bplist00__WebMainResource_ _WebResourceTextEncodingName_WebResourceData^WebResourceURL_WebResourceMIMETypeUUTF-8O_Near Normal Grotto

May 2000 Near NormalNews

Jim Jacobs

Welcome to the May issue of the Near Normal News, which coincides with the Maymeeting of the Near Normal Grotto, except that because of Memorial day, the Maymeeting actually takes place in June. Just like the November meeting takesplace in December. Hm-m-m! Just how do we actually keep people unconfused longenough to get to meetings at the same time?
We're off to a good start on our program of scheduling more group cavingadventures. Lara Storm organized the yearly trip to Wayne's Lost, and thingswent off without a hitch. (We are going to miss Lara when she goes off tograduate school)! More details on this Wayne's adventure can be found in mytrip report later in this issue.
Larry Bird's presentation at the last meeting was a bundle of news, and nomistake! He is now the BlackBall Mine Site Interpreter, and Project Directorfor the LaSalle County Historical Society. There will be lots of interestingconservation projects that we can participate in. There's a lot of history upthat way, and the BBM is like a very friendly cave. Please add Larry's emailaddress as: CanalBird@aol.com.

· TROY SIMPSON reviews the CamelBak water carrier
· A prominent caving area is deeded to the state ofTennessee
· STEVE TAYLOR has done more caving and tells all. Mapsgalore!
· JEFF WALASZEK reports on the Equality Cave cleanup
· The infamous DR. BEANER strikes again
· More Echoes from President JULIE ANGEL
· JIM JACOBS makes an uncomfortable discovery
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March 24, 2000

Called to order by President Julie Angel. Present: Jim Jacobs, Earl Neller,Troy J. Simpson, Tim Sickbert, Brett Bennett, Len Storm, Lara Storm, DaveCarson, Matthew Carson, Beth Reinke, John Schirle, Ben Moss, Barb Capocy, SteveTaylor.

OFFICERS REPORTS: The minutes of the February meeting were approved as printedin the NEWS. David Carson delivered the treasurer's report. Approved
OLD BUSINESS: Julie A. reported that we have no reporting obligations for theI.R.S. There was general applause.
NEW BUSINESS: Julie A., Beth R., and Steve T. want to organize a trip theweekend after labor day (Sept. 8-10), to the Meramec/Onandaga area. We did thisone a few years ago, and had a great time! Lara S. announced an April 15th cavecleanup in Equality Cave (S. Ill) sponsored by the Little Egypt Grotto. Earltalked about the MVOR, May 19-21, sponsored by the Ozark Highland grotto.Thanks to Lara for organizing the trip to Wayne's. Brett B. announced that hisdaughter is getting an award at the Illinois State Museum for an essay on waterquality. Tim Sickbert's corrected email address is, tsckbrt @abelink.com.
TRIP REPORTS: Wayne's. general discussion about methods of dealing with thecave, such as elbow and shin pads. Steve and Julie went to Leonard SpringsNature Park, Shirley Springs Cave and others, and did some survey. Julie andBeth did a school presentation at Robeson Elementary at science night. Theyused posters, cavebooks, slides, and the cave squeeze box. Steve's research iswinding down a bit. Marc T. went with him last time.
UPCOMING TRIPS: NSS convention in June, Speloeofest in KY. Mammoth Cave, April22 (Easter weekend). Lara is still talking about a trip to Shaft, Greeneyeetc., with possible vertical practice the weekend before. Adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Jacobs
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April 28, 2000

Called to order at 7:20 by President Julie Angel. Present: Lara Storm, JimJacobs, Larry Bird, Dave Carson, Beth Reinke, John Marquart, John Walther, EarlNeller.

OFFICERS REPORTS: The minutes of the March meeting were read by Jim J. Approvedafter one correction by Earl Neller. Treasurer Dave Carson did not have a fullreport prepared, but stated that we have a balance of $374.30. He will providea full report to be published in the next NEWS.
OLD BUSINESS: The revised by-laws have been received from the lawyer. Moved andseconded that we adopt. Carried. Lara reported on the ISS meeting (subbing forJohn M). John is looking for someone to replace him as our delegate. She alsoreported on the cleanup trip to Equality Cave. Lots of string. Much more to do.
Larry Bird reported on the situation at the Blackball Mine. He is now the SiteInterpreter and Project Director for the LaSalle County Historical Society.They will be doing shoring up and graffiti removal. He had a scaryconfrontation with hunters. He may have been shot at. He helped in gettingthree people arrested with drugs and guns. They have arrested some 4-wheelers.The State has cut some trees across the paths. They will bring in coal mineinspectors, maybe start tours someday. Lots of projects coming. He brought adisplay that he made of very old bottles that he found in the field where theBlackBall Mine Hotel used to be in the mid-1800's. He also had some oldpictures with it. The old car that covered the shaft is now down in it.
Julia talked about Norm's email letter about the Mammoth project. Any time oneis scheduled, everyone is invited.
TRIP REPORTS: Lara and Steve went to Running Bull Cave in Perry County, MO tocollect some critters. John W. took ISU students to Ill. Caverns. Adjourned.
Lara S. gave an excellent presentation on Volcanism and the formation of lavatubes.

Respectfully submitted,
Jim Jacobs
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Julie Angel

Hi Near Normals,
I can't believe it's May already!! Where is the year going? I wanted to passalong a few reminders for upcoming activities and encourage you to be thinkingabout other activities you'd like to see the grotto take part in:

CHANGE IN MAY MEETING DATE: Our May meeting will take place Friday, June 2nd,at the bank. The date was changed this year due to the fourth Fridayconflicting with Memorial Day weekend (and Speleofest!). Jeff Walascek hasvolunteered to organize a fall trip to Devil's Icebox, Columbia, MO, so we'llneed to gather together the names of those who are interested ASAP. A permitmust be obtained from the state park superintendent - and should be applied forsometime in June.

A committee was formed at our March meeting to plan a Fall trip to theMeramec/Onondoga Cave area in Missouri, September 8-10th, 2000. We'll bediscussing details at upcoming meetings, so come get the scoop. We'reenvisioning a trip similar to one that our grotto took with Mark Twain Grottoto that same area several years ago. There were canoe trips, rappellingpractice, cave trips, and I understand some pretty darn good story and joketelling around the campfire! So mark your calendars and Beth, Steve and myselfwill keep you posted during the planning stage. We do plan to invite Mark TwainGrotto to join us!!!

VOLUNTEER NEEDED- NEAR NORMAL ISS REPRESENTATIVE: John Marquart hasenthusiastically served as the Near Normal representative to the IllinoisSpeleological Survey for the past several years, and has asked for a muchdeserved break from these duties. It is important that our grotto remainconnected to ISS for a variety of reasons. ISS makes decisions about cavepolicies throughout the state and we want to have our vote count in thedecision making process as much as any other grotto. SO, we are in need ofanother person who is willing to attend two meetings a year (I believe they areusually on Sunday) to represent the grotto. Please contact me or give John acall to find out more details about being the rep. ISS just had a meeting, soyou wouldn't need to attend another ISS meeting until Fall. Please help us out!

MAMMOTH CAVE RESTORATION FIELD CAMPS - Norm Rogers would like to remindeveryone that the weekend and weeklong camps are open to anyone who would liketo participate in the ongoing Echo River project at Mammoth Cave National Park.You can contact Norm via our grotto website by accessing the Restoration Campsite. Summer Restoration Camp will be held August 6-12th. I believe there arestill spots available. If you've never attended camp, be sure to do so! It's agreat experience and you'll make lifelong friends with other cavers whilehelping out in the longest cave in the world!

Thanks to everyone for the great meeting attendance we've had and to those whohave given programs!!! We have very talented, knowledgeable people in ourgrotto!!!

Cave softly,


Caving Calendar Dates:

May 19-21, 2000 Spring MVOR at the Hulston Mill Historical Park in Dade County,MO; hosted by Ozak Highlands Grotto. Website:http://members.aol.com/OHGhome/mvor.html

May 27-29, 2000 Speleofest hosted by the Louisville Grotto at Camp Carlson,Meade County, KY. Contact: Glen Driskill at (270) 862-4054 or e-mail:ddriskil@etown.k12.ky.us. Preregistration online at:www.caves.org/grotto/louisvillegrotto/speleofest/

June 26-30, 2000 NSS Convention in Elkins, WV

September 8-10, 2000 Near Normal Grotto trip to Meramec/Onondoga Cave area, MO

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GearReview: CamelBak Hydration System
Troy J. Simpson

After my first trip into Wayne's Lost Cave, I decided that there has to be abetter way to carry my drinking water. Water bottles do a good job in the largewalking passageways, but can cause a great deal of grief when negotiatingthrough The Crawlway. About a two years ago I spotted the CamelBak HydrationSystem at a local sporting goods store. It was on the clearance rack and Ithought to myself that it would be an easy way to carry water when I go hiking.I purchased the system for about $20, which included a small bag containing arubberized bladder that straps to your back, outlet hose, and mouthpiece. Thebladder holds about 50 ounces of any liquid, either hot or cold. The mouthpiecehas a "bite-release" valve that regulates the amount of flow from thebladder and prevents the accidental leaking of water through the hose when notin use. The hose can be conveniently clipped on clothing for easy access.
I first tried out the CamelBak while out in Colorado hiking along the FrontRange. I found the outlet tube a very convenient way to have a drink withoutstopping to reach for a water bottle. This past August, I decided to try itwhile leading a group of junior highers through Endless Cave and see whateffect it would have. Once again I found the convenience of not reaching for awater bottle to be extraordinary. So far, so good! Now the real test was athand. How would the CamelBak hold up in the 1500' crawlway of Wayne's Lost?
After my last encounter with "The Crawlway" and the difficulty ofreaching water bottles while in the passage, I thought this would be a perfectplace to try the CamelBak. I had just purchased a replacement bladder that hada capacity of 70 ounces and a clip for the outlet hose. I entered "TheCrawlway" with the CamelBak on my back and soon was tested as I negotiatedthrough the "Torpedo Tube." This would mean the CamelBak would bescrapped repeatedly along the ceiling resulting in the very real possibility ofbeing soaked by a tear in the bladder. While attempting the "Why the 'H'Squeeze," I found that the outlet hose became a very handy way to get arefreshing slurp of water. With the bladder positioned on my back, my balancewas not compromised and I had greater freedom of movement while in largerpassages moving up and down breakdown. The bite-valve release hose did its jobin allowing easy access to the water when I needed it and there were no leaks.After returning to the surface, I examined the CamelBak and found that thebladder was in great condition, no tears, no leaks. Success!!
In summary, I found the CamelBak to be a convenient way of carrying drinkingwater. The outlet hose and bite-release valve were a very effective way toregulate the water flow and prevent leaks out the hose. I have found the waterbladder very durable, and the convenience of carrying it on my back allows meto negotiate tight passageways without being worried about readjusting bottleson my belt. The large capacity assures me plenty of liquids during longer tripsand the bladder collapses flat without the worry of bulky empty water bottles.I personally will not return underground without my CamelBak.
The CamelBak can be purchased at most major sporting goods stores and outdooractivity catalogs. Bladder sizes range from 45 ounce to 100-ounce capacity.Price ranges from $16 for replacement bladders to $70 for the larger, completesystems. There are similar systems available on the market, including MSR,Platypus, and Ultimate Direction.

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Ross Cardwell (Sparta, Tennessee)

My wife and I had the honor to be invited to the Governor's Press Conference,announcing the donation of the 6000 acre gift from The Bridgestone/FirestoneCo. to the State of Tennessee, plus we got to go to the celebration whichBridgestone/Firestone held for their 100th anniversary. Thursday April 13,2000, truly was a Great Day.
PLEASE WRITE Bridgestone/Firestone and thank them for this great gift whichwill benefit all persons from Tennessee, especially cavers.
It will probably take several weeks before the property will actually be in
the hands of TWRA, so please be patient until the deed is recorded and we canfind out exactly what rules apply to using the road into the bottom of the gulfwhich comes out at the junction of Bee Creek and the Caney Fork. This road hasbeen closed for the past several months and I am sure will remain closed untilthe deed to TWRA has been recorded.
The 6000-acre gift takes in the entire gorge on both side of the river,beginning at the boundary of the 4000-acre gift and running all the way to endof the Bridgestone/Firestone Property near the Big Bottom Area.
The "Friends of Scotts Gulf", are currently building trails on the4000 acre BFCA and soon hope to have at least one segment open which will beleaving from a parking lot on the Scotts Gulf Road, then going to Polly'sBranch Falls. (There are actually 2 beautiful falls on Pollys Branch) thenleading to a beautiful pool at the Caney Fork.This trail will be between 5-6miles round trip. The other portion of the trail will start at the parking lotand lead to a beautiful overlook , which we call Oscar's Crack. I think some ofthe locals call this area "Ten Miles of Rock". This trail will alsobe about 6 miles round trip.
Thanks, Ross

Below is the press release from Bridgestone/Firestone.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 13, 2000) - In a move that will preserve thousands ofacres of unspoiled wilderness area for generations to come,Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. (BFS) announced today the donation of approximately6,000 acres of land in White and Van Buren counties to the state of Tennessee.

The gift marks the company's second major land donation to the state, bringingthe total area donated by BFS to about 10,000 acres. The combined donation, tobe called the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness, represents one ofthe largest land donations in history to the state of Tennessee by a privatecompany.

Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. Chairman and CEO Masatoshi Ono presented Gov. DonSundquist with the deed to the property at a news conference near the stateCapitol. It includes a conservation easement, to be held by The ConservationFund, a nationally recognized conservation organization. The conservationeasement restricts development on the property to ensure that its naturalbeauty and environmental integrity will be preserved.

The 6,000-acre tract of land includes a sizable portion of Scott's Gulf nearSparta. When combined with the previous donation, today's gift opensapproximately 15 miles of the Caney Fork River and its tributaries to publicaccess.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), which manages the adjacent4,000-acre tract donated to the state by BFS in 1998, will also manage thenewly donated property. While specific land use will be determined by TWRA, theconservation easement permits public use of the property for low-impactactivities such as fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and hunting. Camping,cave exploration and horseback riding will be permitted with restrictions.

"This property is truly magnificent, and we felt very strongly aboutsharing this environmental treasure with the people of Tennessee," Onosaid. "We took the property off the market several years ago because wedid not feel a private buyer could ensure that the natural beauty would be preserved.The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has done an excellent job managing thefirst gift from Bridgestone/Firestone, so we feel confident about entrustingthem with the management of a second and more substantial donation."

BFS and the state of Tennessee worked with The Conservation Fund to develop aplan that ensures this property, the previously donated tract and remainingcompany holdings in the area will be managed in an environmentally soundmanner.

"It's not every day that the state of Tennessee receives a gift of thisnature, and we sincerely appreciate Bridgestone/Firestone's generosity andcommitment to safeguarding the scenic beauty of our great state,"Sundquist said. "The company has been a major contributor to this state's economicwell-being since moving its headquarters to Nashville in 1992. The donationtoday reinforces Bridgestone/Firestone as a major contributor to Tennessee'senvironmental stability as well."

The Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness, a part of Tennessee's CumberlandPlateau, is home to a variety of wildlife - including a number of rare andendangered species. The peregrine falcon, gray bat, barking tree frog, andjewel darter are among the rare species known to live in the area.
Rare wildflowers found on the property include the Cumberland Rosemary. Theproperty is also a known habitat to wild turkey, quail, deer, timberrattlesnake, beaver, and large- and small-mouth bass.

"We salute Bridgestone/Firestone for celebrating its century of businessleadership by giving this magnificent property to the American people,"said John Turner, president of The Conservation Fund. "We are proud to betheir partner in creating this spectacular outdoor legacy in the heart ofTennessee. Current and future generations will be enriched by the breathtakingwildness and quiet wonders of the Caney Fork River gorge."

The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company (acquired by Bridgestone in 1988)purchased the property between 1970-72 for $1.2 million. Since then, Firestone,and later, Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. have maintained the combination ofmeadows, hardwood forests, pasture land, white water, scenic bluffs, unexploredcaves and mountains as private, protected land.

To commemorate today's land donation, BFS commissioned a full-color photo bookentitled "Scott's Gulf: The Bridgestone/Firestone CentennialWilderness." The book, which captures some of the colorful history ofScott's Gulf, features works from former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker, Jr., andrenowned nature photographer John Netherton. It will be available inNashville-area bookstores and at the Tennessee State Museum.

Today's gift is a part of Bridgestone/Firestone's centennial celebration. Thecompany is celebrating 100 years of Firestone innovation that began in 1900through the company founded by Harvey S. Firestone. Throughout the year
2000, "Firestone: A Legend. A Century. A Celebration." recognizes theFirestone entrepreneurial spirit that built the brand admired worldwide.

Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, theworld's largest tire and rubber company. Bridgestone/Firestone manufactures andmarkets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and house and private brand tires. Thecompany also produces Firestone air springs, roofing materials, syntheticrubber and industrial products.

[Ed. note-This issue of the Tag-Net internet email list also included adetailed history of this area. It was too long to publish in the NEWS, but I'llbe glad to email the text to anyone interested.]

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Brian Roebuck (Normandy, Tennessee)

Often times the mailbox of Dr Beaner is filled with literary treasures justbegging to be replied to. Here is but a sampling........

beaner's a wuss, sooooooo........you can talk a good game of cleanup........butcan ya eat it?!!..........I dare you to sully yourself and come to the nextcavestock and help with the stew!.....

your greatest fan,
nad yelliwt

Dear Nad,
I didn't know you and other Scandinavians (yelliwt IS a common Scandinaviansurname isn't it?) were "fans" of Dr Beaner. I didn't think Tag-Netwas circulated up there either! Glad to see you folk have a good sense ofhumor. In the bad ole days back in '98 I was one of the evil cavers that votedfor the "do not endorse" cavestock deal at SERA. At that time Ithought its' addition to the events in TAG that year would be a bit much whatwith the national convention etc. Nowadays I have nothing against cavestock andits' caving, partying, stew making, roadkill cleaning enthusiasts. I truly dothink most cavers could now care less about its possible impact on area caving.Being together in a socially stimulating way is fun! Apparently it has hadquite a positive impact and that is a very good thing.
As for me I have in past collected tons of "ingredients" for caverstew from sink holes, caves, and roadsides in my own corner of TAG (that whichlies between the George Dickel and Jack Daniels Distilleries). To date howeverI have been too much of a "wuss" to brew up a good stew/soup (stoop?)with said igredients. I tend to think that I cannot build a hot enough firewithout the use of liquid oxygen etc to properly cook such things as tires, carbatteries, beer bottles, drink machines, newspaper boxes, and old usedunderwear. But the thought does make ones' eyes water........
Perhaps I will attend a future cavestock and indulge in the stew-making frenzywith the rest of the crowd. I find that being part of a half-crazed crowdmentality on occasion is good for what ails me! I am curious about the reportsof large quantities of "wild mushrooms" dumped into the stew pot andthe resultant mass sightings of the famous "cave-boy" from theNational Enquirer publication during the next days' cave trips. Perhaps thereis some correlation here? A few cavers even spotted Elvis... Keep up the goodcleanup work with your fellow "Stockers" in future and look for asurprize appearance from yours truly at a cavestock near you!
Keep the stew warm and say "howdy" to sven and bjorg for me too eh?You Scandinavians just crack me up! I now consider myself "dared" butyet to be "sullied",

Dr Beaner

· * *
Will the Real Dr Biner Please Stand Up!

Dear shemp,
How's Curly and Larry doing? Interesting question you pose. You are not thefirst to have such thoughts however. The real Dr Biner is none other thanformer TAG caver Mark Richardson who now lives far far away in the land ofArizona. He left us with a great void to fill. Tag-Net cavers, used to a steadydiet of satire to ease the pain and suffering of Tag-Net flame wars cried outfor Dr Biner after his sudden disappearance (some blame alien abduction - wellOK - I do!). But alas for his own reasons Dr Biner would never again grace thescreens of our PCs with his wit and helpful words. It was a desperate timeindeed. But then out of the dusty creases of my aging cranium a new characterwas born. Molded in the strictly satirical,illogical, and sometimes bizzarreform of the former Dr Biner came his successor - Dr Beaner (Dr Biner was mymentor)! The exceptionally bright among you will be quick to point out thatthis new character actually spells his name differently than did Dr Biner! Thusit is logical to assume that the real Dr Biner is still the same MarkRichardson now out west somewhere with the coyotes and cactus. I am uncertainshemp if you are attempting to pass yourself off as one of the three stooges ordid you simply forget to capitalize the s in Shemp? Will the real Shem....Nahhhh - I digress..
As the new self appointed Dr Beaner I have had many questions directed to meabout if I am the same Dr Biner or someone else etc. For the record - I amsomeone else! The mystery is solved. Many more have emailed me and had fun (asI do) poking fun at some of the things we as cavers do or say from time totime. So far nothing negative (that in itself is quite un-nerving) has beendirectly sent to me. I am hoping that is because most of you know this is allin the spirit of humor and not so good taste. It is good to laugh at ourselves.It can even be better to laugh at others (but they might get mad so becareful)! Be warned - I will use your comments, observations, emotionalresponses, the Farmers Almanac, etc and my own warped sense of reality togenerate these Tag-Net tidbits of satire. You can read and enjoy them in thefun sense that they are written or you can print them out and make your owncave burritto. Your choice. In any case Dr Beaner wishes all of Tag-Net thebest and will continue to wreak havoc upon the keyboard in the forseeablefuture.

"the real" Dr Beaner

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(Three More Small Caves)
Steve Taylor

Union County, Illinois

Brad Hibdon told us about a cave down in Union County (southern Illinois) in1994, and we decided it sounded just too weird -- we had to check it out. So,on the 10th of December of that year, we went down to survey the cave. Bradfound it without much trouble, though it can be difficult to locate theentrance (especially when the grass is high). Our survey crew was composed ofme, Brad, Owen Callahan, and Jean Krejca. Jean sketched, as usual, while Owendid instruments and Brad and I amused ourselves with relatively mindless tapeduties. The entrance is a low opening on a section of limestone exposed by aroad cut. A dry crawlway soon hangs a left, where it taunted us with actualwalking height passage. At the next turn (to the west again), there are some formations,and a little water enters the cave. Heading straight into the hill for someforty feet, we soon left the brief walking passage behind, and had to resort tostoop walking (again in dry passage), that soon gave way to crawling at thenext turn, and belly crawling at the next turn. Great cave huh? At least it wasdry! Here we were, 100 feet from the entrance, but we could still hear thehighway traffic. At first we thought the noise was coming from in front of uswhere there was a free-climbable pit - we named the pit 'roaring chasm' afterthe traffic noise that it seemed to amplify. Shortly after the pit, the passagebecomes a flat-out belly crawl that soon ends in an old (dry) flowstone plug.End of cave.
The first 60 feet of passage was decorated with small popcorn on the walls, andin some places we could see blastoids and crinoids (fossils) embedded in therock. A visual faunal survey resulted in the following list of critters:Thysanura (Bristletails), Ceuthophilus (Cave Crickets), Collembola (Springtails),Culicidae (Mosquitoes), Chilopoda (Centipede), Araneae (Spiders, including Metamenardi and one other species), Gastropoda (Snails), and several nestsapparently belonging to mice. Given it's proximity to the highway, there wasvery little graffiti and trash in the cave. The cave is clearly jointcontrolled, and represents a 'fossil' trunk passage, probably related to somekarst features (sinks and a spring) located elsewhere on the same hill. Thesurrounding area may yet yield more caves.
The weirdest thing about this cave it that it packs all of this excitement intoa road cut that is in a highway median. The entire cave is between thenorthbound and southbound lanes! We were a little concerned that the policewould stop by to check out our apparently abandoned car. Or worse, some of ourparty had suggested that the police might know of the cave and come in withguns drawn! As far as I know, this is the only cave in Illinois that is locatedin a highway median.

Johnson County, Illinois

I really don't remember the survey trip (1993) too well - I do remember thatOwen, a junior high student at the time, was very excited - it was his firstsurvey trip. The entrance is in a large sink on the top of the hill, west ofthe road. At the time of our visit, there was a large tree that had fallen alittle ways in front of the cave. a small opening at the base of a low rockledge leads into a wide crawlway. We surveyed west first, over the freeclimbable 'Pipistrellus Pit', through a very tight constriction into anothersmaller room with a small pit. There is a lead here that might require a smallchild (and parents with poor judgment) to push. Or one could wait thousands ofyears - perhaps it will grow. From the entrance toward the east, the passage isincreasingly floored by breakdown, and becomes narrow and awkward. Turning leftafter a small pit, a downward sloping floor brought us to the bottom of a smallpit, with two lead high. The eastern lead didn't go at all, and the northwesternlead led off as a low crawlway which soon pinched. This cave is primarily ofinterest due to its geographic relationship to the nearby Mason Caves. Thetotal vertical extent is about 25 feet.

Johnson County, Illinois
An afternoon in the late spring of 1993 found Jean Krejca and I seeking outTeal's Cave in the hills of southern Illinois. We found the landowner and,after some conversation, we were shown to the cave, which is located high on awest-facing slope.
We first entered through the more northern 'Teal's Entrance', where a tight,awkwardly steep crawlway leads into a triangular-shaped room, largely filled bya single block of stone. At the south end of the room, two small, but humanlypassable, openings provide a view (from 30 feet up) of a relative largechamber. We opted for easier access to that chamber by exiting the cave, thenentering it via the more southern 'Teal's Slit Entrance'.
A climb down just inside this entrance leads into a moderately long, mainlybreakdown-floored, passage. A couple of side leads to the west terminate inbreakdown where they intersect the side of the hill. To the north, the passagecontinues to a 30-foot drop down into the large chamber we had seen via theother entrance. We rigged the drop with a 75-foot rope, as we had to go back aways to find a trustworthy breakdown block to tie off on. At the time of ourvisit, there was a rusted chain and pipe ladder in place, which Jean usedwithout incident on the way out. I opted to use our rope instead. There is afair amount of popcorn on the north and south walls of the large chamber. Tothe west, the breakdown floor rises steeply before ending as the other passageshad.
An upper, eastern passage leads off of the large chamber as a crawlway, alsoending in breakdown. Below this crawlway is a tight belly crawl accessiblethrough several small holes in the floor of the bigger passage. This crawlwayis cobble-floored, with a small stream seeping along through it. This passagesoon gets too low - though a dig might be used to extend it. This is thedeepest part of the cave (52 feet below the entrance). Another clay-flooredpassage, somewhat intermediate in elevation between the two preceding crawls,heads south off of the large chamber, but it ends in clay fill.
As I recall, we exited the cave well after dark, and were greeted by aspectacular display of stars and the howls of coyotes in the distance.

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15 April 00
Jeff Walaszek

I pulled off the gravel road into the grass parking area surrounding the woodenrun-down church building - the site of our meeting place for the third annualcleanup of Equality Cave hosted by Little Egypt Grotto. The Illinois Gazetteeris a wonderful publication I thought, thinking of the five-mile drive down theunnamed gravel roads with numerous turns and jogs that I took to get here. Itwas a little confusing, but I made it.
Gary Resch from the Little Egypt Grotto was sitting on the tailgate of hispickup truck and became the impromptu welcoming committee for earlybirds. TenAM was the meeting time for participants. Les and Debbie arrived shortly afterme followed by Sherri in duststorm created by her white, soon-to-be-dusty carspeeding along the bumpy, gravel road. The cleanup cavers were slowly beginningto arrive. Greetings and introductions were quickly exchanged -- along withstories of wrong turns and confusion trying to find our meeting place. Even thelocal Grotto members struggled to find the landmark Church. I now didn't feelso bad about my earlier confusion.
While we waited for the others to arrive Les and Gary got me up to speed on thecondition of Equality Cave. Exploring and partying in the cave is a rite ofpassage for area youths. The use of the cave to party is well known among thelocal residents. Les mentioned on one earlier cave cleanup a curious residentsaw the group getting ready to enter the cave and asked if they were heading upthere for a drug party.
The visitors leave their mark via spray paint on the walls of the numerousmaze-like passages leading to the "party room" located deep into thecave. Inspired by Tom Sawyer, they leave a trail of string to find their wayback out of the cave. The numerous strings left behind get tangled together andmixed into the mud to form a fishnet-like obstacle stretching across the cavefloor.
Over the years the impact of these visits on the cave has become basis for theannual cleanup by Little Egypt. The visitors leave the strings after theydepart¼along with an assortment of cans, bottles, spray paint cans, and otheritems. Les mentioned that during one year cleanup participants hauled amattress out of the party room.
This year's cleanup was to focus on removing the hazardous strings along withthe cans and bottles. Last year's effort to remove the paint off the cave wallswith water and brushes was futile and wasn't to be attempted this year. Soundslike a better approach or new technology is needed. Ideas, anyone?
Jeff, the organizer of the trip from Little Egypt Grotto, soon arrived followedby a group of six volunteers from a Carbondale youth group to help on thecleanup. We quickly organized our gear and began our half-mile uphill hikethrough the woods to the cave entrance. I left my brush and water bottle in thetruck since no one seemed too enthusiastic about scrubbing rock walls. Butthanks to Steve's Taylor's informative e-mail I was armed with sheet metalshears to take on the task of removing the string webs from the cave. Yes,Steve, I actually read your message and brought what you suggested we bring.
We broke up into groups and began the work of sorting and hauling trash.Budweiser and Bud Light seemed to be the beer of choice among area youthsjudging from the large number of discarded cans that filled our trash bags. Lesand I began the tedious work of disentangling the webs of string along severalpassageways to the party room. Others continued on into the party room to startpicking up trash there, working back out to the entrance.
The shears worked great in cutting through the numerous strings which allseemed to be anchored at the same point. Obviously, the cave visitors followedthe techniques of others in laying down their lines. Removing the morecomplicated string webs took as long as 30 minutes as you had to track downtheir entire lengths pulling them through the mud which enveloped them andoften disentangling them from rocks throughout the passageways. It was tedious,but relaxing, mindless work - a nice change of pace from the weekly chaos ofthe office.
The cave itself was an interesting collection of several narrow, maze-likeroutes from the entrance to the party room. It was sad to see the abundance ofgraffiti that line the walls everywhere you looked, marring the natural look ofthe cave. At least we were getting the trash and strings out of here and thatwould help.
After about an hour and a half or so of work, Les and I joined the othersoutside the cave entrance for a break. We threw our four bags of trash on thecollection of black trash bags beginning to pile up. As we joined the group Isaw Lara Storm and Cindy from the Little Egypt Grotto who had joined the groupas the cleanup was in progress and were now taking a break. Following lunch weall went back for another cycle of picking up cans from small nook and cranniesand wrestling with the mud-drenched string wads lining the floor.
After another two hours of work we all regrouped outside at the cave entrance.On the walk out of the cave we noted the fruits of our efforts for the day ashardly saw any trash anywhere. Les and others from Little Egypt mentioned theyhadn't seen the cave so clean in a long time. The spoils of the day were over25 trash bags of garbage. Carrying the trash bags down the trail was achallenge as many of them were beginning to tear from the rough edges of thetrash inside. But we got all the bags down without re-depositing the trashalong the trail. We all went home with a sense of accomplishment of having madea difference in one cave.
Now if we can only figure out an easy way to remove spray paint.

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February 2000
Steve Taylor

On Friday the 18th, I took off for several days of caving in Indiana. I spentthe afternoon driving to Mitchell, Indiana, where my reward was the goodcompany of Steve Lockwood and Kriste Lindberg. The next day was an HoosierNational Forest/Indiana Karst Conservancy Karst Inventory Project workday. Wewere to go into the forest and assess the karst resources of an area. Indianacavers Kevin Peters and Jerry Litaker showed up and we looked at topo maps andlists of caves. Soon, Jamie Winner showed up and we drove off to a site in theHNF where we had decided to look for caves and other karst features.
We parked in a wooded valley in Orange County, and hiked upstream, checking outevery little feature along the hillsides on each side of the valley. About tenminutes later, I saw a spring issuing from the hill, and trotted over todiscover a cave! The others soon gathered there to admire the opening, whichwas just above the spring. I slid on my belly, head first into the beckoningblackness of booming virgin borehole. Okay, it sounded good, so I just had towrite it. Really it was just a dimly lit, somewhat wet, hands and knees crawl -but it was virgin! Soon, Jerry, Jamie and I were mapping virgin phreatic tube.Shortly, we had racked up about 40 feet in 6 shots - the cave was done. I addedsome bioinventory notes by shouting them out to Kriste who was recording themon paper, and we had a photo session at the entrance. Much to Jerry'sirritation, I claimed discoverer's rights, and named the cave Jerry's Jewel.Jerry, being a very seasoned caver did not view the cave as a jewel at all, andof course everyone was teasing him about his jewel(s).
About the time we finished all this off, Jeff Frazier and his dog Molly, showedup to join us in our efforts (but too late for that cave!). And as we weresurveying, Steve L. and Kevin had gone off in search of new conquests. The restof us continued upstream, and eventually met up with Steve L. and Kevin, whohad found a large spring which accounted for nearly half of the water flow inthe valley. Above the spring, Steve L. had found a 5 foot shaft that was gentlyblowing enticingly warm air. We all examined the small shaft, and it was clearthat several of the slimmer members of our group could fit. The problem wasthat five feet down the passage cut awkwardly under a rock outcrop at a 45degree angle, floored by a slick mud slope. Assuming one could negotiate theturn, how would you be able to get out? Several of us (self included) declinedto discover the answer to this, but eventually Jeff thought that he had coulddo it. Jeff slid down, and Jamie soon followed. They slipped down into well-decoratedpassage, and saw some 300 feet of virgin crawlway, leaving several leadsunpushed. While they explored, most of us amused ourselves by watching Mollydemonstrate her retrieval skills. Jeff and Jamie extricated themselves from thehole covered in mud. It was determined that this cave was too much to map thatday, so we left it for a future trip. In keeping with the pattern set at thefirst cave, Steve L. named this one Kriste's Cave.
Meanwhile, Kevin and Steve L. had again forged ahead to search for more leads.The rest of us eventually followed, and we found a number of interestingsprings along the way. When we caught up to Kevin and Steve L., they reportedfinding another entrance. Of course, the rest of us had to see it, and off weall went.
Jeff and I went in to find a crawlway that went for at least 30 feet (I turnedback when it became flat-out belly crawl). Mapping of this cave will have towait until another trip. This cave was named Evil Entrance Cave (EEC).
After the above adventures, we retreated to the trucks, having bagged threevirgin caves. Feeling very full of ourselves, some of us returned to theLockwood residence outside of Mitchell to socialize and soak in the hottub forthe evening.
The next day, we were down to four cavers: Kriste, Steve L., Jeff(and his dogMolly), and me. After a leisurely breakfast, we drove off to check out arumored cave on a private farm that someone had told Kriste about. As we droveup to the farmhouse, the entrance was obviously situated at the terminus of asinking stream. We went down and took some pictures, admiring the debrisclogged water crawl. After some photos and obtaining GPS coordinates, wedetermined that the cave should wait till another day for survey, as we wereonly about 80% sure that it was new to the Indiana database. We wandered aroundthe beautiful farm for a while in the sunshine, and soon found the resurgenceof the cave. After chatting with the landowner, we moved on to the day's nextadventure (Jeff had to leave at this point).
Steve L., Kriste and I drove over to Wesley Chapel Gulf, which is a large karstwindow along the Lost River. The Gulf was in major flood and was quitimpressive. We spent a long time walking the entire perimeter, looking atplaces where the water was roaring into entrances to Wesley Chapel Gulf Cavewhich are normally well above the stream. We also poked about in the bottom ofthe Gulf, which had very recently been entirely covered with water and wasstill very muddy. In several spots there was water and air bubbling up throughthe soil beneath our feet - and in one spot it was very visibly spitting upwater and air. Some of these spots we only discovered when we could hear theground grumbling and spitting - weird! The whole place was very impressive, buthard to describe in words.
From here we drove over to another big cave, where Kriste and I donned cavinggear and went in through a dry crawlway entrance just to go down and see thevery large cave stream in major flood stage. After taking some pictures, we leftand drove over to Orangeville Rise, long thought to be the resurgence of theLost River (which actually resurges somewhat downstream of Orangeville Rise).We took some pictures of the Rise, which is owned by the Indiana KarstConservancy. Later that evening, we dined lavishly on spaghetti and meatballsat Steve L's house. Other cavers stopped by and visited for a while. Muchlater, we studied the physiological properties of Kahlua.
The next day, Monday, Steve L. had to work, but Kriste and I were game for morekarst adventures. We drove up to Bloomington to explore Leonard Springs NaturePark where Kriste does a lot of her work (as in work work - job!). A short walkfrom the parking area brought us to Shirley Springs Cave, where we paused forpictures before going down a recently constructed stairway to the entrance ofShirley Springs Shelter Cave. More pictures. Then down to the obviously -related spring, Shirley Spring. After an adventurous hike, which includedskootching across a stream on a big log, we found more springs, Waterfall Cave(more pictures), and Leonard Spring. All this took up most of the day, andthere was only time for a quick stop for Chinese food before I headed back toUrbana, Illinois.
This was a great trip, and the first time I've really realized how much cavingis readily available relatively nearby in Indiana - I expect I'll be returningthere regularly! If anyone else wants to attend HNF/IKC Karst Inventory Projectworkdays, or other IKC projects, contact Kriste Lindberg at lindberg@kiva.net -they also have a website that I'm shamelessly advertising:http://www.caves.org/conservancy/ikc/

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Jim Jacobs
March 18, 2000

PARTICIPANTS: Lara Storm, Roy Becker, Emily, Dave Carson, Jim Jacobs, JimmyForman, Ryan Forman, Troy Simpson, Marc Tiritilli, Rich Bell, Brett Bennett,Annie Bennett, John Schirle, Brian McCoskey.
You might have noticed that I didn't say "last trip", I said"final." And that's final. I've done this cave six or seven timesnow. I've come back from Wayne's stiff, sore and tired. I've been bruised andbeaten. And even enjoyed it. I've been frozen after exiting the cave (theFebruary trip). I've had caving clothes that had survived many other cave tripsbut were shredded by one time through Wayne's. After one trip, I was laid upfor the next three days with back spasms. But to this day, I believe that thetwo and one-half hours I had spent shoveling snow the day before the trip hadmore effect on my back than the caving. After each trip, I usually uttered somewords to the effect that I wasn't going to do this one anymore, or that Wayne'sis just too much work or some such. Sometimes, I even meant it. I think. Butthis time, it's different. The cave talked to me. And I got the message.
Let me explain. Wayne's is a tough cave. We all know that. It's a lot of workjust to get into the main cave. It's not like many caves with large entrances,which allow you to take short trips or long trips. The toughest part aboutgetting into Illinois Caverns is being careful not to slip on the stainlesssteel stairs on the way down. You can take a short walk or a long one. You cantake easy trips, or if you want to work hard, you can do that, too. You can getback into the crawls past the waterfall behind the lunchroom. You can spendquality time on your belly up Rimstone River, and get wet in the bargain. Youcan wade in the water or wallow in the mud. If you want to. But you have thechoice. If you've been there for a while, and you get tired, you can decide tocut it short and head out.
But at Wayne's, you start with the climb down. And you have to be careful,because it can be just a bit tricky, especially if it is a bit wet and slickthat day. The final drop is over eight feet. Down is easy. Coming back up isharder. Especially when you're pooped. And at Wayne's the "pooped"part is guaranteed. Because after the climb down, you crawl for a few feet,walk for a couple of minutes, then you hit "the crawlway" for 1500feet that seems like forever. And you have to do it twice, because it's theonly way in, and the only way out. THEN, the caving starts.
But we got down okay. We had a pretty good-sized group. Lara Storm had done afine job of organizing the trip, and I was there with two more grandsons, thistime Jimmy and Ryan. They had been caving with me before, but this time it wasWAYNE'S. I had them set up with appropriate caving clothes, boots, and lights.They were ready for some REAL caving. I was the last to enter the crawlway, anddecided to put fresh batteries in my headlight, rather than waiting untillater. This was when the problems started. I had brought two bottles of waterso that we would have plenty. After changing my batteries, I neglected toproperly close and secure my pack. So naturally, I lost both bottles in thecrawl and didn't notice. Until I got thirsty after the hot crawl. Not a goodstart. Okay, could have happened to anybody. And our friends were willing toshare. But I'm usually more careful.
It took me nearly an hour and a half to do the crawl. No, we weren't trying toset any speed records, but I didn't feel like I was going THAT slowly! The lasttrip, I was in a hurry, and had done the in-crawl in 23 minutes. An hour and ahalf? Wayne's was whispering. Scooting on your belly round the corner at theend of the crawl seemed trickier than before, but part of that problem was aninappropriate choice of kneepads. I was using the hard-shelled type used byskaters. They're very good in some ways, but they can be quite slick, and don'thelp in situations when you need traction. Wearing them under my coverallsmight have solved that problem. Oh, one bright spot! I decided to try a newpair of Carhart bib overalls as a caving outfit. Of course, I had washed themfirst to alleviate some of the stiffness. They worked just fine, taking allthat the Wayne's Lost crawlway had to offer, and ready to come back for more.They were really comfy as well!
I was tired after the crawl. More tired than usual? Hard to say, but it wasn'ttoo long when Wayne's started talking to me again.
We followed the well-worn route toward Camp Two. At this point, Wayne's is amagnificent cave. It is tall and broad, with a stream, which cuts this way andthat, and lots of breakdown mountains to scramble over, (one of my favoriteactivities). After scrambling for a little while, I started stumbling, analarming signal this early in the trip. When you're getting too tired to cavesafely, you stumble. When you're at that point, it's usually time to head out,but we were still going in! We kept climbing, and were pretty close to CampTwo. We figured it was over the next rise, but luckily, I wasn't the only onewho was tired. More importantly, we were very short on water, and Jimmy'sheadlamp had failed. It was time to head out. Wayne's had spoken. Of course, wegot "temporarily off route" several times on the way back to thecrawlway. This was no big surprise, but with me stumbling and out of water, andJimmy on his backup light, we didn't have the safety margin that we wouldprefer. The good news was that we weren't alone. That's why you cave withfriends. A sip of water here and there, a hand over a rough part and anencouraging word when you need one, and all is right with the world, but thecrawlway out still loomed in our thoughts. And I was already pooped! We resteda while at Camp One before tackling the crawl. The boys were in better shapethan I was, of course. We then headed out, and it wasn't long before I waslagging behind. Yes, a couple of areas like the "Why the HellSqueeze" seemed a bit tighter that before, due to my carrying more weightthan I used to (and I don't mean in my drag bag). But people were passing me upjust about every time we stopped to rest. That's fine, but I used to do atleast some of the passing. I never could keep up with the real crawlway speeddemons like Tim Shaffer, Dave Mahon or Steve Gentry, but I could at least keepup a solid, steady pace. I was very thankful for a couple of friends like RoyBecker who stayed back with me, and urged me on with encouraging words and thepromise of a pouch of juice if I would push on just a little bit farther. I wasvery, very tired, but still "good to go". The "go" was justinterrupted by increasingly frequent rest periods. Then, the next miracle!Standing tall in the crawl ahead of me was one of the bottles of water that Ihad lost on the way in. Some kind soul, (I believe it was Jimmy) had found itand set it up where I was sure to find it. What a welcome sight! I drank some,then continued to crawl.
On the way out, Wayne's has a couple of subtle but nasty little "partingshots". One of the unpleasant sections of the crawl (there are varyingdegrees of unpleasantness) is the final hundred feet or so on the way out. It getsvery low, and you're crawling through cold, muddy water in places. Of course,this section is the first that you encounter on the way in, but hitting it onthe way out is just a little bit tougher. You just "know" that aroundthe next corner is "out", and you get around that corner, and youjust have to hit your belly and the muddy water again.
The sections of "toes and elbows" crawling is what really tires youout. You're expending a great deal of energy, but not covering very muchground. Ugh!
Then, you feel the breeze, and you're finally hoisting yourself out the hole!And the first sight to greet me was the second of my missing bottles of water,sitting there proud on the hill of mud! I drank one, and shared the second withone of my mates, and we headed for the climb out.
Oh yeah, the climb out. Great. I was already weary and beginning to experiencea cramp here and there. Well, Brett Bennett had been kind enough to install along series of slings to help folks with the first eight-foot climb. It's slick,and there's nothing to step on. I used to be able to jump and catch one of theknobs, and swing my leg up and haul myself up. Not these days! I had tostruggle with the slings, and with a bit of help from a couple of my friends, Imade it that far. That used to be the tough part. Guess again! The last sectionof the climb, slick as it was this time, and as bad as my legs were cramping,was now impossible. I used to help folks out of these climbs and would thenjust swarm out on my own in just a few seconds. This time, it took two peoplepushing from below (I think Troy Simpson was one), and a rather strong friendlifting from above to get me out. I appreciated the help very much, but I alsorealized that if I had been on my own, I would have been in a lot of trouble. Idid not relish the realization, but Wayne's had spoken loud and clear. And thatwasn't the end.
It's now been about two months since the trip, and I'm still having problemswith both shoulders, but especially the left. The "toes and elbows"scooting/crawling puts a lot of strain on the rotator cuff part of theshoulder. I've had a little problem with mine before, but had not experiencedany pain for quite a while. This effort brought back some range-of-motiondiscomfort that I hadn't felt in a number of years. I guess the combination ofa couple of a few extra years and quite a few extra pounds now dictates that Istick with caves that are a notch or two below this one. Happily, there arestill many, many interesting and fun caves that I can visit that fit thisdescription. I'm not done caving yet, but I just have to rein it in a bit.Wayne's told me so.

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