Restoration Project Trip Report
Date of Trip: 15 Nov 2008
Participants: Bill Gee (Trip Leader)
Time in: 10:00am
Time Out: 3:40pm
Areas Visited: Convention Hall and Conference Room
A few weeks before this trip I received a call from Ron Lather. He had promised Bill Pfantz he would lead a trip to Convention Hall with the purpose of checking out some possible ancient inscriptions. Ron was unable to do the trip and asked if I would lead it. I agreed and started organizing.
Two other people were already lined up. Ken Long and Brian Cook at agreed to participate, giving a total of four for the trip. Through word of mouth four more people signed on, which turned out to be a good thing because Brian Cook came down sick and had to back out of the trip. One of the other people did not show up for the trip, so we went with six.
There were three goals for this trip. First, Bill Pfantz had noticed in some photos what looked like ancient inscriptions in Convention Hall. We were going to study and photograph them carefully. Second, the trail through Convention Hall is not marked. We planned to look at it and see how it might be marked. Third, we looked for trash that could be taken out of the cave.
Since this was planned to be a fairly short trip of only 4 or 5 hours, I drove down Saturday morning. When I arrived at the silo about 8:30am, no one was there. I expected to see Suzanna, Pam and Evan camping at the silo. Bill Pfantz came over from his camper a few minutes later. I got the rope rigged in the hole and waited for others to show up.
About 9:00 Ken Long arrived. Suzanna, Pam and Evan arrived about 15 minutes later in Pam’s truck. Evan had been delayed at the airport in Denver, so they decided to not camp. Ken told me about Brian being sick.
We all started gearing up. By about 10:00 everyone was ready. The last person had not yet arrived and it was 30 minutes after our meet-up time, so we decided to go without him.
Pam had packed in a hurry and forgot her rappel rack. We arranged for her to use mine, then tie it to the rope. Bill Pfantz and I hauled it back up so I could use it.
Everyone was in the cave by 10:30. On the way to UL2 we stopped for brief rock checks looking for isopods. We only found a few very small ones. We saw three or four fish.
On the way upstream we stopped at the very big rock balanced across the stream. This was one of the spots Bill Pfantz wanted to check. He took a quick look and decided what he saw in the photos was not anything interesting. The markings were all natural.
We arrived at UL2 about 11:15. Evan checked out the formations while everyone else took a quick break.
In UL2 we saw many fish. We did not count them, but it was probably 15 or 20. We checked a few rocks for isopods and saw none. There was some flagging tape trash that we left for pickup on the way out.
When we got to the point where the path goes two ways (upper and lower), we decided to take the lower way in and the upper way out. That way we could get a comparative look to see if one trail was preferable.
We arrived at Convention Hall about 12:00. After a short sandwich break, Ken Long and I broke out cameras and started to take photos. The possible inscriptions turned out to be natural markings, so Ken and I took pictures of the group and the room in general. Ken and I each had two slave flashes. We were able to light it up very nicely. Here is one of Ken’s photographs taken from the overlook.
The bait sticks in Convention Hall have some very interesting fungus or mold growths on them. I took several photos. The mold has grown out from the two sticks in a circle about 70 or 80 cm in diameter. The circumference of the circle is marked by a white growth while the interior is black traces that almost look like tree branches. Here is a photo of the bait sticks.
After some discussion we decided that marking a trail through Convention Hall was not necessary. There are no formations to protect, and a trail would not be helpful in marking the way. It would only deface the cave for no good reason.
The group decided to take the short trip over to the Conference Room. When we got there Evan eyed a possible traverse route that would lead to the waterfall spout at the top of the dome. It looked pretty dodgy, so he threw some rocks up there. The area where they hit broke off very easily. Evan decided it was too dangerous to try.
The two bait sticks in the Conference Room show the same kind of mold growth as seen in Convention Hall. It was not as large or well defined, but still there. I did not see any critters on either set of bait sticks.
We packed up and started back out. There was not much trash – just some old flagging tape. We found a piece of flagging tape with a UL5 survey station on it which must have washed down in a recent flood.
Checking out the upper trail, we decided there is not much to recommend one route over the other. The lower trail is a bit easier, but otherwise it makes little difference. As in Convention Hall itself, there are no formations that need protection.
We were back at the ladder about 3:15. The last person was out of the cave by 3:40. Everyone got changed and we were heading down the hill by a few minutes after 4:00. Bill Pfantz stayed behind while everyone else had dinner at Senor Pepper’s.