Alvin McDonald Signature and High Hopes Discovery
1st Trip: On 1/29/2003, Rod Horrocks led John Scheltens and Steve Baldwin to the Attic in the Historic Section, where they discovered an Alvin McDonald signature in a dome lead they named High Hopes.
Trip Report: We went to a lead at MU5 in the Race Track and surveyed a low, wide room and pillar type maze, connecting to UN43J and then UN43L. We then abandoned this area with 192 feet of survey and went to the end of the Attic. After shooting up into a dome, which goes up another 70 feet and opens into a maze, we decided to hold off on surveying this until we find out where it is on the lineplot. We then shot into a tube at the end of the dome. It was virgin, but ended after 46 feet. We then dropped a shot into a very deep floor slot. We put a vertical shot down 33 feet (about 1/2 way down the slot) at the level between two stations (MU12K and L). It drops from there into a deep fissure, that isn't surveyed. We then went to find AT16, but couldn't find it. So, we resurveyed AT15 and 16 and then shot into a couple of dead-end passages. We left a couple of leads at AT15A. We surveyed 417 feet for the day.
2nd Trip: On 2/22/2003, Rod Horrocks led Seth Spoelman, John Scheltens, & Steve Baldwin back to the High Hopes area in the Historic Section.
Trip Report: We went on an evening trip back to the dome we had found in the Attic on January 29th. We started at station AT14. The dome climbed up 54 vertical feet. At the top we found a "2.H,Q June 30th 1892" signature written in the corrosian residue. We then surveyed a little maze of passages, some with gypsum needles and cotton and frostwork. At station AT14N, we found a soft dirt dig that Alvin and Roy hadn't gone through. We were pretty sure that nobody had been in this dome since 1892. Steve moved some dirt aside and found some larger passages. A mudcracked floor with gypsum cotton went a couple of shots to the east. A larger passage went north. We found some larger needles, some 4-5" long below a dome that went up an additional 20 feet. This must place the dome very high in the cave? We found some arrows and initials "J.S." in this area. We wondered if it was John Stabler? Steve crawled through a tight squeeze, following the arrows. He was able to finally connect with the Lonesome Place dome area found by Stabler off of the Attic in 1895. Although, we didn't find any new cave, or break out to the east as we had hoped, the connection and the historical facts were interesting. We named the area "High Hopes" because I hoped the lead would head eastward over the lower cave along the eastern edge of the cave. We didn't finish surveying the connection to Lonesome Place because of two very tight squeezes, ones that only Steve could fit through. We surveyed 237 feet for the evening.
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