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July 1998 NearNormal News



Jim Jacobs

Like the guy with the goofy grin said...."I think I done died and went toheaven!"
And what has caused this sudden attack of euphoria? No, not drugs. Certainlynot! Think about it for a moment. What would make a cowboy really happy? A freerange, painted skies, and a good horse under his butt, right? What does it fora painter? A great idea, the perfect model, good light and nobody botheringhim. Eh? And what causes this editor to sleep like a baby and grin from ear toear? Grotto members who love to write, write a lot, and write like pros! That'swhat!
As mentioned in the June minutes, everyone will soon receive a copy of the"liability release". Please sign one and send (or bring it) to anofficer, after photocopying some for people who go on trips with you, ofcourse.
Do you have any pix of CAVE CRICKETS? Dennis Campbell will present the programat this meeting, entitled, "Cave Crickets I Have Known", and needssome visual aids. Just bring the pictures, not the real bugs.
From the internet comes a report that the area in TENNESSEE where Camps GulfCave is located may be threatened by the proposed mining of sulphurous coal.
BRUCE BOWMAN, speaking for the IKC, reports on the Sullivan Cave Purchase
TIM SICKBERT did an NCRC weekend!
DWIGHT WEAVER relates an amusing story about Mark Twain Cave Guides.
JULIE ANGEL tells about her Fogelpole trip.
BRETT BENNETT describes a great weekend of Indiana Caving.
TROY SIMPSON breaks into the lineup in a big way, with two stories aboutIndiana cave trips, including Wayne's and Endless.
STEVE TAYLOR remains as prolific as ever, with reports on the vertical trip,Speleofest, Crevice cave and others.
THANKS ALL! You're making my job easier and easier! And the NEWS better andbetter-Ed.

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NNG MINUTES -5/22/98

May 22, 1998

Called to order at 7:15 by President Brian Braye. Present: Jim Jacobs, DennisCampbell, Phil Vandebur, Brett Bennett, Angi Bennett, Troy Simpson, Len Storm,Lara Storm, Rich Bell, John Marquart, Dave Carson, Angela Carson.

Rich Bell gave his report on the upcoming vertical training weekend early,since he had to leave early.

OFFICERS' REPORTS: The previous minutes were approved as published in the MayNear Normal News. The treasurer's report was delivered by Brian. We have acurrent balance of $395.60. T-shirts and sweatshirts were passed out. Brianwill bring the shirts that are left to the next meeting. Please pick yours upas soon as possible. There are two large t-shirts left.

OLD BUSINESS: John Marquart reported that the proposal to purchase the Foglepoleentrance is off. The owner wants way too much for otherwise useless land. TheState DNR can do what they want. Business cards are available. They are 75cents per sheet (10 cards per sheet). Brian has three cougar tracks left. Theyare $5.00 ea. John M. reports that we have not received a BlackBall permit yetfor this year. Speaking for the Executive Committee, Brian told us that aninterim secretary will have to be appointed to replace Tonja.

TRIP REPORTS: Troy Simpson and the Bennetts went to Paoli, IN, near FrenchLick, and explored Bear Cave, which is the former hideout for the "ArcherGang". In the evening, they went to Cave River Valley and visited EndlessCave. Angi B. showed enlarged pictures of Troy's encounter with the Sweet's dog.Upcoming trips: Lara Storm is going to Karst-o-Rama in Kentucky near Mt.Vernon. Troy and the Bennetts are going to visit Kevin Peters of the EasternIndiana Grotto June 13-14. Troy is arranging a rubber raft to do River Cave inCave River Valley, July 4th.
The next meeting is June 26. The grotto BCI membership has been mailed.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Jacobs, Secretary
[These minutes were read and approved at the June meeting]

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June 26, 1998

Called to order at 7:18 by President Brian Braye. Present: Jim Jacobs, GregPhillips, David Carson, Dennis Campbell, Steve Taylor, Don Coons, John Walther,Brett Bennett, Angi Bennett, Richard Bell, Troy J. Simpson, Lara Storm, LenStorm, Chris Dinesen-Rogers, Norm Rogers, John Marquart, Julie Angel, MarkBelding, Beth Reinke.

OFFICERS REPORTS: Jim Jacobs was officially named interim grotto secretary forthe duration of the term. The minutes of the May meeting were approved as readby Jim J. The Treasurer's report was approved as delivered by Beth Reinke. Wehave $400.68.

OLD BUSINESS: Julie Angel. reported for the "Liability Committee". Asample form was presented. Debate followed, and the form was approved. A copywill be sent to each member. Everybody photocopy a bunch and keep them handy.Sign one for yourself and turn it in. Rich Bell commented on the verticalschool. He said that there was good feedback, and that we should plan to dosomething like knots for programs at meetings. Some expressed discomfort at theliability aspects of the student/teacher relationship. Brian Braye gave us anupdate on the Sullivan Cave fund-raising. It's going very well. They receivedour contribution, and now total about two-thirds of the amount need to coverthe purchase. More grotto shirts were passed out.

NEW BUSINESS: Norm Rogers talked about the upcoming Mammoth Cave Field Camp.There are still some spots open, probably due to the fact that the NSSConvention occurs close to the same time, and people have problems working outvacation time. The funds that have been approved to cover the expenses for thecamp have not yet been transferred.

TRIP REPORTS: Lara Storm said that there were only three people at the Wayne'strip. They made it to Camp Two. She is thinking about another trip fairly soon.There is a lot of cave there. Julie A. finished her internship with theGeological Survey with a trip to Fogelpole [see article, this issue-Ed.] Theytook soil samples. She discussed the results of dye-tracing from local springs.Indications are that there is still undiscovered cave around there. BrettBennett and Steve Taylor talked about their recent caving exploits. [see LOTSof articles, this issue-Ed ;-)]

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Norm says that there will be another Mammoth Cave weekend, theweek of October 3rd. The next meeting will be July 24. The program will beDennis Campbell's "Cave Crickets I Have Known". If anyone has anycave cricket pictures, please bring them! Meeting adjourned.

PROGRAM: Don Coons did a program on surveying. It was very difficult to get acompass to work down the basement of the bank. Too many power lines, I guess,especially in one pole.

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FYI, copied off alt. caving:

Subject: Cane Creek Gorge Karst Threathened in Tennessee
From: MLS <tusweca@twlakes.net>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998

Due to plans by Skyline Coal in Van Buren County Tennessee to follow the lowsulphur Sewanee coal seam into the watershed of Fall Creek Falls State Park thefollowing has occurred:

" On July 14 1995, 49 citizens, Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) andTennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning petitioned the office of surfacemining (OSM), United States Department of Interior to designate the watershedand the viewshed of Fall Creek Falls State Park and Natural Area in Van Burenand Bledsoe Counties, Tennessee, as unsuitable for surface coal miningoperations."

The contention here, is that acid runoff from the mining operation would have asevere detrimental effect on the ecosystem of this area as well as making thefalls 'orange' from runoff, which would severely curtail tourism to the areaand the park as well.

"The five primary allegations made by the petitioners are... 2) mining thearea would affect fragile or historic lands...".

What constitutes a legal fragile land? 48 Federal Register, 42351 section762.5, "fragile lands." "Geographic areas containing natural,ecological, scientific, or esthetic resources that could be damaged beyond andoperators ability to repair or restore or be destroyed by surface coal miningoperations. Example... Uncommon geological formations..."

How would this affect caving? Citing the petition, under Allegations of Factand Supporting Evidence; "12. The presence of caves and cave-inhabitingspecies makes this a fragile area. The Cane Creek gorge is a karst region.Research has demonstrated that sinking streams from Cane Creek flow throughDavis Tire Cave and Rice Cave. These streams join and this water is observedagain in Dark River Cave and the Natural Bridge Sinks Caves. It then flowsthrough Camps Gulf Cave and Inspiration cave before resurfacing at Cane CreekSpring. (Exhibit JJ Synopsis of study on karst hydrology of area caves.)Mining-induced degradation of Cane Creek could have an adverse affect on anyaquatic life in these caves. (Exhibit H, Letter from US Fish and WildlifeService to TN Division of Surface Mining about Eastern Minerals Permits). Inaddition, Myotis sodalis, Indiana Bat, which is listed on the Federal EndangeredSpecies List, is found in caves in this area, and could be adversely affectedby changes to its habitat. (Exhibit WW, Letter dated June 19, 1995, from AndrewBarrass, Ph.D, Division of Natural Heritage, Department of Environment andconservation, to Shelley Wascom, SOCM) Underground mining usually results insubsidence (either planned or unplanned). The subsidence could alter the flowof the groundwater and it may dewater streams, divert flows, etc. Mining couldalter these caves by causing water to be diverted from them."
Cane Creek Gorge is the primary drain for the Fall Creek Falls watershed. Acidrunoff and toxic waste from the mining operation would forever alter thepristine cave environment we now enjoy in the gorge.

In April, 1998 the Office of Surface Mining, Department of the Interiorreleased their Environmental Impact Statement (522 SMCRA Evaluation OSM-PE-13and EIS OSM-EIS-32), the essence of which, showed no reason to set thewatershed aside as unsuitable for mining. They found nothing 'uncommon' aboutthe karst development along the Cane Creek Gorge and "the petitioner didnot clearly relate the results of the study to their allegations"?"In regard to the southern cavefish, "OSM is not convinced,...thatsurface coal mining operations could impact the species." Further,"OSM"S experience with potential impacts to bats concerned theproximity of blasting operations and the specific tree species that areutilized by the Indian bat during the summer months.
Neither of these activities associated with surface coal mining would impactthe Indiana bat..."

How can the OSM state that no impact would occur when they admit in this reportthere would be acid runoff under the best of conditions? To those of us whohave caved in the Cane Creek Gorge we know that there will be a severe impactfrom runoff. Not to mention that the changes in water flow and toxic waste, aswell as acid runoff, will harm the biota of the karst features along the gorge.Finally, can one imagine Camp's Gulf Cave flowing 'orange' from the runoff? TheSecretary has set July 30th, 1998 as the cutoff date for public comment. InDecember he will make a final decision based on this report and public comment.To make your statement contact:

Beverly Brock, Supervisor Technical Group OSM
530 Gay St. SW Ste. 500
Knoxville TN 37902
(423) 545-4103 ex. 146
email bbrock@osmre.gov

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Bruce Bowman, President
Indiana Karst Conservancy

Folks -- Just an update on progress for funding of the Indiana KarstConservancy's purchase of Sullivan Cave and its 9 1/2 miles of passage. Todate, we have raised nearly two-thirds of our eventual goal of $70,000 for thecave purchase. This means we only need another $25,000 or so before the cave isfully funded. This is a great accomplishment for only six months offund-raising!
Of course, the last part is the most difficult. We are so close, it would benice to receive a new influx of donations to put us over the top. Hundreds,perhaps thousands, of cavers have enjoyed visiting Sullivan over the years; yetonly 100 or so individuals have made donations or pledges. Frankly, asking
for money isn't something I like to do -- I'd really like an excuse to shut upabout this for awhile. :^)
For more information about Sullivan Cave, please contact Bill Tozer(WTozer@aol.com) or visit our web page at: http://www.caves.org/conservancy/ikc

Also, a reminder that the Sullivan Cave auction remains open for bidding. Wehave a number of items available for viewing and sale at:http://www.caves.org/conservancy/ikc/auction.htm.
If you don't have web access and need more information, contact our auctioneerat ikcauction@aol.com.

The IKC wishes to thank each of them for their contributions to the protectionthis important resource.

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A couple of years ago, several NNG cavers took part in an NCRC Cave Rescuecourse at Illinois Caverns. I have been jealous ever since. It sounded likeeverybody had fun and got some good education on what it takes to mount a caverescue. Having missed that weekend, I thought it would be years before I wouldhave a chance to take the course. But, I kept my eye on the NCRC Central Regionweb page, always keeping open the possibility that I would get to one sooner orlater. Halfway through the week of April 20th, everything fell into place and Imade the trip to Horse Cave, KY (a town) for an NCRC Cave Rescue OrientationCourse the weekend of April 25-26.

With the help of the staff at the American Cave Museum in Horse Cave, I madearrangements to stay at Crystal Onyx Campground outside of Cave City, about 10miles south of Horse Cave. Because of the short notice, I did not have time toget anybody to go with me and share the driving or keep me awake--I highlyrecommend books-on-tape for the road weary. But, it is only about a 6 hour tripfrom Lincoln (although I spent a bit of time at Champaign Surplus looking forcarbide--they do not have any and are not likely to get any because carbide isnow listed as a hazardous material) and not a bad drive, although I recommendavoiding the loop around Indianapolis during rush hour. Saturday morning, theclass of about a dozen local/regional rescue personnel, about a dozen caversfrom a bit broader area, and one rescue dog, Buddy (with handler, Richard)gathered at the American Cave Museum in Horse Cave. Although the classroomitself left a bit to be desired, Amanda, Anmar, Don, & the rest of the NCRCcrew adapted well, got everybody settled, and effectively got the classroomsessions going.
We started with Anmar explaining that he was going to give us the answer to allof our questions. Answer number one: "It depends on the situation."The next several hours, he & the rest of of the staff went over severalsituations in abbreviated "bullet lectures," and described how theanswers depended on those situations.
Did you know that the NCRC does not participate in cave rescues? It does not.Rather, it provides training and a forum for volunteers to pre-plan forrescues; it also helps to coordinate the caching of some material resourcesthat would be needed during a rescue.

One lecture covered how NCRC had adapted what has become the standard model of"Incident Command." For a cave rescue, as in the standard model, anIncident Commander is in charge. But he/she has to focus on coordinating theabove ground activity and access to the cave in support of what is going onunderground. During the search, the IC remains the center of control andattention. Once victims are found, however, the focus shifts to an"Underground Coordinator," who keeps track of and controls activityaround the victim(s).

Another talked about the need for logistical support. Cave rescues can be takea long time and involve many people. Water, food, porta-potties,communications, and maybe some shelter need to be provided during the rescueeffort.

Other bullet lectures touched on hypothermia, CPR protocols, dealing with thepress, etc. After breaking for lunch and a couple more bullet lectures, westarted with some hands-on practice packaging a patient and transporting alitter. We alternately used a ZED and an OSS (Organ-Spine Splint) as shortbackboards, and then made a taco out of the practice patient in a SKED, arelatively soft and rollable litter that would be appropriate for relativelylow-risk transports with many tight obstacles. After that, we started over withthe OSS and then a Ferno-Washington litter, which is the rigid basket thatprovides a lot more protection and comfort for the patient.

Once we got the patient packaged, we set off slam-dancing through a course thatthe instructor group had set up. We went down a steep narrow stairway, throughimaginary twisting narrow passage down a real hill, through a sunken walkway,up another hill and set of stairs and into the back of the American Cave Museumwhere they had had a haunted house set up for last Halloween. There, we hadmore stairs, a maze, various corpses, a living head on a platter centered on awell-laid table, spider-webs, and other obstacles. We finally got stuck in anarrow passage between two old buildings, trying to get the Ferno-Washingtonthrough a window. It didn't work. Many thanks to Keith of the American CaveMuseum for his patience and good humor as we practiced moving him. And,although we never achieved the flowing "ballet" of litter-handlingthat our instructors would have liked to reach, we did improve and were givingKeith a smoother ride at the end of it. We finished the litter-handlingpractice by going over the "Rules of the Mock." Instructors wouldeither be playing roles or would be invisible observers. We would be on our ownfor the rescue.

Saturday night, after dinner, we spent some more time practicing packagingpeople in the litters and moving them in and around some obstacles. We also gotto practice using military surplus field phones. They really work, and came inhandy on Sunday when the mock rescue became real.

Sunday, we all gathered back in the classroom ready--more or less--for the mockrescue. To make it somewhat real, the instructors released us by ones and twosover about an hour so that we would not all show up at the rescue at the sametime. Once out of the room, we could not come back. Fortunately, somebodyrealized that we had all the equipment in the room and we had better be takingit with us when, one-by-one, we went out. As we waited, instructor Donentertained us with a couple of puzzles to kill the time.

I was about the fifth or sixth person out. Fortunately, the incident was areport of cavers overdue at Green River Cave, on which the American Cave Museumsits. Alan was playing the role of sheriff and doing an excellent job of beingupset, worried, pushy, ambiguous, and unhelpful. Leonard, a fellow student, hadthe bad luck to have been stuck in the job of Incident Commander. (Don't everdo this to somebody you like unless you are willing to be their gopher. It is ahard job, a nasty job, and I don't think you ever really get a break. Butsomebody has to do it. Thanks Leonard!)

While the sheriff was pushing to get people into the cave and many of therescuers were hot to trot, we didn't have a map of the cave; nor did any of therescuers so far on site know the cave. The first party of searchers, includingBuddy the rescue dog and his handler, went into the cave with pretty generalinstructions to follow the main passage and to mark their trail so later searchparties would not be covering the same ground.

I was getting ready to go with the fourth search team, heading downstream, whenthe first search team made it back with one walk-out victim and news of aninjured victim with a leg trapped under rubble. We quickly disbanded the fourthsearch team and reorganized as an IRT (Initial Response Team). Surprisingly, ofall the students, I was the only EMT. And, fortunately, the victim was reallynot that far into the cave.

Jacob had become Underground Coordinator, and my compliments to him for a jobwell done. He was basically in charge of coordinating with the litter teamleader, IC at the surface, underground "medical," the relief litterteams, and ongoing search teams going deeper to look for more potentialvictims.

Our first mock-victim with an injury presented a challenge. Mike Priddy withT.R.A.C.E.R. (Technical Rope and Cave Emergency Rescue) played the role of Ray,a caver with limited experience and explosives in his pack. He had been trappedby rockfall in narrow crawling passage with trauma to the right femur sufficientto cut off circulation to his foot. In addition, he had apparent bruising tohis right abdomen. It took us an hour to assess, begin initial treatment,splint, and package Ray. Aside from wishing I had more heat packs to try toalleviate his hypothermia, and never calling in the pretty ladies that somebodyhad promised him would come to his aid, we did a pretty good job. Once we gothim packaged, we got to moving. We started out a little bit slowly, picking upsome speed as we became more comfortable with the task and with each other.After moving for about half an hour, we had reached the first relief litterteam and I had made one medical report by field phone. Shortly after that, withan ETA of 15 minutes to the entrance (which we were probably going to miss by10 minutes), our mock rescue became real: one of the rescuers collapsed.

About 20 feet in front of the litter, there was a sudden commotion, some callsfor help, and a bit of a crowd. We set "Ray" down, and I went forwardto find that a rescuer was in the process of passing out. Thank you, Amanda,for being there. Our most local invisible angel/observer and EMT, Amanda Clarkwas right there to take charge. We "DC"ed (discontinued) the mockrescue and made it "for real."

I believe that the litter team had our mock-victim "Ray" out of theFerno-Washington inside of 30 seconds, and we had our real victim in the litterin about 3 minutes. Amanda was right at the head of the patient, watchingclosely, so she was able to give the command to "roll him [over]"when he started to vomit, thus preventing potentially deadly aspiration and/orchoking. And she stayed right there with him all the way out.

Once we had the real victim packaged, we boogied. I was amazed that so manypeople could move so fast so closely together. Without further incident, butusing almost every technique we had learned the previous day, we got to theentrance. This is where the field phones really paid off for us. The person onthe phone underground had called ahead to inform IC that we had a real rescue.At the entrance, the ground crew had rigged for a rope-haul up the steep slope,avoiding the narrow and winding stairs. Local EMS was on sight at about thetime that we got the patient to the street. After a bit of time, the patientseemed to come around pretty well and declined further treatment. Later, duringour debriefing to close out the weekend, he was losing consciousness again andso was transported to a local emergency room by car. After hanging around theER for a while, I hit the road for the long, lonely trip home.

Many thanks to the NCRC instructors: Amanda Clark, Jim Johnson, AllenHutchison, Anmar Mirza,Wendy Wente, Phil O'dell, and Don Paquette. And thanksalso to my fellow students--the cavers and the local rescue personnel.Altogether, it was really a great experience. Good people, good training, and,except for the intrusion of a real emergency, a good time. I recommend an NCRCorientation course to anybody who likes to spend a lot of time underground.

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MARK TWAIN CAVEby Dwight Weaver

Here is some interesting trivia regardingMark Twain Cave. As many of those who have read my writing and been aroundMissouri caving for awhile know, back in the old days of the 1970s, I was onthe staff at Mark Twain Cave as an Assistant Manager. This was 1975 through1978. The guides were one of my responsibilities, hiring, training, firing,etc. One of the first things I did my first week on the job was to stand outand listen to every guide's introductory talk at the entrance. In summer, theyhave about 10-15 guides. I discovered that no two guides gave the same year asthe caves discovery! That lead me to follow every guide on at least two toursand I discovered that inconsistency was just as bad inside as out. So, Ideveloped a guide training program and guide materials. Did wonders but took alot of monitoring, not so much to make them all sound alike but to make themconsistent with facts. What was unique about Mark Twain Cave was that I couldmove around through the inner network of the system, since the tour follows amore or less rectangular route through the network, leaving a big chunk ofinterconnecting passages between, and listen to every guide at everysignificant station and hear every word without ever being heard or seen. Youcan imagine how that kept the guides on their toes!

Paul Johnson and I mapped the cave in 1963 and so I used that map to paint thefirst one outside the entrance. The guides found it a marvelous tool. It wasalso a good place for people to take family pictures and to get peopleinterested in touring the cave. Later, Scott House not only remapped the cavein more detail than Paul and I did, but he also used my entrance area map as anexample in a paper he did on the use of cave maps.

At the time, we ran tours up to Cameron Cave but they had no specific route forthe guides to follow or tour material. I produced the first guide trainingmanual for that cave. I found in interesting to find a piece of that cave mapwith guide stations on it from the manual also showing up in Scott House'sarticle.

Of course, Cameron is a more complicated network. One day a fairly new guideleft the Mark Twain Cave administration building with a group of about 8 peopleto tour Cameron Cave. Two hours later he wasn't back so I sent a guide to seewhat happened. The second guide knew the cave very well and went to six points.When he returned to the administration building about 30 minutes later with themissing guide and people I asked what happened. He said he heard the guidecoming so he stepped back into the dark and watched him go through six pointstalking away. A few minutes later he came back going a different direction. Thepoor guide was hopelessly lost and going in circles and at least had the savyof mind to keep talking and talking so that none of his tour would know! Theguide that rescued him was pretty savy too. He stepped out and said "Hey,you're spending too much time. They need you back at Mark Twain Cave." Theguide looked at his watch and said "Wow. I got so busy showing the cave Ilost track of time." I have buckets of cave guide lore from that place.

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Trip participants: Sam Panno-ISGS, Pius Weibel-ISGS, Steve Taylor-NNG/INHS,Father Paul Wightman, Julie Angel-NNG

This article may be shorter and sweeter than some I've written in the past (doI hear clapping and cheering?) Seems the more karst related trips I take, theless time I have to write about them!

I recently finished an independent study in hydrogeology at the Illinois StateGeological Survey under the direction of Sam Panno. We spent quite a bit oftime in the field this semester, but one of the biggest thrills for me was ourJune 2nd trip to Fogelpole Cave.

Father Paul Wightman returns once a year from Sitga, Alaska to visit family inWaterloo, IL, and makes an annual trip to Fogelpole with his geologist friends,Sam P. and Pius W. Father Paul was the first to explore Fogelpole back in themid 1940's, and is a well known caver and cave radio expert. I was honored tobe able to go to Fogelpole with Fr. Paul and the gang. You can tell he's athome in the cave; and is a wealth of information about when each section wasdiscovered, what passage goes where, etc.

We entered the cave at 11 a.m. and a short distance from the entranceencountered a sudden 10 foot drop off. There was a lively debate as to whichside of the pit was easier to free climb (Steve Taylor preferred the rightside, Fr. Paul the left.) So, I did my usual and made everyone happy. I wentdown "Steve's side" and later climbed out "Fr. Paul's side".My fear of heights made me dislike BOTH sides, so no side won the debate withme.

We continued down the sloping passage until we reached what has to be thebiggest passage in the state of Illinois. Pius must have noticed the glazedlook in my eyes as he leaned over my shoulder and said "No Dorothy, you'renot in Kansas anymore!" I knew I was still in Illinois, but just couldn'tmake myself believe it. We stood at a junction with huge passage running in allfour directions (they tell me I still didn't see the "big" stuff.)Fr. Paul must have gone crazy with delight the first time he saw this room. Howwould you ever chose which way to go first? I wanted to go every directionfirst!!!!

On this particular day we chose to initially go downstream. Sam had his eye onsampling soil in a silt filled passage he had been to on a previous trip (apassage Fr Paul tried to dig out years ago and finally gave up the fight.) Samwill be sending the soil samples to the lab to be dated, which will helpdetermine when the passage silted in. We then headed upstream where we stoppedat Dome Passage. Fr. Paul likes this spot, because he can sit and listen topeople moan and groan and grunt as they squeeze through the 10 ft. long narrowslit in the wall. It was definitely worth all the huffing, puffing, andcursing. We popped out to see a beautiful 50' x 20' dome with water tricklingin from above. Rock in Fogelpole is thinly bedded, so the dome had manydifferent rock layers dissolving at different rates; forming fascinatingpatterns from top to bottom.

We continued upstream with water running shallow and swift across a smoothbedrock floor. When we turned around to look behind us, it was quite obviousthat we were moving up a sizable gradient. Sam said we may actually have beenon the side of the Waterloo anticline! We came to a gorgeous 5' waterfall,where most of us became very wet trying to climb. After plowing through thighdeep water, we came to the "Big Room", where we climbed to the top ofa tremendous pile of breakdown and looked out in to the darkness of the cavethat lay beyond. Time was running out, and after a short break we decided tohead back. We saw just about everything a cavers heart desires; beautifulstalactites and stalagmites, huge chert nodules, coral fossils of various kinds,soda straws, draperies, rimstone dams and lots of neat cave life (including ahuge green frog.) I was also amazed at the thick coating of manganese on therocks in the cave stream. Gorgeous cave!!
Sam, Pius and I took vertical elevation measurements on our way out; beginningat the stream passage in the first junction and measuring our way out of thecave and to the top of the hill above the Fogelpole sinkhole. Elevation changed~145 ft. from stream bed to hill top. We will use this date to verify the cavedepth we estimated on our Fogelpole cross section maps.

Exited the cave at 4:30 p.m. wet, tired, and hungry!! Saw approximately 2 - 3miles of cave today. I'm ready to go back!

p.s. What was that I said about this being a "shorter, sweeter article?"You shouldn't have cheered so soon. It's hard to keep a "windy"person down!!

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 LET'S GET VERTICAL by Brett Bennett

This trip was conceived the second weekend in April during our trip to SmallDull. That is when I met Kevin Peters from the Eastern Indiana Grotto. Aftertalking with him all afternoon about vertical caving, we decided to plan forJune 13th to be dedicated to being a yo-yo. Over the next two months Kevin andI exchanged several e-mails about what was to happen.

Kevin is involved in the Boy Scouts, so he took their motto of "BePrepared" to heart. He not only searched out a variety of pits to bounce,but took into account our groups limited experience. He got permission fromMrs. Lawson for the 100 foot Green Eye I pit, the permits for Hoosier NationalForest Swallow Hole at 42 foot, and Shaft Pit 76 foot. He also got the key forGrotto Cave (about 100 yards from Shaft) for those who wanted to bypass shaft.

It was arranged to meet at the gas station on RT. 37 and RT. 50, just south ofBedford, Indiana. Being as Marc Tiritilli and I were coming from Paoli,Indiana, we wanted to get there early. Dennis Campbell was waiting for usalready. This was before 6:30 a.m. when cavers are supposed to be still dreamingof virgin passages and huge stalactites. With what Kevin had planned we neededan early start.

Lara Storm rolled in just before 7 with a smile on her face. (HaHa). She alsosurvived the thunderstorms that rolled through Southern Indiana on Friday. Mytent and sleeping bags were soaked due to leaving the tent open. You know, itwas sunny and 85 degrees when we went to Capers Friday nite. (Oh Well.)

A little after that Kevin and Marcia Denny arrived with Kevin's sister Brendain tow. Also along was Dave Mason and Laura Lowden (also from IEG.)
Once intros were made we piled into Dennis' Explorer and followed them toHoosier. We had to hike through the forest about a mile to get there.

After some more discussions the pit was rigged with 2 ropes and appropriatelypadded we started in. Dennis was first to go followed by Lara and me. Quite andimpressive little hole. A small waterfall at the bottom. One by one we bouncedthe pit and packed up to go to Carcass Crypt. This pit was the hit or miss inthe bunch. Unfortunately the owner was not home. Maybe next time. Next on theagenda was Green Eye. This pit is located about a mile behind the owner's homein a cow pasture. Some comments were made about the bodily functions of cows aswe walked past, dodging the cow pattie mine field as we went.

The entrance is located at the bottom of a shallow sink in the midst of a groveof trees. The opening was large enough to rig two ropes here also. Somediscussion was carried out as to how to rig it safely. After about an hour andrigging one drop at least 3 times, we were ready. We did this pit in pairs. Oneon each rope. Rappel down, ascend back up no problem. Lara and I were up first.I wanted to go down together and get some pictures along the way but Lara hadother ideas. I waited for her to negotiate the lip before I started down. Bythe time I was able to look down the pit, Lara was at the bottom, so much forpictures. You know how youngsters are, always in a hurry. Once I stepped offthe lip and started to make my way down, I noticed it. The whole side of thepit where this rope hung was all flowstone. 100 foot of Flowstone. Justbeautiful. About half way down I locked off the rack and started to takepictures. What took Lara a short time to do, I took 3-4 minutes. Enjoying thebeauty on the way down because I knew I would have to work on the way out. Tooksome pictures at the bottom looking up. Now I know why they call it Green Eye.The trees are all you see.

What took 3-4 minutes to get down took about 20 to get back up. Damn that frogsystem. Lara and I again started off together but she soon out paced me and waskind enough to wait for me. It helps to have someone to talk to. Also I had theFlowstone to worry about. Not wanting to damage it. Lara, on the other hand,had a free drop, about 5 to 7 feet away from the wall. My methods involvedpushing off the wall and being able to get two steps in before the wallapproached again. 2 steps, look for the wall, steady myself and push off again.

Also on the way up, I had to readjust the position of my harness on my leftleg. It shifted a bit during the ascent. When I thought it was back in place Icontinued on, only to get a severe pain between my legs. Apparently I moved itto far and was now pinching some areas that were not made to pinch. Lara wasalso complaining about a similar discomfort. (Anyway, that's something betterleft to others to describe.) After making it out, I decided then and there thatthe frog was to be dissected. It's a double bungee rope walker from now on.

Marc and Dennis were in next. Followed by Kevin and Marcia. Dave and Laura werelast but Marc wanted to do it again to take pictures and use Purisk knots toclimb out. We have done lost of practice in my tree and Marc is almost as fastwith knots as mechanicals. Look out when he gets used to the mech.
We had said our good-byes to Dave and Laura when we left Green Eye. Dave saidsomething about a steak calling his name. I just donÆt get some people, givingup so soon when their stomachs growl. We also made a pit stop for dinner thenon to Shaft. We had to display the parking permits to the cars wouldnÆt gettowed, and back through the woods we went. As we stopped at the entrance toShaft Pit, I made the decision not to do it and went with Kevin, Brenda, andMarcia to Grotto Cave, but that's another story.

Marc, Dennis and Lara stayed to do the pit and were to meet us at Grotto whenthey were done. I'll let someone else describe Shaft since I wimped out.

It was the end of a truly perfect day of caving. A couple of vertical pits,meeting new friends, and caving with some friend for the first time. And theprospect of seeing 1000's of bats leaving the cave at sundown.

Grotto cave is protected by the Indiana Karst Conservatory, and you need apermit to enter, which Kevin arranged. It is home to several thousand IndianaBats and is closed to all between September and April.

The entrance is a perilous, muddy slope angled at about 45 to 50 degrees. Weused my 90 foot rope as a hand line and put a harness and rack on Brenda, beingas it was her first cave trip. At the bottom of this slope was a 8 to 10 footclimb down. Kevin had Brenda ease to the edge as if to rappel down but her footslipped and she disappeared from sight. I was worried she got hurt when amuffled giggle whafed up from below.

From here we still headed down another slope, also muddy. I was told that therewas a lot of vandalism years ago in this cave. Not really much to see, the batshad already left for the night (oh darn). We soon came to a breakdown pile wehad to climb. Kevin pointed out the cave register housed in a PVC tube. I hadto fill it out.
After a short time we came to a section of belly crawl that lead to an upperlevel, but unfortunately it was to small for me, and Kevin went to check itout. I guess he found the bats as he got buzzed several times.

As we made our way out I noticed that some of the walls looked funny. Uponcloser inspection, it looked as if someone had whitewashed it with mud. Largesections as much as 20 feet high were like this. Maybe it was a way to cover upthe vandalism.
We made our way out to meet the other and head for home. What an end to aperfect day.

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I have been a member of the Near Normal Grotto now for 3 months and have feltthat I've survived my Baptism of Fire. Not only did I crawl through theseemingly infinite amounts of Bat Guano, squeeze through portals of mereinches, literally destroy a pair of hiking boots, and become friends with aherd of Dachshunds, I survived a weekend with the Bennetts!! Seriously though,we had a great time visiting and caving in the Paoli, IN cave region. Our tripbegan with me skipping out of work on Friday afternoon and meeting up with theBrett, Angie, Nick, and Annie Bennett at the Perkin's in Champaign, IL. Afterthe gang stopped laughing at my Plymouth Horizon (affectionately known as the"Geology-Mobile") we were on our way.

Our first stop was at the booming metropolis of Paoli, IN where we met up withSkip, Barb, and Adam Sweet. Brett and Angie had met them earlier at cave rescuetraining and it was decided that caving trip would be fun to do in the future.We were welcomed into the home for the weekend (A key note to point out was wewere planning on camping on their land, but Skip said it would be too miserableoutside to camp. As it turned out it was a picture perfect weekend!!)
Skip had purchased some land outside Paoli and thought there might be somepotential break-throughs in some of the sinkholes. Without further ado we wentto investigate. Even though we saw no clear cut openings, we could smell adistinct sulfur odor and it looked that with a bit of elbow grease, a cavecould be found. That evening we sat around discussing the game-plan forSaturday. Skip told of the rumor that Paoli was literally sitting on a networkof caverns that had hidden entrances in the basements of the old high schooland courthouse. Also the possibility of an entrance just a few hundred yards upthe hill from where we were sitting. Tomorrow though we would enter the land ofLarry Bird, French Lick.

After a hardy breakfast at a local diner and a quick repair of a flat tire, wewere off to the resort town of French Lick, IN. We traveled to a Mary Ellis'residence on the edge of French Lick to explore Bear Cave. While everyone wasgetting ready, Skip and I chatted with Mary about Bear Cave and any other localcaves. As it turns out Bear Cave was a hiding place for the Archer Gang thatterrorized the area during the 20's and 30's. It also is the primary source ofwater for Mary's residence. Bear Cave is a relatively small cave less than 250'in length. The entrance was easily accessible, but a bit wet. Brett and I founda crawl space approximately two feet in height and it narrowed to about a footwhen Brett and I felt we could go no further. This was the extent of the map wehad and I could see that it continued on for several more feet. I next sectiondropped off about a foot and the passage seemed to open up to 2' again, but Iwas not sure I could get back up.

The cave was filled with a large amount of recent droppings and due to thesmall confines with large numbers of people the breath condensation wasbeginning to build up, so we figured it was time to move on.

On a sad note, we took a "casualty" while searching for otherbreak-throughs. Skip, Adam, and myself went searching along the creek that runsthrough the area. As I was scaling the hill slope my 12 year old hiking bootsfinally gave up as the sole tore off. I then inherited a pair Angie's boots touse for remainder of the weekend.
After bidding Mary ado, we traveled back to Salem, IN to pick up Barb and go onto Endless Cave in Cave River Valley. Of course we had to stop by the railroaddisplay on the way out of town. Angie was awestruck by the size of the resorthotels and hopes to return to tour someday.

We arrived at Cave River Valley about 5 o'clock and geared up once again. Forme I was really excited because I had heard about this site the whole tripbecause it was the site of the cave rescue training. Brett, Skip, and myselfscouted out Wet Clifty while everyone else went on to Endless (Dry Clifty). WetClifty is a challenge basically because a raft is needed to traverse the firstsection of the cave. My understanding is that this cave is basically untouchedbecause few take the time to bring a raft. Skip and I got our "KodakMoment" and the three of us proceeded to join the others.

Endless has a large, walk-in entrance which is nice for taking first-timers andthe less adventurous. Immediately we were welcomed to the cave by knee-deepcold water. The initial passageway looked like a giant bore hole that windedthrough the limestone. It was rather easy to maneuver through with many smallercrawlways breaking off the main chamber. Skip picked up the habit of pointingthese crawl passageways and saying "There's a passageway for youTroy!" Of course, I was inclined to investigate the passages. Thehighlight passageway for me was talking Brett into following me into a 2 footpassage. This was fine until the sharp chert debris on the floor started toinch towards my belly. I think I need to invest in a kevlar chest protector.

After exploring several side passages and deciding to take the left fork of thecave, we came to the section where the core of the cave rescue training waslocated. In the middle of a fall zone, there lay a plateau of limestone 20+feet above us and mere inches from the cave ceiling. This is where the "victim"was placed. Brett, on a mission, sought out to see exactly where the victim wasplaced and how to get to the spot. The problem was, there was not an easy,direct route. Brett chose to climb and squeeze his way vertically along acorner slot. In a matter of minutes I could hear his voice above. I decided totake a more indirect route. I found a horizontal passage that traveledunderneath Brett and the plateau and crawled towards another vertical slot thatled to the top. I shimmied my way to the slot and attempted to"chimney" my way up. This seemed to work fine until I noticed that Icould feel solid rock on my chest and back simultaneously! I squeezed back downto the passageway and found an opening that led to the place where Brett climbed.

The place lacked height, but there seemed to be plenty of room horizontally.Brett tried to imagine how the team managed to secure the victim and transporther from this isolated place. Another unique feature was the amount of claybuild-up that was present on the ledge. There was 4-6 inches of compacted claypressed to the rock, which led him to believe that we might be relatively closeto the surface.

After scampering down with the help of Skip, we moved on and came to the nextsection. This would become our "satellite camp." Ahead of us was astretch of 2-3 foot high passages that were half-filled with water. TheBennetts chose to set up camp and let the kids rest, while the Sweets andmyself would press on. This watery section lasted for what we estimated 75-100feet and it was starting to get a bit tiresome. Just as I was about to call itquits, the passage opened up into large corridor. This continued on until wereached another fall zone that encompassed the entire corridor. Skip motionedto me another one of those "famous" crawlways and told me that hethought it opened up into a formation room. Me, being a bit crazy proceededinto the crawlway. It was definitely the smallest passage I had been through tothis point, at least this one was somewhat dry. After squirming my way throughthe 20ft long passage, it opened up. I could hear Skip ask me if I sawanything. I looked up and around and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Idecided to scout ahead for few more feet just in case, and when I turned back toaddress the rest of the party I saw it. There tucked behind the fall zone were3 stalagmites protruding from the slope. I yelled out to Skip, Barb, and Adam"Holy Cow! You got to see this!" With that they crawled through aslightly more roomy passage by the water (which Skip did not inform me about)and were silenced by the singular formations with hundreds of soda strawsacting as a backdrop. We took a couple of pictures and noticed a short paththat led up to the ceiling. I proceeded up the slope and was awestruck by whatI saw. Dozens of columns seemingly supporting the ceiling, literally thousandsof soda straws - many nearly a foot long, short draperies outlining the jointsof the limestone ceiling, and a massive inactive flowstone acting as a dividerbetween the fall zone and the formation room. Many of the formations were stillactive and we remained just awed for a few moments. We took the last twopictures of my film, decided that it was worth the effort and to proceed nofurther.

Renewed by the sight we headed back to meet up with the Bennetts. When wearrived they had MRE's warmed up and ready for the eating. After filling ourbellies, we meandered our way out of the cave. On the way out Brett spotted afrog sitting quietly on limestone slab. At the entrance a lone cave salamanderguarding portal that soon became a photo shoot opportunity.

That evening we shared about our various adventures, conjuring up possibilitiesfor the land that Sweets' own, and started dreaming up plans to explore"Wet Clifty" some day.

Sunday came, and it was a day of celebration. Not only was it Mother's Day, butit was also Nick's birthday. We had a cake and ice cream, and admired thepictures that we got developed at the 1 hour shop at Wal-Mart. We left Paoliwith stronger friendships and future plans. After a short detour to the TexasSteakhouse I was soon driving home in my "Geology-mobile" with lotsof good memories and the excitement of creating new one in the future.

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WHY DO I GOCAVING? by Troy J. Simpson

Many of my colleagues and friends look at my office and see pictures of placesI've been and adventures (of which) I've been a part [of]. One picture standsout [to] (the) most, and it is a picture of myself crawling through passage ofBronson Cave. Their comments often are "There is no way you can get medown there," or "Aren't you afraid you'll get stuck?" Myresponse is "I get to see some really neat formations!"

Well, a few months ago Brett Bennett talked about Wayne's Lost Cave and how funit is to explore. I quickly picked up on the tales of the cave from the"short" crawlway near the entrance of the cave, the"Elevator" that is located somewhere around Camp 4, and of course ifthere really is a Camp 2. Lara Storm informed me that she was getting a grouptogether to go to Wayne's Lost Cave. I thought to myself here is my chance tofind out [what] (which?) tales were true and [what] (which) were figments ofover-active imaginations. Lara had mentioned that there were a couple of neatrooms with "soda straws" and helictite formations growing untouchedfrom the ceiling. That was enough for me.

I met up with Lara and Mark on Saturday morning after spending a couple of dayscamping along the Knobstone Trail. Note: not a good idea to attempt Wayne'safter hiking in the backcountry a few days. Anyway, we soon learned that therewould only be three of us going into the cave. We arrived at Bent Arrow CavingSupplies, dropped off the cars and proceeded to the entrance.

After a little difficulty opening up the gate we clambered down into the cave.We "duck-walked" the first few minutes and then the "short"crawl began. At first, I thought that it would be just a boring crawl windingdeeper into the cave. After 10- 15 minutes I stopped ( ,) [and] turned on myside ( ,) and spied a cascade of calcite in the form of [a] flowstone. I hadseen flowstone in large chambers, but never in a 2-foot passageway. Just beyondit was a ceiling covered with small "soda straws" and the beginningsof helictite formations. Neat formations!

Well, we made it through the crawlway in about 30 minutes or so. Of course thecrawlway had one last shot at us. Before we could walk, it was necessary tostraddle a chasm that deepened to approximately twenty feet. This provided anextra challenge, where I tested a slightly unorthodox technique. I reverted tomy old grade school days and (cautiously) rolled across the chasmperpendicularly [cautiously]. Success!

The next passages were large breakdown rooms with 50 foot ceilings connected byshort crawlways amongst the fallen debris. We crawled up, down, and eventhrough the breakdown[s] hoping to reach Camp 2. Then we reached the room thatwas dubbed "Ray-o-Vac Hall," due to the large 6-volt battery foundperched on a ledge. [Here is] (That was?) where we made the fateful decision totake a passage that dropped below the breakdown and to the left. We climbedthrough several up(s) and downs until we reached another large breakdown room.I then heard the words that sent a nerve through my body. Lara said "Thisdoesn't look too familiar." We decided to take a break to rebuild ourenergy and I then decided to explore a passage at the end of the chamber.
This passage was a fairly walkable section that intersected another passage ina "T." This passage had a shallow stream flowing through it andseemed to continue on in both directions. I walked through it making sure tokeep track of where Mark and Lara were, and it seemed to circle around thislarge breakdown chamber. I went back and got Lara and Mark and we checked ourmap. This passage didn't seem to be on the map and we weren't sure where wewere. I was getting a bit worried and threw out the idea that we probably shouldgo back the way we came and get our bearings. When we got back to this"unknown" chamber we then realized that we weren't even sure how wegot in [their] (there). Mark took lead and we followed him through a couple ofcrawlways and ended up in the stream passage again. We went in a circle! Wetried another passage and in a matter of minutes we were back in the"Ray-o-Vac Hall." Mark suggested that we go ahead and try (a) passageto the right. If it didn't lead anywhere, we'd call it a day.

After a few minutes, there it was as big as day, [T] (t)he "NaturalBridge!" Here we were only a few minutes away and yet we had no idea wherewe were for an hour and a half. I was amazed at the size of the room with thisbridge crossing the chamber like an archway. Mark and I climbed up the bridgeand cleaned up some camp trash left by a previous group. Lara called over [to](from) where she was across the room. Here there [is] (was a?) beautifulformation room. Thousands of "soda straws" hung from the ceiling [;](,) still dripping calcite saturated water. Stalactites with fragile helictitesforming looked like the frozen roots of plants. Some of the stalactitesconnected and formed mini-draperies. On the floor rose stumpy stalagmites withthe occasional sections having "moon milk" oozing from the base. Wehad to carefully maneuver around the room (so) as [to] not (to) bump any of thedelicate structures. These were some pretty neat formations.
After a quick break we decided to head to Camp 3, having finally been successfulin reaching Camp 2. Here (we) winded our way through a stream cut passage andafter about 20-30 minutes we reached a small room labeled Camp 3. At this pointmy previous 2 days had finally caught up with me. My body was telling me to goback. I rationalized the thought of turning back by saying "oh, this givesme incentive to return some day." In reality I was a bit disappointed innot making it to Camp 4.
The trip back was uneventful and we took many breaks to keep our spirits up.Lara was excited for making it to Camp 2 and felt pretty good about reachingCamp 3. She tried to encourage me with the fact that few people ever make it toCamp 3, especially on their first trip. That was enough for me. Then (came) themoment I had tried to psyche myself up for, "The Crawlway." I quicklyremembered my track and field days where we used to try to convince our mindsthat our bodies weren't tired. It almost worked. Mark humored us with hiscaving stories about how the British beliefs of 3 sources of light were "yougot one, you got one, I got one, that's three sources!" Anything to keep[your] (our) minds off the crawl. We managed to make it through "TheCrawlway" in about 45-60 minutes with plenty of breaks in between. After alittle difficulty getting the gate locked up, we changed and [we] were on ourway. Before I would put Wayne's behind me, the Caving Gods had one lastreminder for me. My stomach decided to get back at me for putting my bodythrough such an ordeal.

So let's recap. We crawled 1500 feet, saw some neat formations, scrambled up,down, through breakdown[s], got "lost", saw some neat formations,became very tired, then crawled back through the 1500 feet, and my stomachdeclared its own revolution. So, why do I go caving?

Did I mention I saw some really neat formations?!

Epilogue: despite the sometimes grueling environment, Troy plans on being apart of the next trip to Wayne's.

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On June 3rd and 4th I had the good fortune of being able to attend an eventnear Corydon, Indiana, sponsored by several government agencies. The event wastitled "Impacts of Forest and Wildlife Management Practices in the KarstArea of Southern Indiana: A Field Workshop." We had one and a half daysworth of distinguished speakers and slides, interspersed with an evening ofmistnetting for bats on the Blue River and trapping bats with a harp trap atthe entrance to Wyandotte Cave during the same evening. At the harp trap, we hadample opportunity to view four or five species of bats up close and personal,with the interpretive assistance of several bat experts. The afternoon of thesecond day, we were treated to a special biology tour of Wyandotte Cave tofinish off the event. At Wyandotte, we got to see several troglobitic speciesthat were originally described from Wyandotte Cave. There were perhaps 70people present, primarily various agency folks, mainly from Indiana.

On the afternoon of the 4th, after the workshop was over, I went with JerryLewis (an independent biospeleologist who does a lot of contract work for theNature Conservancy), Ellen Jacquart (a US Forest Service employee), and DianeTecic (Illinois DNR District Heritage Biologist) to look for more cave life innearby Sibert's Well Cave, where the undesirable crawl/walk ratio was made lesspainful by finding two species of cave crickets, several salamanders, and atroglobitic snail. Following this, Jerry, Diane and I moved on to Harrison CaveSpring, where we found more troglobitic snails. As the day dwindled intodarkness, I had time to run up the hill to Harrison Cave for a quick peek atthe large but short borehole that tempts some cavers to dig onwards with dreamsof going passage.
We finished the day off by checking out the springrun of Harrison Spring,Indiana's largest spring. This spring is odd in that it resurges in the middleof an otherwise flat corn field. The springrun is a river, comparable in sizeto those of the large Missouri springs, but with more silt in the water. Thatevening, Diane and I caravaned back to Illinois in the darkness through heavyrainfall. By 11 pm, I was exhausted and pulled over to sleep at a rest stop.
The next day, Friday, I completed the long trek back to Chambana, where I swappedthe government vehicle for my own, packed up my camping and vertical gear, andheaded back south and west to Illinois' Lincoln Hills.

By the evening, I was nestled into the Near Normal Grotto campsite at PereMarquette State Park, in the company of the Brett and Angie Bennett and theirtwo kids, Kevin Rasmus and his two children, Beth Reinke, Julie Angel (whoslept with John Marquart's 'equipment'), Dennis Campbell, Phil Von DeBur, andRichard Bell. Around the campfire, Julie demonstrated her ability to extinguishburning embers with spit, whilst the children hurled molten marshmallows inrandom directions. The next morning we all convened at a pavilion forpresentations on various aspects of vertical caving. Others arrived as themorning wore on: Mark Valentine and Marc Tiritilli were among the latearrivals. I'm missing a couple of names here, but there were others. In theafternoon, we went to a nearby quarry where descending rope was discussed andthe practiced till late in the afternoon.

That evening, we all (about 14 people) went out for dinner in Grafton. Everyonehad a good time telling lies and tying knots. I may have sustained the onlyinjury of the weekend by scraping my elbow on a brick wall while going in andout of the bar/restaurant as I switched dance partners (Julie and Beth) for theoutside entertainment (a live country band of limited skill). Another campfirefeaturing several people trying to outdo themselves by telling tasteless jokes.
On Sunday (7 June 1998), we continued our vertical nonsense at the quarry, withmost folks now ascending as well as going down. For me, the high point wasexecuting a pickoff of a simulated 'stranded fool' (in this case, Dennis, whowas only simulating being a fool), and successfully lowering him to the ground.Everyone, including the instructors, seemed to be learning a lot and having funat the same time. Richard Bell did a lot of work to make this whole verticalthing happen and run so smoothly, and I think we owe him a big thanks. By fouro'clock, most people were on the road to home. Dennis, Phil and I formed alittle caravan that drove north and east, stopping for supper in some smalltown that was having a big parade. It was here that I saw the truck of mydreams, a big new Dodge 4x4--with a full load of cheerleaders in the bed! Ahwell, reality set in rapidly as I began the rest of the awful drive up into thecentral Illinois

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SPELEOFEST '98 by Steve Taylor

On Friday afternoon, Genie Schropp (a Little Egypte Grotto caver) and I couldbe found rolling down the road towards Speleofest, which was held near thesmall community of Temple Hill, east of Bowling Green, Kentucky. That eveningwe were nestled into our campsite amongst several hundred cavers from Missourito Florida and Vermont. After briefly consulting the guidebook, we signed upfor a vertical trip the next day. Our neighbors in the campground were fromPine Mountian Grotto (PMG), and turned out to be really great folks. Some ofthem signed up for the same trip, and we soon became good friends, our campsmerging into one. A very modest bonfire that evening, and visits to vendorsrows (well populated with vendors), then to bed with visions of pits in ourheads.
Up early, breakfast of pancakes. Then sorting gear. Soon we were in a smallcaravan of four by fours, and drove up northeast of Mammoth Cave National Parkand out into the country. We roared up a short but very slippery four wheelin'road (some had to take several shots at it to make it up the hill), then parkedin the woods. Our party now included eleven cavers from Kentucky (PMG: MikeStanfield, Thor Bahram, Jim Helton), Florida (Mike List), Illinois (Genie andI), Georgia (four guys-one of whom was a smoker in spite of the fact that hewas born with one lung!) and somewhere else (Holly). We geared up and made thegrueling three minute stroll to the pit, where two ropes were rigged. FrenchmanKnob Pit (Hart Co., KY) is considered to be the largest open air pit inKentucky (not necessarily the longest entrance drop). The map indicates thatthe short side is 125 feet, the high side 145 (the guidebook said 170, but Ithink 145 is closer to fact). We rigged one rope on the high side and one onthe low side - both routes had a nice free drop for at least the bottom twothirds of the distance. The pit is some 30 feet across, with a slight funnel tooverhung walls that drop straight down the rest of the distance. The pit isreally a beauty. I fired off several camera shots on rope - I hope they turnout! The Georgia guys were down first, and bopped much of the cave passage atthe bottom by the time the whole party had descended. Some of the rest of us(self included) only did a little bit of exploring before coming back up therope. A third group (much of the PMG contingent) went off for more extensiveexplorations. Back on the surface, the Georgia guys became restless waiting forthe last group, and decided to head back to the Speleofest site. We agreed tobring their rope back to them that evening, and waited on the surface for thethird crew.

After a long time, we started to be concerned as to their whereabouts, and Idecided to go down to look for them. On the first time down I used my PetzlStop, but this time I borrowed a rack for a bit of variety and because the Stopwas so slow on the muddy 11 millimeter. One of the people in the third party(Holly) didn't have her own gear, and Mike List (from Florida but a PMG member)had planned to loan her his Mitchell setup. So Mike showed me his set up and Itook it down the pit with me. I'm not real keen on gear passing, but at cavingevents like this, you can't expect everyone else on a trip to hold to the samestandards as you do, and I felt I had to compromise mine a little. I didn'treally like his Mitchell setup, so I decided to wear it myself and let Hollyuse my safer but slower frog system. I geared up in the Mitchell and added somesaftey features like chicken loops and a teather from the upper ascender to mysit harness. Eventually, the third party arrived back.
After a short scolding (for being so long in the cave with everyone waiting onthem), I got the frog on Holly and she and I climed up together (seprateropes). Holly did real well considering her lack of experience. I tookadvantage of her slowness (inevitable on ones' first ascent) to catch my breathand admire the view (the pit and Holly both were nice to look at). We made itup with no real problems. I think she plans to go vertical again - a good signof potential vertical caving addiction! At this point, some of us headed backto Speleofest while the rest climbed out of and derigged the pit. It was a realsatisfying day of caving. That evening featured the usual mix of cavingcomradre, dining, campfires, vendors, beer, etc.

The next morning after breakfast I joined a group going to Payne Cave (BarrenCo., KY), a horizontal cave which has been known since the 1780's. I hitched aride in the bed of one of the pickup trucks going, and soon we were caravaningdown the road. A short ten minutes from Speleofest we were at the parking spot,and suited up for the quarter mile walk to the cave. The group this time wasmixed - Windy City Grotto cavers, Kentucky cavers, a girl from Vermont, andnumerous others - probably 20 people ended up being in the cave at any onetime. The cave was a major saltpeter mining site, and prior to that it was amajor indian site (lots of excavations were made many years ago). The cavefeatured easy dry walking passage with some graffitti and beer cans. Six entrancesand some mazy areas made for some interesting navigation. I hung out with aKentucky caver and the girl from Vermont, and the three of us saw nearly all ofthe two mile cave. The high point of the trip came at our point of furthestpenetration, Histo Hall, where the three of us came upon a colony of more than6000 Myotis clustered on the ceiling. Our presence caused them to take flight(and, simultaneously, urinate all over us!) in a huge swirl of bat wings,screeches and fluttering. It was very, very exciting - I can't begin todescribe the experience, but none of the three of us would have missed it foranything*. Some of the bats (a few thousand) scattered down passage, whereother cavers encountered them. On our way out of the cave, one person found aperfect 2 inch long arrowhead.
That evening featured banquet, guest speakers (with a slide show by well-knowncave photographer John Van Swearingen), and a fine door-prize drawing thatinclude a Petzel Mega, a Pelican case, and 275 feet of rope. Of course, Ididn't win a thing in spite of the pretty good odds. Later that evening Iparticipated in a cave dig that was within walking distance of the Speleofestsite. We never broke into big passage, but had a fine time hauling rocks out ofhole blowing cold air.
Monday morning we finally got our obligatory heavy rain, just in time for allour gear to get totally soaked prior to packing the car. Then came the drivehome. I ended up driving 920 miles over the course of the weekend, but Iwouldn't have wanted to miss all the fine caving and socializing!

*Note: A couple weeks later, I talked to John MacGregor - a bat guy with DanielBoone National Forest - he told me that what we had seen was a known Gray Batcolony, and Payne Cave should not have been featured at Speleofest. I wouldn'thave gone to the cave if I'd had that information.

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CREVICE CAVE by Steve Taylor

Touring the historic section of Crevice Cave (Perry Co., MO)
Another week up in the corn had given me a hankerin' for the rocks, hills, andcaves of Perry County, Missouri. Suzanna Doggett and I took off late Fridayafternoon on the 29th of May, 1998, and drove south for several hours, finallyarriving in Perryville after dark. Winding country roads eventually led to ourcampsite at 76, where we settled in for the night in an old barn. The nextmorning, we drove into Perryville and met other cavers (Cindy Lee [LEG], GaryResch [LEG], Richard Young [SEMO Grotto, LEG]) at the Parkette Restaurant.After breakfast, Gary, Richard, Suzanna and I headed over to the HistoricEntrance of Crevice Cave (Missouri's longest cave at over 28 miles). We gearedup, and Richard unlocked the substantial gate. The entire trip was spentexploring the first mile (the 'historic section') of the cave at an oftenleisurely pace. We took plenty of time to look at bugs, salamanders, rocks andsuch. We stopped often to admire the nice formations or to take pictures. Thereare several fairly exposed traverses, which seemed more exposed than they firstlooked, thanks to slick mud from recent flooding. I had never been in thisentrance to Crevice, but it was certainly worth the wait. Hours (and 2 miles ofcaving) later we emerged to greet the late afternoon blue skies. Back to theParkette for dinner. Gary then took off for home, and Suzanna and I drove southto Richard's house where we had the honor of getting to see one of hisexcellent slide shows. Then we drove back to 76 for another night in therolling karst hills of Perry County. On Sunday, we cut across to Illinois,stopping by Modoc Rockshelter and then Fults Saltpeter Cave (Monroe Co., IL)for more photo opportunities before heading home. An excellent weekend - Istill have sore muscles from Crevice on Monday morning!

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On the morning of the 17th of May, I met Genie Schropp (LEG) in Waterloo,Illinois and we drove west into Missouri (with only a minor diversion off ofour intended route). By noon, we were in Rolla, just in time to miss theMissouri Speleological Survey meeting. We chatted with the heatedspeleopoliticians as they came out of the meeting, then everyone drove out oftown to a nice park in the country for a picnic that was supposed to be forpeople who helped with NSS convention. There was plenty of food, and moochingetiquette required that we show up and help eat and drink beer, even if wedidn't do a whole lot at convention. It was a beautiful day, and all ate well.Joe Walsh showed some slides, and Rob Tayloe got some graduation presents. Itwas nice to have some time to talk with the various Missouri cavers. Genie andI wanted to go in a cave, so we got directions to nearby Hog Pen Cave from RobTayloe. The usual, go down the road, turn here, turn there, park by thetrailer, hike down the draw, you can't miss it. Rob's directions were fine,with the minor detail that the trail we were supposed to park by no longerexisted, and a cable across the road blocked the route to the parking spot. Wedecided that the change in circumstances called for a trip abort, especiallysince we were in someone else's caving turf.

Instead, we drove east to Meramec State Park, where we camped with huge hoardsof people from St. Louis. Our immediate neighbors were the worst of the lot -they seemingly could not conceive of life without a radio station, and blaredout tasteless music late into the night through a tiny radio featuring poorreception and bad acoustics. We finally asked them to turn off the radio at10:30 pm. Later in the night, I was awakened by the sound of one of theselovely people vomiting - too much bud light I guess. Anyway, before dinner, wehiked off in the darkness in search of Sheep Cave, which I had been to somefive years earlier. It was widely scattered dark, and we didn't find the cave.

The next morning, we were greeted by a bunch of 13-year cicadas (Brood XIX, ifyou care), which were crawling up trees, grasses, the tent, just whatever theycould find, and emerging from there nymphal skins. After a tasty breakfast, wewalked over to Indian Cave, which is really not to bad considering itsproximity to gobs of citified campers. We hiked around a bit before breakingcamp, visited the gated entrance to Fisher Cave, then went over to Sheep Cave,which I found almost immediately. Its amazing how easy it is to find a cavewhen you can see. Sheep Cave is bigger than Indian Cave, and makes for a veryeasy tourist trip in surface cloths. We toured the entire cave and took morepictures.

Next stop was a 'real' cave, Hamilton Spring Cave (not too far from HamiltonCave and Hamilton Spring). For this cave, we put on real cave gear. Duckingthrough the small funnel-like entrance, we were immediate in a largeroom/passage. We poked about, letting our eyes adjust to the darkness, thenheaded further into the cave, squinching through sticky wet mud and admiringthe pretties. A few stoopwalks and a crawl or two later, we were at the edge ofa large, sticky, wet mud field that spanned the width of the passage. After afalse start, we worked our way into the boot-sucking mud (knee deep in places),and managed to cross over to a breakdown pile without any serious problems. Afew more stoops and crawls brought us to the end of the cave. On the way out,we stopped for more photos of the formations. We washed up a bit at HamiltonSpring in the sunshine before loading back into the car.
The drive back to Illinois was marred by a traffic accident somewhere up aheadof us that had the interstate traffic reduced to a very slow crawl. We finallywere able to ditch the interstate for backroads, and made it back to Waterlooin good spirits. Here we parted ways, and I drove another three hours back tomy home here in the corn desert.

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