Caving Narrative 1984 - June 11
NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz
Duration of Trip:
New Cave Surveyed:
Forty Miles and Beyond
Began survey at XX2 with the XQ survey. This was to be it-we were going for 40 miles! After the long trip of 8-9 June we were close. Starting that previous trip we figured we needed 792 feet. But the passages did not go well and after 16 hours we added up our distances and came short by around 250 feet. We decided to exit the cave.
Before this trip we refigured the distances by reducing slope distance to horizontal and discovered that Warren had missed an entire page of survey! We only needed about 116 more feet of survey to crack 40 miles.
With this in mind we started surveying toward a room previously entered by Warren, Barb Brutvan, Heather Pullen, and Greg Wright. The survey went smoothly and almost perfectly. At XQ10 we almost had our 40 miles and we were on the verge of entering a room.
Karen pulled the tape into the room, I read the instrument, and Warren sketched. XQ11 put us over 40 miles! We all let out hoots, I grabbed my camera and took pictures and then we got back to the work of surveying again. EXCITEMENT! All this occurred around 5:00 pm on June 11, 1984.
When we finished surveying around the room, we exited and checked leads near XX1-2. I found what looked like a granite boulder about one foot in diameter. Interesting.
The cave was over 40 miles and going for 50! We exited to a celebration by other staff (thanks for the champagne) and went to Tom Farrell's evening program on exploring Wind Cave, an appropriate end to the day.
Although there was lots of excitement in getting to and over 40 miles, the exploration and survey of Wind Cave has been a long and still ongoing process. I often like to compare caves with people. Everyday we get older, but only on our birthdays do we stop and celebrate the process of getting older. Caves are much the same. Each survey trip makes the cave a little longer, but only a certain points do we stop and celebrate the process. "Happy Birthday" Wind Cave.
Report by: Jim Pisarowicz
Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.