In attendance: Emily, Ken, Nathan, Gillian, Hunter, Dan, Brenda, Eric, Kim, Diana, Peter, Mike B., Carlin, Jimmy
Emily posed the question: If there was a merchant in the depths of a cave and he was selling just one item, what would it be? The almost-unanimous answer was food, from ice cream to a hot bowl of soup, two different kinds of cobblers, cold beer, and to complete the mix, wifi.
- Pay your dues!
- Eric followed up from the program last month about making caves accessible to all by adding the message: keep an open mind.
- Another program follow-up: as a reminder, If you agreed to donate to the grotto in exchange , don’t forget. You can donate through PayPal.
- Upcoming programs include Salamanders, surveying, and overnight trip planning. Eric would appreciate any input for a November program.
- Spring VAR recap: Great representation from TriTrogs. 279 people registered, with 20 or so TriTrogs among them.
- NSS Directors Ballots are out. Don’t forget to vote- you can read all about the candidates online.
Ken lead a trip through Hancock cave at VAR. Accompany Ken on the trip was a family of five, including a teenage son with Down’s Syndrome who out-caved both parents. Although he didn’t speak much, they established nonverbal ways of communication.
Emily led a second VAR group (Jimmy, Jennifer, Andy, Kim) through Hancock Cave. The first time cavers in the group happily tackled the mud and explored the highlights of Hancock.
SnoCone and Buchanan Saltpeter welcomed VAR-goers Diana, Carlin, and Carlin’s dad. The group also briefly looked into Cold Sink. Although they didn’t venture in, another group found virgin cave in the area before the crawlway to heaven, relatively early in the cave. There was some digging initially, but clear once you access the area. This cave is known to flood, requiring you to move some of the mud that settles. There was a 2nd group in SnoCone that did the tight sections and vertical drop, and Diana and co made it back to the sump. As a tribute to the merit of SnoCone, Mark Hodge mentioned it was the most beautiful cave he has seen in VA.
On Friday night at VAR, Hunter and Mike McBride made it to Worley’s cave. The caving continued on Saturday with a trip to cave ridge to explore Dead Air cave with Mark and capture some beautiful pictures.
Sam 6 cave was explored by Eric and his daughter. Although not visually interesting, the kids loved it. Another family brought along an 18 month old.
Lisa and Mike led a vertical trip to Rollin Creek Cave, accompanied by 5 other people. Tanya thought it would be a through trip, but they didn’t do it as one. After the GPS took them to the wrong house, they crossed a creek with more water than usual and scrambled up a hill to the cave entrance. Inside, they tackled the two 50 foot vertical drops the cave had to offer. No one saw the owl (that was around when surveying), but there was a bird’s nest up on wall. Mike McBride helped Charity since it was her first vertical trip (she did great!). Though the lesson to take home is always that vertical gear will always be more efficient when it’s fitted properly. They did find a blue sheath samari sword but decided to leave it for the next cavers.
Pete accompanied the group on the Dead Air trip and explored with Mark while Matthew was taking pictures. There were handlines rigged to allow to navigate some of the muddy slopes. Some mapping activities have been initiated to update the map, though never concluded. When it gets really dry and there is a drought, more passages are revealed.
Also went to Hancock (and got up the slope without using the handline!).
In a separate trip (not at VAR), Emily took 10 girl scouts to navigate the passages of Low Moor cave. Additional cavers on the trip included Brenda, Kim, Sarah and her boyfriend, Diana, and Sandy. The trip started off with a setback when a handline Sandy was using snapped, a strong reminder to question any gear left in caves. Mostly unscathed with just a minor injury, she sent the rest of the party on to visit the natural entrance instead of trekking through the mine.
The scouts loved the cave pearls 50 ft or so inside the entrance, as well as the salamander and bat. In true scout form, the girls cleaned a lot of graffiti, mostly in the beautiful mine entrance (surrounded by arches of rock).
Upcoming Trips and Activities
- May 25-28: Speleofest (KY)
- May 26-27 BCCS 50/60 Butler Cave Conservation Society: 50th anniversary, 60th anniversary of when the cave was discovered
- Ken: memorial day cave trip? Let him know if anyone wants to go caving. Sport/Photo trip?
- June 8 – 10 KARST-O-RAMA (KY)
- June 22-24 OCR (PA)
- June 22-24 OCR Spring MAR Field Meet (PA) Mar: Mid atlantic region
- July 28 – Aug 4: NSS Convention (MT)
- Aug 25-26: Annual TriTrogs Grotto Trip
- Aug 30 – Sept 3: OTR (WV)
- Nov 10: Darwin Day: At Museum.
Fall VAR: end of Sept, VPI is hosting it
Carlin: Survey trip in June. Haven’t set a date. Perkins, or may go look for new caves.
Chris Atchison: International Association for Geoscience Diversity