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
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.