5/25/2015 – student Bio trip

Trip Leader name:  Jarrett Ellis
Trip date:  5/25/2015
Project manager:  Bill Gee
Trip purpose:  Dr. Ashley Bio Trip
Areas of Cave visited:  Convention Hall
Trip participants:  Carolyn Smith, Hailey Weber, Amin Karadaghy, Brandon Blewett, Jack Peters, Jarrett Ellis
Entry Time:  0945
Exit Time:  1615
The trip report:  Cave meet time was 0900, and when I showed up at 0850, Jack Peters and Bill Gee were parked at the school house. I figured it must be too soggy, so I pulled in there, but they said it was fine, and were waiting for the students. The students and Dr. Ashley arrived pretty close to 0900 and we all headed up the hill to the silo, where the students got geared up and ready to enter.
Bill entered the cave at around 0945, everybody was in and off rope at 1100am. Bill Gee entered first to take people off rope and Jack Peters loaded the students on the rope while I stayed up in the silo  and sent people down. I was the last one down the rope. Bill downloaded the datalogger by the ladder while waiting for the first student.
The first order of business was to make some observations of the bait stations toward Carroll Passage, followed by a tourist trip to Thunder Falls. The students all seemed to enjoy the falls. The water level did not seem abnormally high, in spite of the heavy rains the night previous.
Our ultimate destinations between the two groups were Convention Hall and Black Rock Riffles, led by myself and Bill Gee, respectively, so we had lunch near the ladder and split the group and headed to our respective destinations. My group counted cave fish, and inspected the various tile stations along the route.  Eventually, we arrived at UL2 and continued the fish count, while Bill and his group had already continued onto Black Rock Riffles. Between the ladder and UL2, few fish were spotted, but once into UL2, quite a few big fish were spotted. This has been typical in the past as well.
Once into UL2, before the first low spot, I noticed one of the students seemed to be extremely uncomfortable. After a short conversation, it became pretty apparent she was already hypothermic and  I decided to exit the cave with the student to get her warm. Dr. Ashley, familiar with the route, continued onto Convention Hall, and with Bill Gee previously scheduled to be back in UL2 to download a datalogger, I assumed they wouldn’t be by themselves long. In my absence, Bill met back up with Dr. Ashley in UL2.

After getting the student back to the ladder, I showed her how to use the ascending gear again and get set up for the climb, and she climbed out directly below me, so I could better help her off rope at the top. She was pretty happy to see sunlight again and improved quickly.

I set back down the hole and caught up with Bill Gee, Dr. Ashley, and the rest of the group in approximately the same spot I left them, near the crawl in UL2. We headed back out, and I managed to sprain my ankle on the way, so I headed back out first before the swelling set in, and helped everyone off rope at the top of the hole. Everyone was back out by around 1615.
Jarrett Ellis

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2nd report for this trip

Permit #:  1505-01a
Trip Leader name:  Bill Gee

Your Name:  Bill Gee

Trip date:  25 May 2015
Project manager:  Bill Gee
Trip purpose:  Student biology trip
Areas of Cave visited:  Convention Hall
Trip participants:  Bill Gee, Jarrett Ellis, Jack Peters, David Ashley, students
Entry Time:  9:45am
Exit Time:  4:30pm
The trip report:  Students:
Carly Robinson
Natasha Nazir
Kaitlin Gibson
Carolyn Smith
Hailey Weber
Amin Karadaghy
Brandon Blewett
Alex Vavras

This trip is the annual student trip for Dr. Ashley’s Ozark Cave Biology class sponsored through St. Louis University.  Normally we run the trip on the first Monday in June, but this year we had to move it to Memorial Day to accomodate my work schedule.

Jack and I drove down early in the morning.  We arrived at the cave about 8:15.  After unlocking the hatch and rigging the rope, we went back to the schoolhouse to wait for everyone else to show up.  Jarrett arrive about 8:50.  Dr. Ashley and his students arrived right at 9:00.  We did some brief introductions, then drove up the hill to the silo.

It had been raining steadily for several days before the trip.  Jarrett says there was not a lot of rain, but it was raining every day.  The low-water bridge near Greg Fry’s house had a standing puddle in it.  The creek bed crossing was dry and the field going up the hill was no problem even for two-wheel drive vehicles.  The pond next to the silo was full.

Everyone was dressed and ready for the cave by about 9:30.  I introduced Jarrett and Jack, then explained how we were going to handle going down the shaft.  I was the first one down at 9:45.  Jack and Jarrett worked the top to make sure everyone got on the rope safely.  Everyone was in the cave by 10:30.

We examined the bait sticks at the ladder and at the shortcut to Thunder Falls.  Everyone went over to Thunder Falls for the usual touristy stuff including photos.  The river was flowing only a few inches above normal despite the recent rainfall.  We were back at the ladder around 11:30 for lunch.

After lunch we started upstream.  Due to the size of the group, we decided to split the teams immediately after examining the first set of tiles.  I led a team of four students (Brandon, Alex, Natasha and Carly) and Jack upstream to Flat Rock Falls.  We examined the bait sticks there, then did an isopod count on the flat black rocks that give the waterfall its name.  We also examined the bio tiles at the water fall.

In the meantime Jarrett and Jack led the other team for a slower trip up the river.  They examined another tile set and hunted for fish.  They went straight on into UL2 for baseline bio survey.  After my team finished our work at Flat Rock Falls, we went to UL2 to meet the other team.  When we got there we saw that the stream was silted up which meant the other team was ahead of us.  That was exactly what we expected.

On the way into UL2 I sent the students up the slope to view formations.  After we went through the first crawl we met the other team coming back out.  One of their members had become chilled, so Jarrett escorted her back to the ladder and out of the cave.  We were close to Convention Hall, so we turned everyone back and went on.  Jarrett caught up with us as we were moving along.  He reported no issues getting Carolyn out of the cave.

At Convention Hall we examined the bait sticks.  Jack and the students all went up to the Overlook where Dr. Ashley and I took some photos.  We left for the return trip at about 3:15.  At the entrance to UL2 most of the students went up the mud slope to take in the formations.

The return trip took less time than usual.  We geared up and climbed the ladder as a group.  Everyone was out of the cave by 4:15pm.  We changed clothes, closed the cave and were heading down the hill by 5:00pm.

Dr. Ashley reported getting data on about 50 cave fish.  My team collected data on two cave fish and about 30 or 40 isopods.  Flat Rock Falls was running fast but had far fewer isopods that usual on it.

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