7/3/2018 – data collection

Trip date:  7/3/2018
Project manager:  Jack Peters
Trip purpose:  Initially for education.  Download data loggers
Areas of Cave visited:  CarrollPassage, Upstream Thunder
Trip participants:  Bill Gee, Jack Peters, Jaxson Peters, Kristen Godfrey
Entry Time:  10:20
Exit Time:  2:20
The trip report:  Originally scheduled for a group of grad students that are studying blind cave fish.  About a week before the trip, several of the students had conflicts and cancelled.
Bill was the first person to rappel into the cave at about 10:20am.  As soon as I
got to the bottom, I downloaded the barometric pressure and Thunder River data
loggers.  Kristen arrived about the time I finished those downloads.
When Jaxson got to the bottom of the ladder he was completely out of breath
and shaking so hard he could not stand up.  We gave him a few minutes to
recover, but it was not enough.  Jack decided to stay with Jaxson while
Kristen and I went down Carroll Passage to download the data logger in Carroll
River.  We left the ladder at 11:00am and returned at 11:55am.
Jack informed us that he and Jaxson were going to exit the cave.  It was not
Jaxson’s day for a cave trip.  They geared up while Kristen and I started our
lunches.  Jack and Jaxson started climbing at 12:05 and were out of the shaft
about 20 minutes later.  Kristen and I finished our lunch, then waited to make
sure Jack and Jaxson were able to finish the climb.
Kristen and I left at 12:30 for the data logger in UL2.  We arrived there
about 40 minutes later, downloaded the logger and immediately started back.
We took the river loop around the ladder and on to Thunder Falls.  We
downloaded the data logger at Thunder Falls, which completed our objectives
for the day.
Back at the ladder we geared up and started climbing a few minutes after
2:00pm.  I was out of the shaft by 2:15pm.  Since Kristen was climbing with a
cable ascender for safety, I pulled up the rope and moved it to the silo area
for Jack to coil.  When Kristen got to the top I helped her get off the cable
safely.  We closed and locked the hatch at about 2:20pm.
I tried to download the rain gauge logger before we went into the cave.  It
did not behave as it usually does.  I assumed it was because the bright
sunshine was interfering.  After exiting the cave I tried again and got the
same results.  It appeared that the logger might have a dead battery.
However, later analysis showed that a valid set of data was, in fact,
recovered from the logger.
The river level was about as low as it ever gets.  I have seen it a few inches
lower but that is rare.  We saw one fish in Thunder River and two in UL2.
There were several fresh bat carcasses near the ladder.  I turned over a few
rocks looking for isopods and found only one which was about 5mm long.  We did
not see any salamanders nor any live bats.
We saw lots of fresh sand, especially in upper Thunder River.  Analysis of the
data from the loggers shows a flood event in mid-June that went to about 2.4
feet in Thunder River.
The marked trail around the Giant formation in Carroll Passage has pretty much
disintegrated.  It needs to be rebuilt.  We noticed a number of trail marking
reflectors in upper Thunder River were missing.  A trip or two should be
scheduled to update the trail markers.