Germany Valley Karst Survey - Fieldhouse reconstruction

Photos From The February 2002 Work Weekend

As a result of the " Fire at the GVKS Fieldhouse ", it was necessary for cavers to come together in February for a little repair work, clean-up, and afterward, some caving. Digital cameras were working overtime and the images below capture much of the action that day. It was a full day of soul-satisfying work, capped off with a dolop of new cave discovery (all in unusually mild February temperatures).

Charles Kahn got started early cleaning out the fireplace of the chimney where last month's fire began.

This was the condition of the exterior of the house on Friday, the evening before repairs began.

The upstairs bedroom suffered the most damage during the fire. One wall was ripped out and a hole had been cut into the ceiling.

On top of that, a hole had been cut into the roof, well after the fire was completely extinguished.

Friday evening finds Tom Barton and I satisfying our curiosity about the new discoveries made in Memorial Day Cave.

Equally interested was fellow caver, Rocky Parsons.

Devin Kouts emerges from the narrow entrance to a side passage first noted by Bob Zimmerman.

Hank Ratree tries the same crevice himself.

Later in our trip we were overtaken by Ralph Hartley, clad in street clothes. He said he wanted to keep them clean, but was overcome by the pull of air in this crawl, so he pushed onward. Happily he came out with his chinos none the worse for wear.

Before exiting the cave we went to a place where Tom Barton had noticed air moving down through a crevice between rocks. We poked around at the crevice a bit and decided to come back and push it the next day.

Saturday morning started before dawn with a pancake breakfast for all, thoughtfully provided by Charles Kahn.

An early planning session followed. Note the sunshine creeping down the slopes of the hills to the west.

Sunbeams illuminate air born dust as demolition begins in the upper bedroom.

A crew gets to work repairing the hole in the roof, while another starts removing window frames in need of repair.

New framing support goes into the damaged wall...

...while David Kegley and Ben Madore trim tin to patch the roof.

Charles Kahn replaces the clean-out door on the outside of the chimney...

...while Rick Lambert mounts a new thimble to the chimney in the house's living room.

As the morning progresses, framing in the upper bedroom nears completion and is extended up into the attic.

Joanne Smith and Ralph Hartley cut and mount new glass in the windows that were smashed during the fire fight.

As the roofing team finishes their work...

...we see the better side of David Kegley.

In a scene only comically similar to the Iwo Jima flag raising, a new flue is dropped into the 99 year old chimney.

Afterward, Rick and Charles discuss how best to align and connect the flue to the thimble.

The fresh cement in the thimble required Rick and Rocky to hold the piece in place while Charles aligned the flue.

Tom Barton begins to measure for dimensions to be transfered to the panelling that will go up on the outside of the house.

Gordon records the progress with his own digital camera.

Afternoon has arrived, lunch is out of the way, and plywood sheets are going up fast. Still messing around with that flue though.

Vapor barrier goes up and Ralph mounts the new window frame in place.

Finally, the plywood sheeting is complete, and looks good.

Dark stain is applied as the sun sets. The upstairs bedroom's interior has also been panelled and then painted white. Short of some panelling for the living room, the job is largely finished by sun down.

Later that evening, after dinner, we couldn't help but go back to push the narrow crevice we'd left in the cave.

It didn't take long before we were able to squeeze through a short crawl and into this chamber, about 4 feet high and at least 50 feet long.

Beyond this first room, the passage turns into a walking height paleo stream passage. The farther we went, the higher the ceilings became. Bob Zimmerman stopped for a picture as the ceilings approached 15 feet.

At the end of the passage, Bob and Ben stand in a round room about 15 feet across. The spots in the image are dust particles suspended in the air which reflect the camera's flash.

Ralph climbs up to check a high lead that we had earlier scooped. Behind the shelf he's sitting on, a climbable pit drops 15 feet into a narrow canyon that can be followed for 75 feet.

Finally, after 300 feet of new passage, it seems to end. Ralph, however, pushes his head into a low, nasty crawl that shows a little further potential.

Miles arrives a little later than everyone else and scans the passage walls for other leads.

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