Memorial Day Cave Trip Report - 13MAR04
Survey Name, Au... It was solid gold parade of hits with all the songs getting stuck in Peggy's head. We entered the cave at 10:30 am with a goal of knocking off the FLAD side leads before pushing the FLAD passage forward. (A side goal was to get some pictures in this section.)
The trip in was uneventful (but many squeaks of delight where expressed in mile's mouse hole, it is great). (Thank you who ever tied out the damaged section of the 50' drop, it looked much worse than I thought in February).
So after a nice stroll to the FLAD lead we discovered we where short a watch. No big deal we would crawl out when we where hungry. Besides we had Peggy's constant I have a song stuck in my head give me a new one to sing. So we where entertained, a helmet was put out on the sidewalk, money was collected :-) It was noticed that the lip going into FLAD is a bit rough on the rope, rope pad next time?
We started with the East Heading lead at AZ3 (AU1-AU9,215'). It was a decent sized dry eastward heading walking passage that re-intersected Columbia in the ceiling above the waterfall at X58. Where our passage intersected Columbia was a lead just around the left flake (AU9) that we dubbed 'flying squirrel' because of the exposure. The 'Flying Squirrel' passage appears to be the source for the water fall. It can be best described as a crevice passage that has several big holes that go all the way down. We left it for braver souls. Looking at it from Columbia it has an uncanny resemblance to the puppet buster water fall. The main features to note in this passage are several solid mud circles on the mud floor. They ranged in size from a desert dish to a diner plate, where thin but solid and perfectly followed the contour of the mud on the floor. There was much debate on to what formed them. Pictures where taken.
We then went to the west heading lead at AZ3 (AU10-AU11,30'). It quickly ended in a soft mud dig with an inch of air. Rocks rolled in can be heard rolling down a slope. So it goes, but most likely intersects Columbia.
So off we went to the end of the AZ survey, stopping at the hole at AZ8 and debating. The passage does go, we just did not go down it. I would be willing to bet it ties into the waterfall at X61.
Between AZ11 and AZ12 we found about a half dozen sets of fine bones and tiny skulls. A skull was taken out by John for identification by a specialist who is familiar with that type of skull. No live fury creatures where observed and the bones looked very old. Pictures where again taken.
So off we went to the fork at AZ14. We chose the left fork first. The best description (AU12-AU18,156') can be summed up with head for the sky. It was obvious that we where heading up a breakdown choke for the surface. There was much surface rock in the breakdown and the usual pretty gypsum flowers and sand. Rock samples where taken. Gordon's reaction, you need to get much deeper to find any real cave. The passage ended in a breakdown ceiling choke. It shows sign of having heavy water flow in the past. Not much mud though. A flood overflow from the ravine, maybe? It would explain the bones we found, little bodies being washed in and not being able to flap back out.
We decided to call it a night, but not before seeing if we had any air movement in the right fork of AZ14. We quickly realized it was a very short borehole canyon passage that ended in a very high dome (AU19-AU21,55'). A drain in the floor between AU19 and AU20 carries the same amount of water (and heads towards) the crack in the floor at AZ10. This has roughly the same flow as the waterfall at x61. Being a dead end that we had defiled we had to survey it. Pretty shower dome.
Egress time 12:30am... Final song (from finding nemo) Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming...
Total Passage : 456'
Pictures, 96 sent to Devin (see:
Kevin Flanagan's photo album of the second survey trip
Leads left... Flying Squirrel at Au9 (potential)
Dig at Au11 (might be a fast drop to Columbia)
Hole in the floor at AZ8
Top of the dome at AZ11/10 (Low potential)
High leads in the top of the dome at Au15
Water source for Au21(?)