6/2/2013 – Report from Trip to: Convention Hall

Permit #:  1306-1
Trip date:  3 June 2013
Project manager:  Bill Gee
Trip purpose:  Biology student trip
Areas of Cave visited:  Convention Hall
Trip participants:  Bill Gee, Jeff Page, David Ashley, Shelly Colatski, Amanda Johnson, Elizabeth Kasper, Bryant Tantlinger, James Buerck
Entry Time:  10:00am
Exit Time:  5:30pm
The trip report:  This is the annual Carroll Cave trip for Dr. Ashley’s Ozark Cave Biology class.  This year Shelly Colatskie was a special guest.

I drove down Saturday afternoon camped at the schoolhouse.  Bill Pfantz and I spend much of the day on Sunday doing some electrical work in the silo.  I replaced the light fixture in the basement with outdoors rated LED lamps and some new conduit.  The two flourescent fixtures in the silo are still there, but disconnected and replaced with LED lamps.  I also had to replace all of the circuit breakers in the panel inside the silo.  They were all badly corroded and only one of them still conducted current.  It is doubtful whether it would trip on an overload.

Monday morning Dr. Ashley, his students and Shelly arrived on the dot of 9:00am.  It was pretty close to perfect timing.  Tony Schmitt had planned to help out, but called me late Friday to report he had injured his back and could not make it.

After introductions, we all drove up the hill to the silo.  Bill Pfantz met us there and helped with general tasks.  As we were gearing up, Jeff Page arrived.  Jeff went down the rope first so he could help get everyone off at the bottom.  As usual I worked the top to make sure everyone got on the rope safely.  Some of the rappels went a bit slow, mostly due to a very stiff rope.

Everyone was in the cave by about 10:40.  The first thing we did was download the data loggers located at the ladder.  We then visited the bio station at the ladder and the one near the shortcut to Thunder Falls.  The “tourist” thing to Thunder Falls is always a highlight.  We were all back at the ladder by 11:30.

The river was up about 2 or 3 inches, which is not significant.  The National Weather Service monitoring station in Montreal recorded about two and a half inches of rain in the week before, but it seems to have had very little effect on the stream.

Everyone had some lunch, then we left for the trip to upstream Thunder River.  There are two tile stations in the river.  Both were visited.  We saw and documented about 10 or 15 fish.  In spite of all the cave biology work Shelly has done, she has never seen a cave fish before.

At UL2 we checked out the bait sticks and then went up to the formation viewing area.  Several group photographs were taken.  At this point we split into two groups.  I took Amanda and James with me to Flat Rock Falls to do an isopod count.  Jeff took the rest of the group into UL2 where they did a fairly complete census of critters.

The trip to Flat Rock Falls is about 15 minutes each way.  We spent half an hour examining the tiles, counting and measuring isopods, and checking out the bait sticks.  From there we returned to UL2 and caught up with the other group.  We met them just as they were going through the last crawlway into Convention Hall.  They reported counting almost 100 fish and quite a few salamanders.

In Convention Hall the bait sticks were examined.  Most of the group went up to the overlook.  We talked about going over to the Conference Room, but it was getting a bit late so we decided to skip it.  The trip back to the ladder went well.  We arrived back at the ladder a few minutes before 5:00pm.  Everyone geared up and climbed out.  The last person was out by 5:30pm.

We derigged, changed clothes and went down the hill.  I hitched up the camper and drove home.

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