Caving Narrative 1986 - October 22
NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz
Duration of Trip:
New Cave Surveyed:
During the early 1970s the Windy City Grotto from Chicago discovered Windy City Lake, the lowest point in Wind Cave. Since 1972, no one had been across this lake as it was thought that all leads there had been pushed. After looking over some notes left behind by those explorers I thought that another trip across Windy City Lake was in order.
Arriving at the shore of Windy City Lake we changed into wet suits for the swim across the chilly (50° F) water. We packed our dry clothes and gear in three layers of plastic bags which kept everything pretty dry.
Across the lake we changed back into dry clothes and went to look at a lead indicated in the Windy City Grotto notes. It was there but was only 2 inches wide. No one could squeeze through that!
In a last ditch effort I looked into a passage that the notes indicated dead ended. There in the ceiling was a lead. Apparently the person who check this passage had not looked up.
The passage immediately lead to a lake which I called Lake Land. Crossing this lake and up through another hole yielded a second lake we dubbed Evans Plunge after the hot spring in the town of Hot Springs. An interesting climb lead to yet another lake. Bob suggested we name the lake after ourselves. It became Jim-Bobs Plunge.
By now the passage was huge. Ceilings were 40-50 feet high and 60-70 feet wide. We called this big passage the Mammoths Backbone and the lake off the side of this the Inner Sea.
Passages were going off in all directions. Bob found a small lake which he called the Lovely Little Lake. Finally we had to begin the trip back to the surface. We turned around in a passage 50 feet wide and 30 feet high.
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.