One of the auction items was a copy of the recent VAR/SERA guidebook, and someone asked if the TriTrogs could get a copy for the library. A motion was made and passed (with no opposition) to purchase a copy for the library.

Trip Reports
Mark Little talked about his trip to Perkins Cave (John Matthews of ACC invited him). The ACC meeting was held in an old barn that Tanya McLaughlin helped him find. John Wilson led Mark, Ellen Hofler, and Theresa Matthews on a cave trip. Mark described an elaborate entrance gate, ladders, and about ten miles of cave in Washington County Virginia. John Wilson has been adding ladders for people with short legs; snap-together ladder segments were carried in and through the drops into the first room. After the work in the entrance room, they went into the Humming Room. In one spot, the room actually hums with more than an echo, more like a reverberation of the walls. The group went through the entrance crawl (wide) and to the Junction Room where they crossed an exposed ledge. The ledge was rigged with three bolts and a rope. This led into the Toothpaste Crawl. The mud there is two feet thick, so they’ve added a plastic sheet to slide across. The ACC wants to make the cave available to cavers but still minimize the damage to the passages. The First Discovery Room is where they encountered the first really impressive white formations. The Forest Trail is a borehole passage through formations.

Mark mentioned the resurvey of Perkins Cave that is going on right now, and he was told to bring some TriTrogs back next time for the survey.

The minutes get sketchy on Ken’s trip reports (because I don’t talk and take minutes well simultaneously). I talked about my sport trip to Hancock Cave during the SERA/VAR (lotsa loops, the last dead end, and beer spray), Morrell’s Cave with Amar, Fayekah, and Avinash (climbing up to an out-of-the-way lead above the Waterfall Room), Rodas-Wolters Cave with Dave Duguid and Tanya (discovery, exploration, shingle cleanup, and survey all in one morning), Chip on Her Shoulder Cave (trip included river crossing, a skylight, stinging nettles, hissing bobcats at Five Goats Cave, wasp nests, ticks, and all the reasons not to ridgewalk in the summer), and Mosquito Den (a dead end after the rock was removed).

Upcoming Trips
There was considerable discussion about details for the upcoming Grotto trip. Mike expected 10-15 people camping at Douthat State Park in Virginia. He would begin emails between those persons discussing trips to Breathing Cave on Saturday and Crossroads Cave on Sunday. There is also the possibility of mountain biking or rock climbing (with poison ivy, mosquitoes, and ticks) nearby for Sunday. The camping and food costs would be covered for grotto members with a $25 fee for others.

The upcoming NSS Convention was covered in the meeting program so not discussed.

Mark Little mentioned an upcoming Explorer Scout trip for August 15.

Old Timers Reunion will be held Labor Day weekend.

The Fall Virginia Area Regional event will be held in Covington, VA September 19 weekend.

The NSS Convention next year will be held in Texas along with the International Congress on Speleology.

Susanna and Dave will share more details about the upcoming Hancock Cave cleanup trip in October.

A cave survey opportunity in Santee State Park in South Carolina might be coming up in September or October.

Diana may be going down to TAG in the Fall for cave photography for as long as a five-day trip. She may visit the Huntsville area or Scottsboro and maybe in conjunction with the TAG Fall Cave In.

Mike began the business by sharing details about the web site. He just needs a credit card number to go forward with the web hosting through Tiger Technologies.

Mike found a straightforward way within Blogger to link our trip report blog postings up to the list server. He could also make the blog appear within the TriTrog framework but didn’t see the need to change the appearance. Mike will post a trip report to the blog to test the list serve connection.

Mark shared a list of 2008 members that will be added to the grotto web page.

Mike shared a detailed trip report about his trip to the Butler Cave 50/40 Celebration. He began by describing Lisa’s shrimp cocktail (boiled shrimp, raw onion, pepper, and salsa) at Los Tres Magueyes but eventually arrived at the BCCS fieldhouse around 11:30 that night (after Ken’s car ascended the driveway).

The facilities were most impressive with a little 100-year-old bunkhouse, added roof deck, hot shower, sandstone patio, and amphitheater. Mike, Lisa, Diana, and Ken camped on a hillside beside some heavy snorers. Fortunately Saturday morning treated us to blueberry pancakes. While Ken and Mike cleaned the dishes, Diana and Lisa headed off to scrounge up a trip. Any trip into Butler Cave requires at least one BCCS member to go along.

They managed to hook us all up on a trip for twelve led by Eddie Kehs into the Stubborn Old Farts Access (SOFA) entrance. A culvert leads visitors down wooden slats for an easy entrance to the cave. Mike and Lisa followed Lee back toward helictites near the original entrance, but they were further than they expected. They eventually joined the rest of the group who were escorting Roy Charlton (see The Caves Beyond) through the 90-Ugh crawl and down to Sand Canyon. Along the way the group learned that the original rappel devices were created by a few wraps around former bowling pins as Bill described how he made them.

From Sand Canyon most of the group headed to the Moon Room. Most of the cave isn’t highly decorated, but the Moon Room was well decorated. Mike described the Hanging Dong as exciting; it is a really massive folded flowstone formation that looks like a hornet’s nest 20 feet high. The group came back to the Sand Canyon and traveled rapidly upstream to the Natural Bridge where Mike and some others climbed up on it. The group left around 3 PM.

That afternoon a plaque was unveiled that declared Butler Cave a national natural landmark, and the Butler Cave Conservation Society received accolades from the Governor and the Virginia House of Delegates. At the homestead, the BCCS revealed a stone carved by Ed Kehs, Sr.

On Sunday Mike was planning to go caving on a through trip, and they worked that out around 11 AM. However, plans kept changing, so they went rock climbing instead. Other highlights included two free barbecue meals, a telescope through which they saw Saturn and M-81 and M82 galaxies. Sunday night Mike and Lisa went into a garage observatory with a full clock drive, 17” lens, and a fold back roof. They were able to see a doughnut nebula through it.

Ken shared a trip report about his trip to Hightower Cave, but I was too busy talking to take minutes.

Discussion then turned to upcoming trips, including the VAR/SERA event in Bristol, Tennessee, the Hancock Cave cleanup trip on July 19, and the NSS Convention in Florida (John and Pete might go). We also discussed the grotto trip on August 2. A special email will be sent out to members, and Mike will make the reservation for Douthat State Park. We’ll likely visit Breathing Cave, but the Sunday trip may go to one of Phil Lucas’s caves, Marshalls, or Aqua Cave, depending on interest.