Before the meeting began, our museum contact person taught Dave Duguid and Ken Walsh how to use the new A/V system. It’s easy.
Dave began the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves and tell him what our expectations are. Dave Duguid (Chair) has been caving for 4 or 5 years now. Howard and Hayden Holgate disclosed nothing about themselves. Ken Walsh was briskly typing as the TriTrog Secretary, and Zoey Shepherd introduced herself as a person who works with scouts. Diana Gietl cited her expertise as cave photography, and then we moved on to the back row. John Hennert was dragged along by Bob Smith, as were Jordan Diem and Caulfield Patrick (who had caved in an Austrian glacial cave). They hoped that The Descent was not an indicator of how our cave trips went, and this launched a discussion about the comedy The Cave. Bob Smith had done some lava tubing near Portland, Oregon but hasn’t yet been in a limestone cave. Matthew Lubin and Mark Dautridge were both on the trip to New River Cave, and Matt Westlake (Vice Chair) and Melanie McCullough wandered in late.
We then discussed the Wiley Elementary School’s Family Science Night. Several members met before the meeting to plan for the event. This year’s event will be more interactive for the kids and parents with 4-5 stations, each one with pertinent cave information. Topics include conservation, cave formation, erosion, habitat, and formations. Zoey suggested that we could push chairs together to teach the kids to go over and under, but we also plan to have the crab trap and a squeezebox. Howard will bring a projector and last year’s slide show.
Dave announced that the officers plan to buy new headlamps for the grotto loaners and are looking for suggested models. Three-watt LEDs are sure to blind the surrounding cavers, and Howard described headlight etiquette to the new people. Zoey pointed out that Energizer lamps can be purchased at Walmart and Lowe’s for just $15. Jeff Howe has volunteered to donate some helmets to the grotto, but we don’t have further details.
Dave also announced that he plans to buy Cave Minerals of the World for the grotto library.
Grotto members who did not pay their dues should expect a reminder from Mark Little.
Mark, Matt, and Matthew described their trip to New River Cave. After the train finally went by, the trip got to be a lot of fun. They enjoyed the six-mile long cave with lots of interesting sections, including a 100-foot high waterfall. The group climbed 20 feet up the waterfall to reach the tightest squeeze of the day; unfortunately the big room it led to was filled with fog. The group belayed each other down the waterfall and also followed the stream way down where the formations were impressive. Diana pointed out that the last thing you want in a cave is an accident. The trip lasted just under eight hours with about two miles of caving. It’s always challenging to see everything. The group saw a few bats covered in dew and knew it was dusk when the bats were waking up. Mark also added that he could smell the outside as we approached the entrance and found it a good way to navigate.
Howard and Hayden described the trip to Paxton’s Cave after sharing Ken’s photos on the new screen. They described the cave as a huge maze and shared the map. This somehow led into a discussion about finding human remains in caves, and Diana mentioned that she had seen some ancient remains in Russell Cave in TAG.
Some formations will never come back because water flow stops, but others can grow back at a centimeter every hundred years. Howard shared that the group took the opportunity to see a lot of the maze through quite a few loops in the 7.2 miles of cave. To find our destination, we had to choose one side passage among thousands. There was little vandalism in the cave, and everyone was encouraged to treat caves like their grandmothers’ living rooms.
March 14-16 NCRC Weekend orientation. Diana suggested that everybody should be in the stretcher at some point during the weekend.
March 21-23 Grand Caverns/Fountain Cave cleanup—Ken may join this with a trip down to the American Shakespeare Center.
March 29—Venture Crew trip to Breathing Cave
April 19—Sport trip for novices
June 5-8 VAR/SERA event in Bristol, TN
July 4-Mammoth Cave survey with CRF
Aug 11-15 NSS Convention—Dave Duguid
Dave will be pushing more caving trips this year of various types: conservation trip, vertical trip, photo trip, more sport trips. He encouraged members to keep trips on the calendar.
Zoey added that she plans to lead a Girl Scout trip to four different caves, including sleeping overnight in Lost Cave. She needs help at Appalachian Caverns on the Saturday, August 2 trip with the kids. She is also planning a second trip the weekend of October 3-5.
Dave announced that the Annual grotto trip will be chosen from 3-4 weekends that work best for members.
After the break, Ken introduced the group to TriTrog Hoopla. We learned that:
1) Zoo-ie Shepherd doesn’t recognize her own name.
2) Hayden likes ferocious cave turtles.
3) Gibbs ascenders go Clang-Clang-Clang.
4) Croll sounds like crawl.
5) The Eiffel Tower is built from French tinker toys.