The Deal, Survey Style

Anxious to continue sketching Rowland’s, Ken and I stuck a familiar deal. I would help him in Hancock if he helped me in Rowland’s. A date was selected; we set out to find others to assist; Will helped us on Saturday and Tanya and Robbie on Sunday.


After a home cooked breakfast, thanks to Ken, we set out for Hancock. Ken had a plan already in place; the leads he was interested in were past the funnel tunnel. The funnel tunnel can only be passed when there hasn’t been, nor will there be, rain. Obvious to most all, the southeast is under near drought conditions.

Even though Hancock is currently over two miles in length, getting to our initial lead did not take long. The lead took us generally north and not into anything very tight. The lead eventually took us into a room that had been surveyed to via another direction; closing off another lead on Ken’s list.

While in the general area Ken had a few other leads. One high lead led into a formation choke; through the formations gray field mice could be seen milling around. One of the leads seemed very promising but in the end looped back to the room we had surveyed to earlier. There was one high lead, with a deep crag below, that I opted out of; it might be more appealing as the first lead on fresh legs.

Ken had one more lead to survey, a low stream passage; and the correct motivation, another home-prepared breakfast if we could break 750ft of surveyed passage. With 50ft to go, who could resist! I pushed in, however low meant really low. While lying on the bed of mud-glued coble stone, trying to dig it up, I simply called it quits. We surveyed what we could; fortunately it amounted to more than 50ft.

We exited the cave around 10:15 to a hot, humid, sound invested night. Receiving very low service at Pizza Hut landed us back at Tanya’s around 12:30. Keeping to his word, Ken made breakfast the following morning.

Rowland Spring

Pulling up to the owner’s house we were rewarded with a bit of information. On the last trip we found a signature in the cave; asking the owner if he knew any of the names, a gentleman standing next to him confessed to being one of the guilty party. The individual provided details of using a rope and climbing hand over hand through the known pit; all the wild speculation of how the signature got there came crashing to an end.

Rowland’s is not a large cave at this point, however to get back to the survey area takes some time. There’s a series of climbs and of course a pit to drop. There was no water in the stream and the mud exceptionally sticky.

The start of the survey immediately put us into a large room, which we never surveyed out of. I don’t think we surveyed but thirty percent of the room. The room is very impressive; it is difficult to define where the walls are, our lights where not bright enough to penetrate to the opposite side. The room has very large blocks of breakdown making traversing the room quite interesting.

The survey tally for the day was 416ft; the remainder of the room waits to be surveyed and any leads off of the room.