The TriTrogs Thirtieth Anniversary will be celebrated on Sunday, December 8.
We had introductions as Michael McB. led the meeting. Against his better judgment, he asked everyone to share their names and favorite rides at the State Fair. We didn’t realize how skittish TriTrogs could be about “danger”: Michael McB. (big swing), Mark D. (Howling Cow Ice Cream ride), Elise S. (Gravitron), Hunter W. (Amtrak train), Brendan (anything accident-free), Carlin (afraid of rides so he picked the tractors), Zeke (well-attached rides), Mike B. (Tunnel of Love or the most tightly bolted ride), Diana (Ferris wheel), Ken (pirate ship), and Pete (anything that drunken carnies may have assembled).
Mike B. reminded everyone at the meeting that they could pay their dues to him directly or through PayPal.
A few upcoming trips and events were listed for people to add to their calendars:
10/26: possible survey trip to Big Sink Cave (trip cancelled later)
11/2-3: Butler Cave Conservation Society project weekend (Mike B.)
11/9: Darwin Day (Emily G. is the contact for the TriTrogs display about bats as pollinators)
11/16: Survey trip to Big Sink Cave (Ken W.)
12/8 (5 PM): 30th Anniversary celebration for the TriTrogs
Feb.: Fricks Cave visit with the Southeastern Cave Conservancy
Michael McB. described the progress on the trail plans for Hancock Cave. He mapped the hillside and has a tentative promise of assistance from his corporate team. He’ll prepare plans that the WVCC will be able to review.
He encouraged TriTrogs to let officers know about other possible conservation projects. Michael McB. has not yet checked into the possibility of a carpet donation.
Michael asked if Mark D. had contacted the scout group that wanted to have a speaker before their cave trip.
Diana G. plans to host the TriTrogs’ Thirtieth Anniversary celebration at her home in North Durham on Sunday, December 8 at 5 PM. Everyone mark you’re calendars NOW. Hopefully Michael McB. will be able tofu his travel plans and make it to the party.
Carlin introduced discussion about the status of the Facebook page. The group agreed that it should be open and that the approved members are the only people who may post. We should strive to “paint the right picture” of cavers on open social media and not support negative images of cavers.
The NSS is asking individual members to sponsor artwork in the NSS building. The NSS has been averaging sixty new members a month, definitely an uptick in membership.
Then members shared their trip reports. Hunter W. led off by discussing his through trip in Bone Norman Cave. The trip report was unusual because Hunter was peppered with questions from all directions about the trip. He definitely plans to go back to try some cave photography in Normans.
After the trip Hunter W. returned to the Fall VAR for dinner in the field and then a presentation and party inside the Snedegars Saltpeter Entrance of Friars Hole Cave.
Emily and Michael McB. wanted to use a puppet show that would have highlighted their adventure with a local spelunker named Dave. Dave led them 5.1 miles from Hancock Cave, down a steep hillside, through brambles and past a safe. Eventually they ended up at Atwells Tunnel Cave, where they observed salamanders, frogs, crayfish, and a Dave too scared to enter the enormous cave mouth.
Michael McB., Mark L., and Ken W. had limited success surveying Big Sink Cave. After a morning of trail design, Ken took them driving unnecessarily along many miles of gravel road. Even though it hadn’t rained in a week, they surveyed down the cascading stream passage but got cold in relatively short time from some splashing. They left the lead with going passage because they were getting cold. Kite string still littered the passage they explored, and Ken would appreciate the return of the glove that the stream carried off.
Elise S. described the trip Emily G., Kim P., Peter H., Rodney T., and she took beyond the Funnel Tunnel in Hancock Cave. She had fun with the river rock against her rib cage as Emily dug out the back side of the Funnel Tunnel to let the five escape. The back side introduced them to a whole new cave where animals had scurried up into the inaccessible points. She described seeing tons of fossils on both sides of the Funnel Tunnel. Emily added that she had never traversed the Breakdown Staircase so many times in one weekend, and Michael McB. had never climbed in and out of the entrance so many times in one day (the following day when TriTrogs led field trips for the National Cave and Karst Management Symposium).
Peter H. and Mike B. described a cold morning at Bridge Day 2019, a bridge assembled by the finest carnies.
Michael McB. described his cave adventures at the TAG Fall Cave In, a campout with 1126 of his friends. His group moved rapidly through Hurricane Cave, spending just three hours traveling between the entrances. It was mostly walking passage and quite photogenic. Charity and he also spent a day exploring Ellison’s Cave from the warmup area back to the historic entrance, a trip that few people make in modern times. It was 1.8 miles of walking passage with 28 bats, lots of fossils, a view o petrified wood, and several side passages that eventually pinch out. He also discovered that his squeezebox limit is ten-and-a-half inches when he’s wearing a llama costume.
After a break, Mike B. shared a fascinating presentation and discussion about how cavers have used induced air flow to detect connections between cave entrances (with slides shared by Phil Lucas).