After a chaotic assembly at OTR, a mammoth convoy to the parking lot, a lot of heartache about which cars would be left at the parking lot and 20 minutes of confused sorting out cavers and entrances once in Taylor Run, I was able to assemble 9 cavers (myself, Dave Crenshaw and his son Chris, MaryAnn Robbins and her son Ken, Rocky ?, Norm ? from Central Connecticut Grotto, Dave ? and an unknown female novice (from New Hampshire) for the first tourist trip open to the general caving community into Across the Gulch Cave, one of Taylor Run's friendliest caves. Devin had advertised this trip as "for the arm chair caver. Nothing more obtuse in this cave than a low entrance and a little boulder hopping. Other than that it's 1800 feet of high ceilings and wide walls. As friendly as Sinks of Gandy and 99% drier, you have to work hard to get uncomfortable in this cave."
|Well, we didn't quite get that... Dave almost lost his jeans in the entrance crawl (after which he remarked "now I know why you cavers wear coveralls"). Everyone seemed to enjoy the large trunk passageway, but once we got to the hands-and-knees crawl that bypassed the stream passage (one of the nicest crawls I've ever done, with pillow-soft mud) the complaining began about the trip being tougher than advertised. The climbs along the stream passage beyond the bypass were challenging for the more novice cavers, and only 2 people elected to follow me through a semi-tight spot to a passage leading to the Holly Cow room while Dave took the rest down the main passage. After looking at the climb to the Holly Cow room, we rejoined the rest of the group in the main passage and looked at a nice dome.|
|Dave, who was getting irked about the continuing whines, then mentioned that the [Double Bridge Dome was] impressive and that he thought they might be down a low passage off to the left. He then led the group down into a sewer passage that fairly quickly became a hands and knees crawl through sloppy mud before petering out into a mud maze. We decided that it didn't go and slopped back to the main passage, where Dave announced that, oops, the double domes were right there...|
|We poked around the Double [Bridge Dome] for a few minutes, after which I took those that wanted up into the Holly Cow room. Dave led the rest back to the entrance using the same route that we took coming in, while I took three other cavers up the stream and ended up at the high bypass at the far end, with a challenging climb for the more novice caver.|
|We exited the cave after about 3 hours, and I showed the others the Middle Finger dig and Smashed Finger entrance on our way back to the car. Back at OTR, everyone said they enjoyed the trip although it was more challenging than they had expected.|