Historic Specimen Label

Gypsum Needles
Gypsum Needles

NPS Photo

Trip: On 2/27/2010, Rod Horrocks led Roger Harris, Ken Geu, & Janice Tucker to eastern edge of the Historic Section where they found a historic specimen label from the 1890's.

Trip Report: We went to the east edge of the cave to push the PRC survey, which showed some leads on the map. We started at PRC3 and shot up into a dome that opened into a small spherical room that dead-ended. We then looked at a belly crawl at the base of the dome that was heading off the eastern edge of the map. Unfortunately, the ceiling drops to 4-5 inches before opening back up and continuing out of sight. We had to abandon the lead. We then resurveyed PRC4-5 and shot eight other shots to complete the area. We named this area, the PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA. We choose this name because Roger asked what the survey designation was when we started and we said "PRC" and he responded, "Is that "Peoples Republic of China"? We also choose this name since China had done well in the Winter Olympics last night.

Dagger Room
Dagger Room

NPS Photo by Ken Geu

With the PRC finished, we worked our way to a large room at AT24 where we started to look for something to survey. We noticed that there was an unsurveyed lead underneath the BL11 survey, so we started there. This passage had lots of gypsum flowers, needles, and cotton and was very delicate. We were able to connect this survey with the parallel BL4 survey through a couple of unsurveyed connecting passages. We then surveyed into a large room with a huge breakdown block, where we connected with BL8. We named this room the DAGGER ROOM, as there is a narrow pendant sticking out of a huge breakdown block in the middle of this room that resembles a dagger.

Historic label 1898
Historic label 1898

NPS Photo by Jeri Frederick

Near BL37, we found dozens of 1896 newspapers and a note handwritten in 19th century script that said, "Wind Cave, South Dakota, Hot Springs". It was obviously a piece of paper that had been intended to be wrapped around a specimen, but was not used for some reason. It was definitely a specimen label. We then climbed down to BL20, where we surveyed through a crawl, reconnecting to the BL survey at BL22. Since the west half of this room had not been surveyed, we continued our survey in that direction. We named the room the SEWING ROOM, since there were lots of 1"-2" long gypsum needles scattered all over the floor of this room. We started by shooting into a crawl that opened into a "toilet bowl" that dropped down to a tight belly crawl. This opened into a small mazy area that had been previously entered by a vandal; and who had smoked an arrow, dug through some floor crust, and banged off a few projections. When this area ended, we shot into a parallel passage to the BL22-23 survey. This forked three ways at a junction, but all ended after a single shot. The crawl that continued to the east would have been passable if it were not for some boxwork hanging down from the ceiling. We then shot up a dome at BL23 and into a short side passage that completely ended.

Climbing back up to a fissure off of the Dagger Room, we surveyed four short side passages off of this south-trending fissure. We found some interesting small spiky popcorn near BL13 that resembled tower coral. However, since we've never found tower coral that high in the cave before, I wasn't sure it was actually tower coral. As I had eaten something that did not agree with me, I called it a night at that point. For the day, we had surveyed 613 feet in a couple of areas, leaving leads to return to on a future trip.

Last updated: January 19, 2018

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