Mapping with Shurtz

Entrance pit

Dave Shurtz volunteered to lead a mapping trip to try and blow through a project as quickly as possible. After some brief delays meeting up in the morning, we all made it to the cave. Dave gave a brief overview of how mapping should work. Instruments, sketch book layout, assignments, etc. We picked our poison on assignments and the festivities began about 10:30 AM.

Dave starting sketch books

Ben and Dan quickly picked up instruments and point. I very slowly worked on profile, and will eventually appreciate the learning experience…at the time it was an exercise in frustration being the person slowing everyone down. :-) Dave played tour guide, helped everybody out, and cheerfully kept on top of the plan view as well.

Entrance from below, and old wooden ladders

At the narrow point just above where the steel ladder drops down we encountered our first bat–it flew past me, and then through the constriction and deeper into the cave next to Dave’s head. We estimated roughly 9″ wingspan, but it shot through too quickly to be certain.

Later, Jason watched a bat land on a big sloping boulder, crawl across it a few feet, and fly off again. Unfortunately my camera was not handy. Using my limited bat knowledge, I determined it was small, brown, and bat-like.(It also did not have ears big enough to be a Townsend.)

We made it through most of the cave on this trip. There is a small amount of mop up survey to finish next time, and couple small leads to still be checked for map purposes. And as advertised, dust masks were used and appreciated by everyone involved.

Dust masks
Dust masks

The cave portion of the trip was completed successfully without incident. We came back out of the dry, dusty cave into a world of rain and mud. I managed to keep my Explorer on the slick roads as we left, but occasionally more by divine intervention than any of my driving ability. Everyone safely made it back to the pavement, and headed off to other duties. The next trip to finish mapping is waiting to be planned…

Trip Leader: Dave Shurtz
On Trip: Dave Shurtz, Ben Simon, Dan Burgener, Jason Baxter

(Dave and Dan found a few other volunteers and completed the survey a few weekends later.)