There were no newcomers at this meeting, so we skipped introductions. In attendance were Ken, Martin, Emily, Carlin, Mike, Lisa, Matthew, Sarah, and Mark D.
There was an impromptu sale of the one remaining 25th anniversary t-shirt. Some dues were collected.
There was some discussion about making donations to support New River Cave. The officers will make an announcement about the best way to do that. UPDATE: You can donate using the online NSS donation form. Select “Cave Acquisition Fund” from the fund drop-down list and then be sure to type “New River Cave” in the comments section.
Trip reports ensued.
Dig: Lisa and Mike went to Butler Cave for Pancake Weekend. They were put to work on the Back Door digging project which involved eight or nine people hoisting many, many 5-gallon bucket loads through some less than hospitable passages. Lisa had the most miserable four hours underground of her entire life. Mike wore a wetsuit and was happy. They recommend going up for a project trip to admire the engineering in use (something about a Mars Rover).
Survey and sport: Ken has posted a trip report on surveying in Beaver Creek Cave with Dave and Dawson. Carlin, Matthew, and Rob made up the other survey team on that trip. The steep approach to the cave was actually less nasty with the foot of snow on the hillside. They spent eight or nine hours surveying. While Carlin sketched Matthew followed the sound of running water through a small triangular opening to find a nice deep-looking pool about 15 feet below. Tanya joined them the next day at Boxwork Crystal Cave and Dead Air Cave. The entrance of Dead Air was draped in pretty ice formations. Matthew’s camera batteries died before he got to the really big room, but it was really fun anyway. [Carlin has posted some pictures on the Trip Reports Blog.]
Bat count: Ken and Emily joined four cavers from Walker Mountain Grotto for the Hancock Cave bat count. They counted six live bats and found the remains of one dead bat. They saw no obvious signs of White Nose Syndrome. [Here’s the posted trip report.]
Sport: Carlin, who has recently been certified as a Wilderness First Responder, Laurel, and a few other people met up with Ava at the Bat Ranch for a trip through Tawney’s Cave. Because Ava was with them they “geeked out over every living thing they could find” including some mysterious red, spotted salamander. Carlin ran through Lynx, too. He saw a few bats, including one with visible signs of WNS.
Off-topic awesome: Recently back from Tanzania, Sarah regaled us with a trip report that made up for its lack of caves with a description of her breath-taking ascent to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. While hiking elsewhere in Tanzania, she did see “some sign for some cave at some point” but elected not to investigate due to a lack of appropriate footwear. Sarah promises to bring pictures next time, and she’ll weed out the selfies taken during the badass surgeries she performed while working at a Tanzanian hospital.
April 4 – Grand Caverns Restoration (Ken. Maybe Matthew.)
April 24-26 – Spring VAR at Natural Bridge (Emily. Maybe Ken.)
May 1-3 – Perkins Cave Survey (Carlin.)
May 7-10 – SERA Cave Carnival
July 13-17 – NSS Convention
The scheduled program, a video about sinkholes (available online), was scrapped in favor of food, beer, and conversation.