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September 1996 NearNormal News


Jim Jacobs

As most of you already know, our grotto and the entire caving world lost agood friend recently. "The Spirit of Illinois Caverns", ArminKrueger, passed away in August. He provided help, information, friendship, andso much more to thousands of cavers from around the country who were luckyenough to spend some time at Illinois' most accessable and beautiful cave. Heloved spending time with cavers whom he would allow to camp on his land, whichwas directly adjacent to the cave. They would share their food with him, and hewould talk about caves. He knew the Monroe County caves well, and delighted insharing his knowledge with any and all who would listen. He was a gentle soulwho exemplified what it means to be in tune with nature. I suppose that nearlyeveryone who has ever met him has a special memory or two as a keepsake. I hopethat we can take a few moments at this grotto meeting to share them. Here isone from Tonja Fraser:

"Lara, Rich Bell and I went to Il Caverns last weekend. Armin isdefinitely still keeping watch over the place. There were flowers all aroundand I added a small contribution from some wildflowers nearby. It was a sad daythough. I kept expecting to turn around and see him standing there..."

One of my favorite memories of Armin is captured by the cover of this issue,when he posed by the sign depicting the "Caver's Creed" forPANTAGRAPH photographer, Steve Smedley. It occured to me at the time that Arminwas the living embodiment of that creed.

It's hard to imagine Illinois Caverns without Armin. Somehow, I don't thinkwe'll have to. Just turn around and look out of the corner of your eye. He'llalways be there.

The 1989 Fall MVOR, which was sponsored by the Windy City Grotto, was heldat Illinois Caverns. Armin was the Guest of Honor, and the following articlewas printed in the "Guidebook":

Cavers come and cavers go and only the caves and Armin Krueger remain behind.For the present generation of cave explorers, Armin has been as much a part ofcaving in Monroe County, Illinois as the caves have been. It is fitting andproper that Armin's diamond jubilee birthday (75th) be observed here by theMVOR. For those of you who are new to vaning in this area and have not had thegood fortune to share stories and cave leads around a late-night campfire withArmin, the following words of introduction are offered. Don't let themsubstitute for a personal introduction.

Armin is presently the caretaker of Illinois Caverns for the landowner, theState of Illinois. His professional involvement with the cave dates back to the1940's when the then-landowner attempted to commercialize the cave. Armin hasmore or less been looking after the day-to-day affairs of the cave ever since.He has been variously referred to as the "Godfather" of IllinoisCaverns and the "Keeper of the Cave". Most importantly, he remains concernedabout the well-being of the cave and the safety of the cave' users.

Armin has always been a farmer. He has woods and croplands adjoining thewest side of Illinois Caverns and separate holdings around the north end of BigSink. Armin's allegiances are with those people who make their living workingwith the land. At times, their goals conflict with those of cavers who preferto see the karst surface uncultivated and restored to native growth. Armin hasattempted to accomodate multiple interests.

Armin was born in the family home that then stood within a short distance ofthe entrance. He began his caving career in Illinois Caverns at the age of five- a career that has not spanned 70 years. He attended classes at the one-roomO'Leary School which still stands on land that is now Armin's. The studentsthere drew water for the classroom from the cave stream beneath the school.Armin recently provided cavers with the use of the school as a fieldhouse.Cavers from the Meremac Valley Grotto have christened it the "Armin KruegerSpeleological Institute." Armin is also the owner of the O'Leary schoolentrance to the Krueger System (named in his honor), Big Sink, and the Dual Pitentrance to Kelly Spring Cave.

We want to express our thanks to Armin and congratulate him on the 75thbirthday observance. We wish him continued good health and good caving.

A drive to place a memorial to Armin at Illinois Caverns is beingspearheaded by Joel Laws of the Meramec Vally Grotto. He envisions somethinglike a limestone boulder with a likeness of Armin and a plate of some sortwhich would inform people of his legacy. The actual form that the memorialwould take would, of course, be something to be decided on. I contacted him tolet him know that we would discuss this at the meeting and that the NNG wouldlikely be happy to support such an effort.

Larry Cohen (WCG) is also pressing for a post-convention weekend in MonroeCounty which would include an all-out effort to conduct/finish somelong-standing surveys, unveil the completed Illinois Caverns map, makeconcerted efforts to push the Pirate Passage Dig, radio check Beercan Passagein Halfmile Cave, and dive the Big Sink downstream end to tie in with Kelly SpringCave. More information on this when/if it becomes available.

Welcome new members Chris Dinesen and Greg Phillips! They participated inthe Wayne's Lost trip, and doubtless will have tales to tell.

This year's Fall MVOR will be held near Competition, MO on September 27, 28 and29. [The NNG meeting is on the 27th-Ed.] South past Competition on O road tofirst left past Gasconade rever bridge, which is Arthur Rd. Left on Usher.Follow the signs to the site. This year's site is on the Gasconade River, whereyou can cave, float or play in the water. Cave trips, including Smittle andSkaggs will be available, along with vendor's row, bonfire and sauna. You mayrent canoes ($20), or bring your own. Phone (417) 668-7724 for canoereservations. There will also be a donation auction, banquet, MVOR meeting(guest speaker, Bill Klatt), sauna, and bonfire with a door prize session.Pre-registration is $12 for adults and $3 for children. Add $2 if you registerlate. (Pre-registration deadline was Sept. 16. Not much notice this year). CallRandy Bruegger at (913) 829-3943 or Doug Feakes at (417) 668-7724 forinformation.

The secretary has also received information on the 1997 NSS Convention, whichwill be held in Sullivan, MO, June 23-27 at scenic Blue Springs Ranch. Thissite is near Onondaga Cave State Park and is proximate to hundreds of caves,many of which are well known to NNG'rs. See me for details, or read your NSSNEWS.

JOHN R. MARQUART describes his day at the fair, where he received on the NNG'sbehalf, the OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER AWARD from the Illinois Department of NaturalResources.
LARRY COHEN eulogizes Armin Krueger. JIM JACOBS tells about our cleanup trip toFOGELPOLE.
NORM ROGERS reports on this year's NSS Field Camp at Mammoth Cave.
NORM and JIM agonize over the aftereffects of the trip to Wayne's Lost.
BILL KOERSCHNER recounts a trip to Clap Canyon in Roppel that makes a tripthrough Wayne's Lost look like a picnic in the park.
A letter allegedly from FLOYD COLLINS appears.

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John R. Marquart


The grotto mailbox brought us a pleasant surprise this August. We had beenselected as one of eleven outstanding volunteers for 1996 by the IllinoisDepartment of Natural Resources (DNR). I was invited to be their guest at theIllinois State Fair to receive a plaque recognizing our grotto contributions toconservation. I was of course delighted and so were my five and six year oldgrandsons, John and Robert, Jr., when they learned that grampa was going to theState Fair. It didn't take much persuasion for them to talk me into taking themand their mom, Tina, along.

Saturday, August 10th was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too wet, as weall drove into the reserve parking area that DNR keeps at Conservation World atthe fairgrounds. Nice, I thought, to be bypass all those throngs of peoplewaiting in line to get into some remote parking areas. John and Robert wereamazed at the size of it all. Thousands of people and things to do. They hadbeen to the Champaign County Fair, but nothing like this. As Robert said,"awesome"! I insisted that we all hang out around Conservation Worlduntil our award ceremony that was scheduled for 2:45 p.m. It was great too,with all kinds of conservation projects on display. The kids learned that whatI had been teaching them about doing good for the environment was fun too. Goodlesson!

Finally the time was nearing and I herded my entourage to the Birds of PreyStage where we were to get the award. We got there early enough to see the showof live eagles, owls, hawks, and many others. Then came our time. Jay Johnson,Volunteer Manager, for DNR took the stage and one by one each of the elevenawards were called out. When our turn came up, he read the letter of nominationfor our grotto written by Bill Glass. It elaborated on our work in gating theBlackball Mine. You can read a lot of what was said in the July Near NormalNews reprint of a letter by Bill. For one item, he elaborated on how our grottocontributed 42.5 man-days (10 hour days too) and did the greatest part of thewelding as well as much of the other labor intensive work. I left the stagewith a handshake, a plaque, and a very proud feeling for being the president ofsuch a fine group.

We spent the rest of the day doing the usual things one does at a statefair. We saw lots of animals being groomed and shown, visited lots ofconcession stands for souvenirs, and the kids did lots of rides. It was a daythat I won't soon forget and neither, I'm sure, will John and Robert. Grampacaves and works for conservation with a bunch of other dedicated cavers. One ofthese days I'll take them caving and someday they too may well be active forconservation. As I watch them grow, that won't be long either.

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Larry Cohen

The caving community lost an extraordinary friend on August 22nd. Armin Krueger,NSS#21060, the"Godfather of Illinois Caverns," passed awaypeacefully. He was 81.

As generations of cavers came to know him, a deep bond developed with thishardscrapple, soybean farmer from Monroe County, Illinois. While cavers cameand went, the caves--and Armin--remained behind. His constant presence remindedus that we were the intruders onto a very special place. This gentle manexemplified in a manner both dignified and simple that life did not requirematerial wealth. When measured by friendship, Armin was wealthy indeed. Hetaught us about a spiritual bond and comfort with the land--and thesubterranean depths--which could provide tranquility. While honest andfrugality may describe him, deep affection for his fellow human beings exudedfrom him. A rare person indeed who having known Armin could claim not to havebeen touched by this love. Armin's life was indelibly bound to the cavesbeneath the rural Monroe County landscape, and in particular to IllinoisCaverns. Born in 1914 less than a mile from this cave when the area was calledthe precinct of New Design (also called Burkesville Station,) Armin was thethird of five children. An immigrant from Germany, Amin's grandfather hadbought up much of the land directly south and east of the Cave. (Anyone whoknew Armin was acutely aware that the distinctly German accent of his ancesterswas never lost.) Armin's father, Moritz Krueger, farmed for corn and wheat. Hismother, Maria (Mamie) Hagmeier from nearby Renault had in fact visited the caveten years prior to Armin's birth, signing the cave register in 1904 when it wasa featured attraction of the St. Louis World's Fair. Armin and his brothersWilliam, Walter, and Henry, attended gradeschool at O'Leary's one-roomSchoolhouse (now the "Armin Krueger Speleological ResearchInstitute".) As a young man Armin explored the various nearby caves withhis friends. Over time, Armin became owner of much of this land. In anagreement with the State of Illinois, the schoolhouse and nearby cave entrances,on property owned by Armin, were set up in perpetuity as a"speleological" natural preserve.

In the 1950's Armin took over caretaking duties at the William Hayden farmwhere Illinois Caverns was located; he lived at the site until his death. Logshe placed at the cave entrance to prevent people from entering were constantlybeing "moved." Rather than try to continue to buck this trend, Haydenand Armin made the cave "commercial" once again. (Commercial meaningthe next thing to wild caving.) Armin placed a few metal footbridges andladders in the entrance stream passage, replacing the wooden structures ofearlier times. Otherwise, the cave retained no improvements or lighting fromearlier times.

From Chicago, St. Louis, Carbondale, and elsewhere throughout the Midwest,cavers can testify how Armin gave life to underground Monroe County. His acuteknowledge of every sinkhole and willingness to share this knowledge, providedcavers with innumerable cave leads -- and kept cavers coming back. But caversalso returned because of Armin. He taught cavers by his example, without hispupils realizing they had received his instruction, that a more sustainable,non-frantic existence was feasible. Armin collected cans before the rest of uscaught on. He recycled discarded clothing and even unused carbide pellets. Hedid this not through poverty but rather to be frugal with material items. Thejunked vehicles surrounding his homestead demonstrated in an extreme fashionhis spirit of waste not, want not. Armin neither wasted nor wanted. Whilecavers belted down the campfire beers, Armin graciously accepted a pop andcandy. A clean plate was all he left. We cavers came and went. Yet, wherevercavers went, they took a piece of Armin with them. Many of the closefriendships among cavers in Illinois and Missouri resulted from being aroundArmin.

His cave, Illinois Caverns, is now a State Natural Area. Thousands ofyoungsters received their first exposure to 'wild' caving in the Caverns.Armin's former properties, including Big Sink and Krueger Cave, will remainopen to cavers as he desired. Armin's exceptional tolerance and love, even morethan the caves, will remain stuck to the cavers he touched like the thick mudfrom his beloved depths. In testimony, cavers from Chicago, the St. Louis area,Carbondale, and his home Monroe County attended his August 25 funeral. He isburied in Fults overlooking the placid Mississippi River Valley.

[This tribute to Armin is scheduled to appear in the October NSS NEWS.-Ed.]

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Jim Jacobs

On July 21, 1996 about twenty-five cavers met at Illinois Caverns for acleanup trip in which we were to go in through the Fogelpole entrance, and exitfrom Keller, gathering garbage all the way. A massive cleanup of the Kellersinkhole, complete with trucks and hauling equipment had taken place earlier inthe year, and this was to be the finish of the project. Many had campedovernight on Armin's land, and we met them there when we arrived on Saturdaymorning. Many were old friends, some were new faces. Thus it always is withsuch gatherings. Some had gone into town for breakfast, so we bided our timewith the usual menu of tall tales of caves past and future. As usual, whencavers get together in this area, the NNG is well represented, this timecomprising nearly half of the group. Our guides were to be Phil Moss and JimSherrill.

The breakfast group returned, and we gathered to hear the plan of the day.The plans had changed greatly. Due to a vicious thunderstorm the previousnight, we would be unable to use the Keller entrance. The landowners hadrequested that we not use their entrance when the weather was too wet, and theconnection between the two caves was likely impassible, since it is low and wetin the best of times. This was now a round trip through Fogelpole!

Fogelpole is a closed cave, securely gated and available only to qualifiedscientific and survey parties. Our group technically qualified, since Phil andJim were here to set "bugs" (charcoal impregnated screens) in thewater in key places in order to read traces of dye which had been previouslyreleased in other places in order to puzzle out the drainage patterns in thearea. This information was needed due to an application from a developer whowas planning to build a subdivision in the area.

We had to cut through some high grass and woods to get to the sinkhole whichholds the Fogelpole entrance. We would later learn that we passed through somepoison something-or-other as well. It took Marty weeks to get rid of it.(grumble grumble, scratch, scratch).

Those who have visited Keller will certainly recognize the geology ofFogelpole, since these are but two ways into the same cave system. TheFogelpole area features more large passages than Keller, which, like Keller areprimarily active streamways. Which contain some slippery rocks. I thought itrather humorous as a couple of people took premature saturday night baths. Atleast it was funny until it was my turn. Luckily, when I slipped, the water wasonly an inch deep as it flowed down an incline. Marty was not so lucky. Shewent in all the way, and only a helping hand from one of the party at the righttime kept her from an extended swim. Dave Fraser just missed a good dunkingwhen we were walking some rimstone pools and he stumbled past me. It justhappened that I was in the right place at the right time and at that moment,had good footing. Luckily also, he happened to be wearing a loose sweatshirt. Ijust reached out and grabbed as he stumbled. URRKKKK! He was stopped dead inhis tracks.

We got to do most of what we find "fun" in caving. A littlecanyoning, some stream wading, a short pleasant sand crawl, some climbing over,around and through breakdown, slogging over some mud hills, and we got to seethe beautiful, delicate white formations in the crawlway. The climb down fromthe entrance (and, of course back up again at the end of the trip) is somewhatprecarious, and there were a couple of nervous moments as each of the partymade it back to the top.

As usual, every time we found a hole that "might" go somewhere, welost Lara Storm. "Check it out! It might go!" She was gone. Ofcourse, we collected quite a bit of garbage along the way. Since this cave iswell gated, what we found had probably washed in through the many sinkholesthat feed the system. We also collected an unintended passenger.

By a mud-filled drain, Tonja Fraser found a large turtle who had been washedinto the cave. Since his life expectancy would be severely shortened if he wereleft in this environment with little food, she decided (with general approval)to help it out. After the trip through the cave, she released it in Armin'spond, where, we hope it will live happily for a long time to come.

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Norm Rogers

This year's restoration field camp at Mammoth Cave was, to me, a hugesuccess. Not so much in the work that was accomplished (in fact, one personcommented they felt like they didn't work too awfully hard) but more so in thesocial aspect of the camp. The reader must remember that my value judgments arebased on social interaction rather just the tasks accomplished. I have a mottoat camp that says if we got all of the work completed but failed to have a goodtime doing it, we have failed indeed. Keeping that in mind, we had a greatcamp.

There were three areas of focus at this camp. Removing two tour boats fromSilliman/El-Gore Avenues, removing wood from Echo River, and lint removal alongBroadway avenue. To make a long story short, the boats were removed, the woodremoved, and the lint removed. To make a short story long, read on.

The week started with a meeting with Bob Ward our representative with thePark Service. After which, many of the camp participants attended churchservices in the cave. On certain occasions during the year the Park presents aprogram called, The Church Re-visited, a re-creation of an 1800s circuitpreacher's visit to Mammoth Cave. A non-denominational minister and his wife,both dressed in period costume, led a large group of tourists into the cave bylamp-light and held services. Several NNG members sang in the choir. To thislistener, they sounded like angels.

The next three days we worked at Mammoth Cave on the above projects. Thursday,we went to the city of Horse Cave to do some work for the American Cave andKarst Museum. We pulled weeds, built a block wall and trimmed treesover-hanging the cave entrance. As a reward for our efforts, we got to gocaving in Hidden River Cave. Many of our group chose to go into the cave. Itwas very wet and very muddy, but we were all impressed by the huge Sunset DomeRoom. It was about big enough for the sun to set in!

Before leaving the cave, one of the group, who shall remain nameless,(Tonja) started a mud fight. She even attacked a ten year old kid. Those of uswho were in the line of fire tried valiantly to fight back but to no avail. Weall learned it was best just to run away.

That night we were treated to a guided tour of Great Onyx Cave, one of themost well decorated caves in the area. All agreed it was beautiful.

Late Friday night the entire group went to the Lake Nolin dam. Afterchecking out the spillway, we drove to a boat launch ramp, got out of the cars,laid on our backs, and watched for falling stars. It was a great time.

Saturday we went to Roppel Cave, split up into two groups, and went caving.One group was not real happy about their trip but the other group thought thetrip was fantastic. After a five hour trip we got to visit Yahoo Avenue inRoppel. It has to be the most fantastic passage of cave I have ever seen. Overa mile of big walking cave. The first part was a wet area with all types offlowstone formations. Everywhere one looked there was milky white columns,stalactites, and stalagmites. I saw more cave pearls than I had ever see beforein my entire life.

The second half of the passage was dry with gypsum formations everywhere.Huge gypsum flowers, with petals ten inches long, hung from the ceiling. Everysurface was covered with gypsum crust. It was magnificent!

The week came to an end and we all said sorrowful good-byes to our oldfriends and the new ones we just made that week. As a side note, that week mybrother and I listened to a cassette tape of the Doors best hits. We listenedto the tape over and over the entire week so when ever we were to hear thosesongs in the future, we would think of our week at Mammoth Cave. Just the otherday I heard the song "Love Her Madly" from that tape. Looking back onour week, I would have to say, "Yes, I do!"

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Norm Rogers and Jim Jacobs

Participants: Norm Rogers, Greg Phillips, Tim Shaffer, Tim Sickbert, JulieAngel, Chris Dinesen, Tonja Fraser, Dave Fraser, Beth Reinke, Len Storm, LaraStorm, Pat O'Connell, Jim Jacobs

Norm Rogers:
With the cruise control set on 70 miles per hour, the miles rolled byeffortlessly. The only things breaking the monotony of the drive were acompilation of all the bad hits of the 70s and 80s playing on the radio and theall too frequent lane reductions due to road construction on interstate 74.

I glanced down at my watch. 12:40 A.M. It was a long drive home after a longday of caving at Wayne's Cave in Bloomington Indiana. My thoughts drifted backto the events of the past week, preparing for the trip. I had made reservationsat the Motel 6 for a large room, thinking there would be five or six guys fromPeoria spending the night. It's always been easier to spend Friday night inBloomington to avoid the five hour drive the morning of the trip.

But one by one the Peoria cavers had canceled, leaving just my brother,Greg, and myself. Not wanting to spend that much money on a room for just thetwo of us, I canceled the reservation. Little did I know that on a footballweekend in Bloomington Indiana I was giving up the last room left in town. Thisforced Greg and I to go door-to-door at the motel looking for someone sounderstanding as to let us in for the night. Our only alternative was to pitcha tent at the cave site and camp out. Since the mercury was already dippinginto the 40s, that idea was not too appealing.

Finally, three benevolent young women allowed us space to sleep on the floorof their room. Coincidentally, they were NNG members, Beth, Julie, and Chris. Icrawled into my sleeping bag, rolled over, and tried to sleep.

The next day we all admitted that sleep hadn't come easily for any of us.Something about an unspoken rule of not passing gas in mixed company. I'llnever understand that-but I do accept it. After a more than ample breakfast atDenny's we met the other NNGers who had gathered and went to the cave.

What can be written about Wayne's Cave that has not already been covered?Wayne's is a tough cave! We had several people entering the cave that had neverbeen there before and I tried my best to quell their fears before going intothe cave, but there was still trepidation on the part of some. After the 1200foot crawl, we visited the RPI Discovery and the Wells areas of the cave. Oohsand aahs were heard throughout the group. Then we struck out in search of CampTwo. I was kind of leading the group because no one else had been there before.We climbed over huge mountains of breakdown and crawled under others. At onepoint, I knew we were really close to Camp Two but I couldn't find the rightway.

I've always wondered why I can never find my way around in a cave. One wouldthink I'd get lost forever in there. Anyway, after several frustrated attemptsto find the right way, we started back to Camp One. Those people must havethought I was a real dope.

Once back at Camp One though, everyone seemed to be in good spirits andready for the long crawl out of the cave. I hung back with the folks that wouldbe the last ones out. I figured they might need their spirits lifted along theway or possibly I could lend some other kind of assistance. Beside thatmotivation, they were "babes"! Len Storm must have followed my trainof thought because he hung back with us.

The crawl out of Wayne's is much worse than the crawl into Wayne's. Maybebecause you're tired, maybe its because you're just sick of caving at thatpoint. Whatever the reason, its a lot harder going out. At one point as we wereresting in the crawl, I began to wonder why we do this caving thing. I waslaying on my back, the ceiling inches from my face, and was covered from headto toe with mud, filth, and water. We had sweated in the crawls, shivered inthe big passages, risked physical injury just by being in that cave...and thiswas fun? Someone once said that a person must be crazy to go to Wayne's morethan once. If that's the criteria, I must be over-qualified.

Before I could fully review my analysis of crazy cavers, my mind was pulledback to the present by a particularly bad Donna Sommer song on the radio. Inever did like disco. I kicked the brake pedal to disengage the cruise controlfor yet another construction zone. I glanced down again at my watch. 1:30 A.M.

Trying to work out a knot in my shoulder with my left hand caused me towince in pain. My arm felt like lead. Every movement took great effort andevery muscle ached from caving. However, I couldn't keep a smile from creepingacross my face. This had been a good day.

Jim Jacobs:
I learned an important lesson this weekend. Yes, Wayne's is a tough cave and aninteresting challenge. I can still handle a trip there. But as I get older, Ihave to allow myself more recovery time afterwards. I knew I would be stiff andsore after this trip. I even knew exactly where it would hurt. After a fewtimes through this cave, you learn such things. I was aware that I would bestiff in both shoulders, between my shoulder blades, wrists, and forearms, anda bit through the chest. But I didn't remember how stiff or how long it wouldlast. I will never again take a saturday trip to Wayne's and try to bowl onsunday. It was pitiful!

Pat O'Connell arrived at my house shortly after 5:00am for the trip. After acup of coffee, we packed his gear into my van and were able to head out before5:30. The trip was uneventful, and we rolled into the McDonalds in Bloomington,IN at 8:55. We had time for a leisurely breakfast, since the appointed meetingtime was not until 10. Naturally, the first ones to join us were Len and LaraStorm. One by one and two by two the others staggered in. I was especially gladto see Tim Shaffer and Tim Sickbert, since I hadn't had a chance to cave withthem for quite a while. Sickbert and I had made a pact to explore the crack inthe floor in the RPI passage, and had brought vertical gear. I also had 98 feetof rope in a Bluewater bag. Pat had also brought his vertical gear in his pack,but after pushing it all the way in, (huff, puff) decided that he would rathersee the sights.

The trip in through the crawl didn't seem so bad. I toted the rope bag partof the way, and "allowed" Tim Sickbert to push/drag/roll it most ofthe way. Soon, the crack in the floor appeared which signaled the end of thecrawl and the beginning of walking cave. I understand that Lara, who was aheadof us, did the crawl in twenty minutes. That's a pretty good pace for such astrenuous crawl! She ended up paying the price later.

We headed over to the hole that marked the beginning of the RPI passage andplunged in. Tim and I stopped at the crack in the floor, while the rest of thegang forged ahead to see the goodies. This slot had been bugging me for a verylong time, ever since I first saw it on my first trip here. It obviously openedup, and seemed to be about a fifteen foot drop, and you could hear watertinkling. It was so obvious a lead that I knew that it had been exploredalready, but WE didn't know what was down there and the map didn't help much. IHAD to know. Dan Voorhees and I had discussed it before a previous trip, but hedidn't come this time, and I could wait no longer!

The passage is a typical canyon in which you are forced to stay high for awhile, then go down low as it widens, then up high again as it narrows. Thesides and ledges are smooth, so there was only one obvious tie-off point; ahuge slanted boulder which rested at a 45 degree angle about five feet from thecrack. We looped webbing around it, and clipped the loops with a 'biner. Theboulder was not smooth, the tape tight enough, and the boulder close enough tovertical, that we were satisfied that we had a safe rig. We clipped the ropein, and dropped the rope bag down the slot. THUD! We knew that we would nothave to rig for an on-rope changeover. Tim was the first to get his rappellinggear on (I had trouble untangling my harness), so he got the honor of being thefirst to make the drop. The slot was tight, and made tighter by the fact thathis figure eight stuck out a little ways in front. He was nevertheless able toease his way through it, so I doubted that I would have any trouble, since Timhas a few pounds on me. He called "off rope" and "clear"while I was still rigging, and told me that it was a nice big dome, but didn'tseem to go anywhere. I followed nonetheless, and since my Petzel bobbin sticksout farther than Tim's figure eight, the slot was as tight for me as it was forhim.

As I landed, I could see that Tim's description was accurate. The room is anirregular dome, with a crystal clear pool of water at one end with a sandybasin. The walls are black and gray limestone, with belts of mud in which wereinscribed various initials and dates by the fingers of previous explorers whoalso had to know what was down here. There was no spray paint, garbage or othervandalism. There was some pretty moon milk dripping down the black wall nearthe pool. It was really a nice room, and I suppose, worth the trouble oflugging vertical gear in and out. We looked and chatted for a few minutes,toasted our success, and prepared to exit. I was faster rigging my"Frog" than Tim was with his modified "Texas" system, so Iwas first out. It was easier to use just one foot loop, and push against thewall with the other, and I made it to the slot quickly. Of course, Tim had toprovide me with rope tension from the bottom. One drawback to the frog system.It need a bit of weight or tension by a caver at the bottom, or else you areforced to hand feed the rope through your chest Kroll for the first ten feet orso. When I am the last up, I tie my pack to the rope beneath me, and that worksjust as well. I squeezed through the slot, threw my leg over the edge and wasup easily.

As Tim hit the slot, he had a bit less squeezing room than I do, so he hadto try a few things to see what worked. I asked him if I could help, and hetold me to encourage him a bit. I, of course proceeded to very loudly castdoubts as to his odds of EVER emerging from that crack, and threw in a coupleof cracks concerning his ancestry, which caused him to start laughing, but hewas able to get his leg up and push himself clear anyway.

We derigged and took our gear out into the main passage. The rest of theparty had passed us on the way out while we were packing, and we told them thatwe were going to go the way that they had gone since Tim had never seen theWells. (This was his first trip to Wayne's.) I remembered the way, and we foundour way there easily. The Wells is a large series of interconnected domes, withceilings approaching 80ft. Quite impressive, and the display of moonmilk drippingdown the side of the last dome is a "must-see". We ate a candy bar,and speculated on someone's chances of making up the knotted rope that descendsfrom the top of the final dome. I don't know how long it's hung there, but it'sbeen there for quite a while. I don't know where it goes, either. Perhaps someday.........

We had thought that the rest of the party might wait for us back at campone, since they were going to have lunch, but we had spent quite a while backin the Wells, and we were not surprised to find that they had moved on beforewe got back. Norm had said that they were going to head to Camp Two, so after abrief break, Tim and I took off in that direction. Sort of. Actually, I turnedleft instead of right when we hit the stream bed, but we soon figured out thatwe were going the wrong way when we were forced to either find cracks in thebreakdown or be forced into the stream, which appeared to be about waist deepin the first cutaround. We turned back, and before we got back to Camp One, sawan intriguing side passage on the same side of the passage as the route back,so we decided to check it out. There was an arrow pointing up through thebreakdown, so we followed it, carefully looking back frequently so that wecould find our way back. We climbed through the breakdown, walked for a bit,and then followed the passage as it turned a corner and emerged into a largerpassage which sloped gently downwards through a canyon. After a few seconds myorientation spun around, I saw the paintbrush embedded in the lip at the end ofthe slope, and realized that we were right back at Camp One! We hadrinky-dinked ourselves. At least I now know where that large passage goes whenyou come down off of the ledge after the crawlway.

We went back down to the stream, turning right this time, and headed for themain cave. After just a few minutes, we passed a few of our party who were ontheir way back. Norm and the rest had pushed on toward Camp Two, but thesefolks had decided that it was time to call it a day. With them were two caverswhom they had met in the cave, who were from northern Indiana. I wanted to showTim the breakdown hills in the main cave, so we went on. Another 30 minutes orso, we had climbed up and down breakdown to the area where you are forced toeither take a 20ft. jump down (NOT advisable) or go down and around thebreakdown. We agreed to leave that part of the cave for another trip and turnedaround. We didn't catch up with the rest of the group heading to Camp Two, butthat was all right. I was getting a bit pooped, and we still had the long crawlout.

As Norm mentioned, the crawl out is MUCH longer than the crawl in. I don'tknow how they arranged that, but if it's 1200ft. in, it seems like 2000ft. out.I will forever heap blessings on Tim's head for taking pity on an old guy andtaking the now much heavier rope bag the whole way out. What a guy! I take backall those insults when we were dropping that pit. And there is no feeling likeemerging into the Old Wayne's portion of the cave and actually being able tostand up! Relief! As we reached the climb out, a group of faster cavers,including Greg and Tim Shaffer caught up with us.

When we reached the top, the first group who had headed out was waiting forus, including the two friendly Indiana cavers, Marlin Heinlein and Bob... Theyhad even provided cokes for our people that they had exited with. We changedout on the road and ferried a few drivers over to where we had parked our cars.

Marlin and Bob were camped over at MacCormick, and they invited us to jointhem for pizza at the Elliotsville Pizza Hut. They were going to their camp toshower and change, and we had to wait for the rest of our gang to get out ofthe cage, so it sounded like a fine idea.

Everyone got out safely, (if not energetically). Norm's group was headed ina different direction, so the rest of us met Marlin and Bob for some delicious(but expensive) pizza, the usual moans and groans and other post-cave chatterand headed home. Pat said, "Wayne's...been there-done that... neveragain!" But how many of us, who are on our fifth or sixth trips have saidthe same thing? Every trip.

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[Thefollowing report was sent to Norm Rogers by Rick Olsen in response to Norm'srequest for information about Clap Canyon. It is reprinted with permission fromthe Central Kentucky Karst Coalition Newsletter. It seems that Jim Borden hadsuggested that Norm go out that way to help extend the CRF Roppel Cave survey.I understand that Norm has decided in the negative.-Ed]

Bill Koerschner

11 am, Jan. 1-4, Jan. 2, 1994
Bill Koerschner - notes
Bill Stephens - inst, tape
Russ Conner - inst, tape

I approached this trip with some apprehension because I dimly remembered ascene from seven years ago - at dawn on a 24 hour trip, four battered andexhausted zombies lay panting on the sand pile at the mouth of Clap Canyon -they had just doubled the length of the wretched passage and emphatically vowedNEVER TO RETURN. But you know how these things go - absence makes the heartgrow fonder - you forget everything but the wind - the wind that will lead youto untold miles of virgin borehole. So four hours after entering the DowneyAvenue Entrance we were once again sitting on the sand pile, wondering if thistime we would reach the end of this mysterious passage, and knowing that wewould definitely get the crap beat out of us.

The passage is easy at first, a dry bedrock tube that's just a hair too lowfor comfortable hands and knees crawling. Soon the ceiling lowers and we flowdown on a bed of dry pea gravel. The passage is 10ft. wide here - I fall into acrawling rhythm - bring my right leg up, roll up on my left elbow and heaveforward - there's nothing to look at, nothing to worry about, no decisions -just point yourself down passage and heave/ho. Heh! This isn't as bad as Iremembered - easy stuff really, and soon we'll be to the - ARRGH! A searing, electricpain races up my shin. I glance down and see a tiny bedrock fin projectingabove the gravel - not THAT'S the Clap Canyon I remember! After 600ft. thepassage becomes an awkward pothole canyon, then lowers to a bitchy,ledge-infested rock crawl. The combination of shallow rock pools and projectingledges covered with razor-sharp "cave velcro" caused a previous crewto name this area the "Poodle Chews", after the lyrics by Zappa.Fortunately, the puddles had dried up considerably in seven years and we wereable to get through with minimal sacrifice. After 300ft. we broke over onefinal ledge and crawled downhill into a 4ft. diameter rock tube that obviouslysumps during floods. This changed into a walking canyon after another 300ft.,then degenerated into a 10ft high by 1ft. wide squeeze canyon for the final runto the rest area at VD200. It took us two hours to traverse the 1750ft. ofpassage to this point.

At VD200 the main passage abruptly mud-fills and the only way on is a highlyirregular, down going tube at floor level. This passage changes character every10ft. and winds around all over the place, eventually spiraling down through acomplete 360 degree turn and ending up 11ft. lower than VD200. Here at VD224 webegan our survey in a 4ft. wide by 2.5ft. high tube with irregular banks ofreddish brown clay. The clay at one time must have filled the passage becausethe floodwaters that occasionally blow through this crawl have cut agravel-floored channel through the clay to bedrock, leaving clay ledges andclay breakdown. The clay banks reduced the usable passage to 1.5ft.W by 2.5ft.Hin several places and made movement extremely difficult. The clay soon coatedeverything, my pack was an unrecognizable ball of clay, my rockmasters were 5lb. blobs that dangled several inches below my knees on their elastic strapsand the notebook was too horrible to mention. The friction was unbelievable;the only way to move was to first peel yourself off the clay and flop forwardwhile rolling your clayball/pack ahead of you. We looked and felt likechocolate-covered ants, but at least ants don't have to repeatedly tuck intheir shirt tails - GROSS! At VD238 we intersected a 30ft. long fragment ofwalking canyon that mud-filled in both directions. This was the end of AlanCanon's exploration of the previous trip, and he had reported that the crawlkept going under a ledge at the north end of the canyon. Bill Stephens wasfirst to the intersection and yelled back that IT DIDN'T GO! The way on was anL-shaped slot 2ft. long and 4in. wide. We had been SUCKED IN! There was muchgrumbling and cursing and gnashing of teeth. Meanwhile, the undeterable Russellhad taken a look at the slot and proclaimed, "I might could dig my waythrough here," I fished out my railroad spike and gave it to Russ, whoroto-rootered through the dig in 2.5 hrs. The finished dig was 18in.H by 12in.Wand made a 90 degree bend to the right. Stephens crawled up to it and said toRuss, "Man, I can't believe you made it through this." He proceededto bash 4 inches off a nut-buster rock horn on the inside of the bend, dug theturn wider and just barely was able to jerk his knees through the bend. I'm6'2" tall and considered for a time if I would have to break my legs offfirst, but by some bizarre series of gyrations I made it through the dig and wewere back in business!

The survey ground forward in more of the same grim stuff. We passed a fewsmall situp rooms that apparently form on the downstream side of constrictions.After the third room we reached a constriction bad enough to cause Russell topause - not a good sign. It was 5am and we still had to get our backsights, soI told him to check ahead. He forced his way through and checked 100ft. aheadin 4ft. to 6ft.W by 2.5ft.H tube with whipping air. We bagged the survey atVD252 and began backsighting out. After 45 minutes we reach the dig and I slideup into it, wriggle my chest through the turn and clear my hips to a pointabout 4in. down my thighs. NO WAY SUCKER! YOU ARE TRAPPED! My legs are toolong. I try to roll my hips - no go. DON'T PANIC! I back out, turn around andtry it feet first - you can always get out of something if you reverse theexact moves you used on the way in - right? WRONG! YOU CAN'T BACK UPHILL INTO ACLAYLINED SLOT! I admit defeat and let Stephens take a crack at it. He blowsinto the slot up to his legs and stops - "I see what you mean." Hegrabs the spike from its perch on the far side of the slot and begins to dighis way out. I start to dig on the inside and after about an hour we make goodour escape. The DIODE DIG would be a good name for this since it only allowscavers to flow in one direction.

By this point I am so wasted that I barely have the strength to peel myselfoff the clay and it takes a convulsive effort to get my pack to roll even aquarter turn. I realize I am a LONG way from home and in WAY OVER my head. Bynow it was pushing 8am and we were looking at as much as NINE more hours to getout. Our signout time was for 5pm Sunday so we had to blow off the rest of thebacksights (sorry Jim) and go for the entrance. We reach the sand pile inCannuck Canyon by 11am and stumble out into daylight by 4pm - just in time tocall in.

So much for our quest to find the end of the mysterious passage that goesupstream and downhill. The passage that periodically flows water with suchferocity that gravel bars migrate uphill through a 360 degree corkscrew. Thepassage with the wind. I can't speak for the others, but I know where myendurance limit is not - it's at VD252 in Clap Canyon. So this time I mean it -I am NEVER going back in that passage - even if it does go to miles of dustyborehole. NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! Well, maybe...

So if you think you're hot stuff and you like to push to the bloody edge -have at it, it's yours. Take plenty of food and water and above all, don'tscrew up because the rescue kit for this area is a bottle of Jack Daniels and a45.

PS: On the way in we spotted the upstream end of the Coffee Bean Crawlleaving the A-Survey right below the first hole up to the RED TAG SPECIAL. Nowonder we missed it.

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6 Feet Under
Mammoth Cave Baptist Church
Mammoth Cave, KY

Carole Rogers
4324 W. Rockwell
Peoria, IL 61615

Deer Carole,
Hello Carole. I reckon you know who I am, Floyd Collins. Year I know mostpeople think I dyed in Sand Cave back in 1925, but I got out thru a backentrance that some of Stephen Bishop's kin showed me. Since then I have spentmy winters livin on a coastal island with John F. Kennedy (he wusn't reallykilt either) and sometimes Elvis stays with us, although I caint take much ofthat hip swingin ego maniac. I still like to spend my summers in the caves andhollers around Flint Ridge (do you know if they really did connect to MammothCave?) but I have to sneak around a lot to not be found out. Them pesky ParkService boys can be purty slick especially the likes of that Bobby Ward, but sofar they ain't seen me, but I've had some close calls.

I been keepin watch on yer cave cleanin' bunch the last few years ans wusdisappointed you din't make the trip this year. However, I wanted to write totell you about some of the behavior of yer husband, Normun, at this year'aclean up. It seems as though Normun has quite an eye fer the ladies like whenhe wus pointin out to his fellow cavers, at the historic entrance, the galtourists who Norm thought were "keepers". Me always being a singleguy (although I did get "married" a few times on a Sat. nite, butdon't tell) found that activity disgustin. He did the same thing when he wus alint pickin down in the cave.

All week long he wus a haulin the women cavers around the likes you've neverseen. There wus Amanda, Beth, Brandy, Chris, Debbie, Jamie, Julie, Laura,Linda, Nancy and Tonja. I don't rightly know if he had a faverite or not, butthere wus one girl he wus always haulin to a phone. (I think he broke the phoneat Maple Springs on purpose so he could do this!) I even heard he sneaked intothe kitchin one time with Cheryl but I didn't rightly see him do this.

Then ther wus the nite that a lot of them cavers (and Normun was theringleader) drove over to the Nolin Dam and went star gazin. Instead of bein inbed where they should have been, they were a-layin on their backs, a-lookin upat stars. They sure lookt pretty dumb. Normun wus always a-sneakin off duringthe week, down in the cave, lettin the others do the work. Most of the time,he'd take some of the girls with him. It's a good thing that Bobby Ward dintcatch him.

Anyhow I wanted to write and let you know about some of the things yerhusband wus up to. You can even print this letter in your grotto newsletter,ifn you want. Hope you can come next year. Hopefully the Park Service will letall you cavers go more places in "my" caves next year. You know, thePark Service has some strange ideas, but don't tell 'em I'm writin, else theymay turn me in and I'll have to start payin taxes again. Take care fer now, Igotta go see if I can fix some helectites that a couple of danged fools brokeover in Crystal.

Floyd Collins
"Worlds Greatest Cave Explorer"

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John R. Marquart

The 26th Annual North American Symposium on Bat Research is to be held inBloomington, Illinois from Wednesday, October, 23 through Saturday, October 26,1996.

The conference is hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University with ProfessorThomas Griffiths, Professor of Biology at Illinois Wesleyan as a host. Theactual meetings will be held at Jumer's Chateau Hotel in Bloomington. I havetalked with Tom Griffiths explaining that some of our members are interested inattending at least part of the program. He welcomes us but does ask that wecontribute some to help defray the cost of the meeting which includes somemeals. In general he said that full registration for faculty is $90 and forstudents is $70 for the conference, but that he will welcome those of us whowant to attend only parts of the conference. He said that one day participants shouldregister for $10 to $15, but those who only want to sit in on a couple of talkscan come at no cost. I am planning on trying to attend Thursday and Fridayonly.

You will need to see the complete schedule to see what you might beinterested in hearing, but here are a couple of highlights that I noted:

1. Wednesday consists only of registration and an evening social - noprograms.

2. Thursday talks start at 8:00 a.m. and run until 4:45 p.m. with postersessions also scheduled through the day. A talk that I intend to attend is at2:00-2:15 p.m. "Indiana Bat Summer Habitat Patterns in NorthernMissouri"

3. Friday talks start at 8:00 a.m. and run until 3:30 p.m. with postersessions from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. A banquet is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Dan Taylorwill talk from 9:45 - 10:00 a.m. on "The North American Bats and MinesProject: New Industry Partnerships Create Habitat for Mine-roosting Bats".Also three talks scheduled for 10:45 - 11:30 a.m. involve endangered Indianabats. I intend to take in these and Merlin Tuttle's talk from 11:45 - 12:00 a.mon "Formation of National Bat Conservation Partnership forNaturalResources".

4. Saturday talks start at 8:00 a.m. and run until 2:00 p.m.I will havecopies of the whole schedule and registration forms to give out at the grottomeeting.

Dan Taylor plans on flying into St. Louis and driving to southern Illinoisto inspect the Unimen Mines there where gates were erected right after our workat the Blackball Mine. He will then come to Bloomington for the conference andwants to go back to the Blackball Mine to get more photos. I will try to gowith him as can others of our group.

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July 26, 1996

Called to order at 7:15 by President John Marquart. Members present: TimSickbert, Brian Braye, Lara Storm, Leonard Storm, Beth Reinke, Mark Belding,Tonja Fraser, Jim Jacobs, Norm Rogers, Carol Rogers. Guest: Gregory Phillips

New members were noted: Larry Bird, Dan and Randy Wahlfeldt. A correction wasmade, in that Walt Rudy, Deb and Ben Smith are reinstated former members ratherthan new members.

OFFICER REPORTS: The minutes of the June 28 meeting were approved aspublished in the NNN. The Treasurer's report was delivered by Vice PresidentBeth Reinke for Julie Angel, and approved.

TRIP REPORTS: Lara Storm described her experiences in Bird's Eye Cave nearBlackBall Mine. Norm Rogers reported on the trip to Zimmerman Mine by biologistBill Glass and grotto members. Some survey stations were found and remarked.Another trip is in the works. It may be possible in the future to protectcertain critical areas of this mine by gates. Jim and others talked about theFogelpole to Keller through trip cleanup, which became just a trip throughFobelpole. The Keller entrance owners asked that we not use their entrance inbad weather, and there had been a vicious storm the night before which hadsaturated the ground in the sinkhole. Norm and some others toured IllinoisCaverns instead, and scooped ten feet of virgin passage by doing a littledigging. He also recounted the story of the time that he and John M. 'almost'connected with each other, one from the Lantern cave side, the other fromKeller, but were stopped just short by a partially flooded crawlway and a dousedcarbide lamp. Tim S. told about his trip with Tim Shaffer to the Camp's GulfCave area in Tennessee. They also visited other caves, such as Ross Cave andGouffre, which features multiple drops. Tonja F., two people from Riverwatchand Don Coons did another water and insect survey at Zimmerman. The streamhealth seems to be excellent, and the mine supports many bats.

OLD BUSINESS: Brian B. and Jim J. reported that due to the arrangement witha different printing company, that print run of the NNN is much less expensivethan it used to be. Brian noted that the cover photo of the July NNN was byJohn M. Photo Credit had been ommitted. Beth R. announced that meetingannouncements by postcard would only be used for special occasions, such as theannual public meeting, due to the cost. John M. reported that letters of thankshad been received from Bill Glass (State of IL), and Dan Taylor (BatConservation Int'l) for our help on the BlackBall gating project. He alsolamented on his empty bat house, which he had built "all wrong" dueto faulty bat behavior research and instructions by the company that marketedthe kit. We also voted to begin a grotto checking account. Julie A. shouldreport on progress at this meeting. We discussed the concept of a waver ofliability for NNG membership and trips. Jim agreed to get a copy of the"Shared Adventure" form that all participants in ISU CampusRecreation Outdoor Program trips must sign. We may use this as a model. Theprogram for the next meeting will be a mutual display of photos that we'vetaken. The Sept. 27th meeting will take place at the Upper Limits, and willfeature instruction in climbing and rappelling. Cost: $9.00 each. A trip isbeing planned to Wayne's Lost for September. Norm Rogers will get the key.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Jacobs, Secretary

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August 23, 1996

Called to order by President John R. Marquart. Present: Tonja Fraser, NormRogers, Chris Dinesen, Julie Angel, Dan Wahlfeldt, Randy Wahlfeldt, Len Storm,Lara Storm, Larry bird, Tim Sickbert, Kevin Rasmus, Jim Jacobs, Brian Braye,Brian Valentine, Rita Gupta, Beth Reinke.

OFFICER REPORTS: The minutes of the July meeting were read by secretary JimJacobs. Approved. The treasury report was given by treasurer Julie Angel. Wehave a balance of $241.64. Approved.

OLD BUSINESS: Brian Valentine reported that he has not yet moved our webpage to a new address yet, but he will let us know when he gets it done. Julienoted that our checking account is now in place with the First of America Bank.The fee will be $3.00 per month plus the charge for the blank checks. Themeeting program for the Sept. 27 has been finalized by Brian Braye. We willhave a short meeting at the bank as usual, then adjourn to The Upper Limits gymfor some climbing and/or vertical practice. After the October 25 meeting, aprogram will be presented by Dr. Sam Panno of the Illinois State GeologicalSurvey.

NEW BUSINESS: We discussed methods for streamlining our meetings. Tonja volunteeredto be program committee chair. Brian showed our new grotto letterhead forofficial communications. We opened a discussion on liability. Jim read"The Common Adventure Philosophy" which all participants in ISUOutdoor Recreation trip participants must sign. Jim agreed to rewrite it to fitour group and present copies to the board for discussion. Larry B. talked aboutConservation Watch. Perhaps a representative may give a presentation at afuture meeting. John M. reported on accepting the Outstanding Volunteer Awardfor the NNG at the Illinois State Fair. This honor was bestowed on our grottoby the State of Illinois Dept of Natural Resources for our work on theBlackBall Mine gating and survey project.

TRIP REPORTS: Julie visited commercial caves, Cave of the Mounds (WIS) andFischer Cave (MO), while on vacation with her family. Brian V. reported onBuddah, and Kevin R. took a trip to Buckner's with a group of kids and adults.Norm R. described the week at Mammoth Cave. The projects included lint removaland boats from El Gohr. Two groups toured Roppell after the work at Mammoth wascompleted. One group ended up on a royal rinky-dink. The other group ended upseeing Yahoo Passage, which Norm describes as the most beautiful he's everseen.

PLANNED TRIPS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: Wayne's Lost, Sept. 14. Brian Valentine'swedding on the same day. There will be a Mammoth Cave weekend in January. Ascientific conference on bats will be held in Bloomington. ILLINOIS! Moreinformation when it becomes available. A rookie trip to Illinois Caverns willbe planned soon. Chris noted that the DNR had set Hobo's (computerizedrecording thermometers) in BlackBall. Adjourned

Program: Favorite cave photos.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Jacobs, secretary

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