We got a trip to Little Brush in, and I have been very slow in getting it up. Life was busy, caving took precedence over writing initially, and then several variations of the plague rolled through our house in rapid succession. I think we’re all going to live, so this post finally gets updated. Thanks to the magic of back dating, most of you haven’t even noticed. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I honestly only took my camera out a few times, and most of those didn’t turn out.
When we showed up at the final turn off the paved road, there was one vehicle just off the road parked on a couple inches of packed snow. So we knew we were not going to be alone in the cave that day. We looked at the packed snow leading away down the road, and all the drivers decided they were game to give it a try and save some walking. We made it up to the closer parking area, and were surprised by a crowd of vehicles. It quickly became apparent we had stumbled into a family Christmas tree harvesting tradition. The tree family was friendly and chatted for a few minutes while we were loading up packs. They were well aware of the cave, but most of them said they had only been a short distance in and had no desire to go any further. They wished us well, and we headed into the cave.
Most of the group had never been in the cave before. I gave a couple quick pointers of what we would encounter early on, and then opted to bring up the rear of the group since I had seen the entrance series several times. We had a short delay early on, as an under-prepared youth group came slowly back through some of the log jams on their way out, then we made our downstream uneventfully.
The entrance series had more log jams, and more crawling than I had remembered the prior season. There is still a slight redirect over toward the maze area compared to a couple years ago, but route finding was not particularly difficult down to the Window Room. The log jams were just as awkward as always, and caused more crawling than I like. Survivable, but irritating on the way back out. This trip we splashed our way through the Glowing Stream area, puttered around in the big rooms for a while, and bounced and splashed down a ways further. Jeremiah and I had rubber boots we were trying out, and after splashing through the pools we both decided they were worth every penny of the $13 we had invested in them. Below is a poorly lit video of Jeremiah not quite making the move he wanted to avoid sinking his boots one last time on the way out.
We found our way into the White Stream area, and were running up toward required bailout time. Some participants had to get back to the Wasatch front that night, which is a short 3-4 hour drive. We noticed some lights up ahead, and decided to at least see who else was that far along in their adventure. I was actually guessing there was a reasonable chance we would know them, because there are only so many crazy cavers in this part of the world. We found that they were “new to us” folks from a neighboring state, taking pictures on a practice run for later expedition level trips elsewhere. After exchanging some basic info, and exchanging pot shots about caving outfits and who was using carbide, we started the long grind back to the surface.
I had tested out some gear on this trip, which have their own short write ups that will be posted eventually also. The knee high rubber boots were awesome, my newish bag did great on a serious trip, and the elbow pads are my new single best recommendation for people after they get the basic necessities squared away.