May 2008 Meeting Minutes

Mike began the business by sharing details about the web site. He just needs a credit card number to go forward with the web hosting through Tiger Technologies.

Mike found a straightforward way within Blogger to link our trip report blog postings up to the list server. He could also make the blog appear within the TriTrog framework but didn’t see the need to change the appearance. Mike will post a trip report to the blog to test the list serve connection.

Mark shared a list of 2008 members that will be added to the grotto web page.

Mike shared a detailed trip report about his trip to the Butler Cave 50/40 Celebration. He began by describing Lisa’s shrimp cocktail (boiled shrimp, raw onion, pepper, and salsa) at Los Tres Magueyes but eventually arrived at the BCCS fieldhouse around 11:30 that night (after Ken’s car ascended the driveway).

The facilities were most impressive with a little 100-year-old bunkhouse, added roof deck, hot shower, sandstone patio, and amphitheater. Mike, Lisa, Diana, and Ken camped on a hillside beside some heavy snorers. Fortunately Saturday morning treated us to blueberry pancakes. While Ken and Mike cleaned the dishes, Diana and Lisa headed off to scrounge up a trip. Any trip into Butler Cave requires at least one BCCS member to go along.

They managed to hook us all up on a trip for twelve led by Eddie Kehs into the Stubborn Old Farts Access (SOFA) entrance. A culvert leads visitors down wooden slats for an easy entrance to the cave. Mike and Lisa followed Lee back toward helictites near the original entrance, but they were further than they expected. They eventually joined the rest of the group who were escorting Roy Charlton (see The Caves Beyond) through the 90-Ugh crawl and down to Sand Canyon. Along the way the group learned that the original rappel devices were created by a few wraps around former bowling pins as Bill described how he made them.

From Sand Canyon most of the group headed to the Moon Room. Most of the cave isn’t highly decorated, but the Moon Room was well decorated. Mike described the Hanging Dong as exciting; it is a really massive folded flowstone formation that looks like a hornet’s nest 20 feet high. The group came back to the Sand Canyon and traveled rapidly upstream to the Natural Bridge where Mike and some others climbed up on it. The group left around 3 PM.

That afternoon a plaque was unveiled that declared Butler Cave a national natural landmark, and the Butler Cave Conservation Society received accolades from the Governor and the Virginia House of Delegates. At the homestead, the BCCS revealed a stone carved by Ed Kehs, Sr.

On Sunday Mike was planning to go caving on a through trip, and they worked that out around 11 AM. However, plans kept changing, so they went rock climbing instead. Other highlights included two free barbecue meals, a telescope through which they saw Saturn and M-81 and M82 galaxies. Sunday night Mike and Lisa went into a garage observatory with a full clock drive, 17” lens, and a fold back roof. They were able to see a doughnut nebula through it.

Ken shared a trip report about his trip to Hightower Cave, but I was too busy talking to take minutes.

Discussion then turned to upcoming trips, including the VAR/SERA event in Bristol, Tennessee, the Hancock Cave cleanup trip on July 19, and the NSS Convention in Florida (John and Pete might go). We also discussed the grotto trip on August 2. A special email will be sent out to members, and Mike will make the reservation for Douthat State Park. We’ll likely visit Breathing Cave, but the Sunday trip may go to one of Phil Lucas’s caves, Marshalls, or Aqua Cave, depending on interest.