10/18/09 – Change charcoal packets in Upper Thunder

Trip Report for October 14, 2009

By Ben Miller

This trip was a quick introduction trip into Carroll Cave for Art & Peg Palmer who were passing through the area on their way from Texas to New York . The day started out with a trip to Toronto Springs which had been hit hard by the previous week’s 6.5 inch rain event. At least three of our charcoal packets had been completely ripped out by the flood pulse. The springs were noticeably higher in flow than we had previously seen which made for exciting stream crossings. The water was also noticeably colder but Bob was wearing waders and Art and Peg were in wetsuits so handling the temperature was not as bad as it could have been.

After the charcoal packet changeout at Toronto we headed over to the Backdoor Entrance and suited up for a trip into the cave. After dropping down the hole we decided to go and check out Thunder Falls before heading upstream to change out the Upper Thunder charcoal packets. Right away we noticed that the water in Thunder River was up about a foot or so. But when we saw the mark we had made the previous week we saw that it was still 1.5 feet lower than it had been during the big rain event. After checking out Thunder Falls we headed upstream taking our time to check out the big beautiful borehole that is Upper Thunder, after so many trips to change out packets it is always nice to show someone new to the cave what a nice passage it is. The deeper water definitely made for some cold crossings and the trip was quite a bit chillier than normal as a result. We took a couple of breaks on the way up and were able to easily find cavefish and grotto salamander for the Palmers to check out as well. Once at UL5 we took a final break and then turned around to head out. On the way out we stopped for a quick loop through UL3 to show Art and Peg the complex maze system and get their thoughts on possible origins of the crazy maze. Once back to Thunder River we stopped briefly a few times for Art to get some nice photos of the river and Black Rock Falls . Another brief stop was at the entrance to UL2 to take a look at the gorgeous speleothem deposits. Upon arriving back at the entrance Art and Peg said they were completely amazed by Carroll and had been much more impressed with Missouri and it’s caves than they had previously thought they might be. It was nice and short trip with only about 6 hours or so spent in the cave. We exited to a nice crisp night where the rain had finally stopped enough for us to grab dinner before crashing out. All in all a great trip.

On a side note I would just like to personally thank the board of the CCC for allowing the Palmers to make such a trip and especially on such short notice. I believe that having scientist like the Palmers come and visit the cave can only benefit us in having their input as well as their interest in the cave and our efforts.

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