Jenolan Caves


img_7942-x3Part of the International Congress of Speleology is the Wednesday field trips, these could be geology field trips, general site seeing, recreation or I was happy to see for this year a trip to a wonderful cave system not to far from where the congress was being held. Part of signing up was choosing which cave outings we wanted to participate in. My first choice was easy enough since they list a photography trip, but what to put for my second? Options include bush walk, history walk, fossil tour, and whats this music tour?

Hmm OK, lets see what a cave music tour is. So I put myself down for that. I’m so glad I did. It turned out to be a cello performance in one of the cave chambers that had fantastic acoustics. A really unique experience.

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The trip to the cave though was a fascinating one. We stopped at a lookout spot and witnessed a beautiful rainbow among some wonderful mountains.

Then as we drove down into the area where the cave is located we came across a kangaroo in the road. We were in a fairly wide road and there were cliffs on both sides of the road so the poor critter took off down the road to get away from us. As it came around a corner it spotted a way off the road but got a little excited perhaps and combined with the road being wet from recent rain, whoops down it went. Never thought of kangaroos being clumsy but the bus stopped and we waited while it got up and headed off the side of the road finally.

The cave has an unusual entrance in that you actually pass through the entrance on the road(the larger buses barely fit the narrower part) in order to get to the parking area.

We had some great tours through the caves. I got to take some pictures, really enjoyed the cello concert. He played a piece he wrote where he made the cello sound like a didgeridoo as well as the more usual classical pieces. Lunch was great and it really was a fun outing.

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Ely and the 2016 NSS Convention


 

Heading out from Susanville we were taking Highway 50 Americas ‘loneliest road’ at least that’s what all the signs and tourist info said.Our next stop before getting to the convention in Ely was in Fallon where we spent the night across the street from the Douglas Mansion. Currently painted pink its listed as the only Victorian two story in Fallon in 1904.

We were following the path of the famous pony express and passed a few places listed as stops for the express as well as the famous Nevada shoe tree. Oh and when we stopped for cool drinks in Austin the saloon had a small collection of authentic western Jackal-opes.

Eventually we arrived in Ely and looks like we were in the right place!

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I was actually surprised i didn’t notice more signs on the way through town- turned out the were being blown over by windy conditions, it was really windy which was stirring up a lot of dust ugh. At least the sessions etc. were inside. We were warned in registration to put something heavy in the pouches provided for our Convention badges or they’d likely fly up in the breeze and try to strangle us.Since we’d arrived late we missed lunch so we headed into town for something to eat. The Silver State restaurant turned out to be across the street from our hotel and provided a great lunch.Then it was back to the school to admire the art, pictures and cave maps.

 

We spotted a sun spider in the hallways, said hi to Morley and Lorelle and watched kids and adults alike enjoying the cave sim. All too soon it was evening and time for the Howdy Party, this years theme was supposed to be Donner Party or some such but as at most Howdy parties  Most folks came as they were. Some did dress in old time western garb so the theme was present. Dinner was fine, though there was some grumbling at the late arrival of the beer truck Finally it was time for the main attraction. The performance by ‘The new Christy Minstrels‘ (an American large-ensemble folk music group founded by Randy Sparks in 1961). Needless to say it was a great show with many of the audience joining it with familiar songs and dancing.

The next day we spent enjoying the talks and sessions. Dad and I stopped in to watch Kip manage to beat the time for his age group in the 30 meter vertical, he managed to climb faster then the goal he’d set for himself so he was pretty happy.

The other vertical competitors all appeared to be enjoying themselves and there was plenty of people encouraging them so it was fun watching.

For that evenings entertainment I had signed us up for the ‘Rockin Rollin Railroad’ a geology field trip aboard the Northern Nevada Rail Roads authentic coal burning steam train.This featured presentations by local geologists covering railroad & mining history with a show and tell of ore samples from the Robinson Nevada Mining District. They did a great job telling us all about the geology of the area.They had some fascinating info about all the copper, gold, molybdenum and silver that had been mined in the area and descriptions of how we could see various layers from the Cretaceous where there was limestone as well as a host of other layers and minerals I must confess I missed as I was too busy geeking out on being on a steam locomotive. Running back and forth trying to find the best spot to get a picture while not getting covered in smoke and cinders proved challenging, but it was a lot of fun.

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I made it back to my seat in time for the description of the Ruth mine and to see the samples of garnets picked up at nearby Garnet hill.

A mine is a hole in the ground, owned by a liar.
-Mark Twain

Wednesday and Thursday we spent mostly attending sessions at the High school though we did spend some time in town admiring the new Lehman cave mural done as a commission in honor of the convention and browsing the great caving pictures at the art bank gallery. I even picked up a copy of a murder mystery book about a murder at an NSS convention in Ely Nevada! ( The book ‘An Unconventional Murder’ by Nevada caver Gretchen Baker was very entertaining)

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I left Mom and Dad at the motel to catch up on their rest while I headed down to the camp ground for the campground party which was great fun as usual. The canon firing was a nice touch. Though it had to end a little early because of noise complaints.

 

 

Friday morning we skipped the sessions and headed out to tour Lehman cave.

 

On the way back we spotted a couple elk standing by the roadside and we took a small detour to visit the charcoal kilns. We also stopped to see these guys by the roadside.

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We made it back in plenty of time to get ready for the banquet dinner and awards ceremony.

It was another wonderful convention and I look forward to attending many others!

Weekend BBQ at Cave City


Coulterville

Coulterville

I wouldn’t normally drive nearly 300 miles for a BBQ but when the opportunity includes a chance to catch up with some caving friends I haven’t seen in a while and do some sightseeing well why not?

I loaded the motorcycle and headed north. I took the scenic route, winding my way through the foothills. I finally stopped at Coulterville for a break and a cold drink. I walked around the Historic Hotel Jefferey took a look at the old steam train and various gold rush era things on display. Finally I told the Duke at the Emporium farewell and headed on to lake Camanche to set up camp for the night. It was a busy summer weekend and this is a popular spot so I was not alone but at least I’d be back on the road before the big crowds arrived.

mining equipment

mining equipment

Emporium

Emporium

Camp for the night

Camp for the night

Lake Camanche, water levels looking pretty low.

Lake Camanche, water levels looking pretty low.

I awoke in the morning and turned on my cell phone, figured I’d check my messages before heading back into the hills where I wouldn’t have signal. Just then my phone rang! It was Ric checking to see if I was coming to the BBQ. I told him I’d see him up there in a couple of hours and after a stop at Valley Springs for coffee and supplies I made my leisurely way on through San Andreas and on to Cave City.  Ric arrived a little after I did and it turned out we were the only ones to arrive early. That was OK though as we had plenty of time to catch up and see that the cave tours were doing plenty of business. We wandered over to the gift shop and reminisced about how we’d watched it being built and slowly transformed over the years. They now have a video viewing area and a full bear skeleton on display. We also spotted a couple of deer behind the gift shop.

gathering for the BBQ

gathering for the BBQ

It wasn’t long before others began arriving and slowly we started organizing the lighting of the grills so that dinner could begin.

Matt was doing some last minute prep on his pitch for the Convention in Ely next year and showed us a new promo video he put together which really looked great. I’m looking forward to attending.

Matt making last minute edits

Matt making last minute edits

Deer behind the gift shop

Deer behind the gift shop

Climbing practice

Climbing practice

After dinner in addition to Matt’s video, Dave gave a great slide show on some of his recent cave trips including the Bonne Terre lead mine in Missouri which is on my list of place I’d like to dive someday. After his great slide show there were some enterprising folks who made a squeeze box/obstacle course out of Rons ladder.

Hold your beer or lose your pants, decisions, decisions.

Hold your beer or lose your pants, decisions, decisions.

All to soon it was over. After a good nights sleep in my tent it was back on the road for the long drive home.

Another great weekend in the MotherLode

 

Pack in the Saddle Again!


PackSaddle Cave

PackSaddle Cave

Ha, just had to title this post that way. (try to belt it out like AreoSmith as you read it )

Here it is my (drum roll please…) 200th post. Technically it isn’t since this log has been around quite a bit longer the WordPress or blogging in general for that matter, but as far as WordPress is concerned this is it! so in honor of the occasion, and mostly just because I wanted to get out of the house I headed up to Pack Saddle Cave.  It was a sunny day and a little too warm for hiking, well truthfully it was darn hot but I was hopefull it would be at least a couple degrees cooler up at the cave since the trail starts well up the Kern Canyon at above 3000′. I made sure I had plenty of water and snacks loaded up on the Motorcycle and drove out of town towards Lake Isabella. From there it was a few short miles to Kernville and on to the parking spot across the street from the trail head. It was still too hot but I’d come this far I might as well check out the cave. The trail started out promising enough, wide obviously maintained and heading up a gradual slope. All to soon though it was a steep grueling slog uphill with no shade in sight. The views were magnificent though so while I paused to catch my breath I took a few pictures.

View as I begin up the trail, looking back toward the river.

View as I begin up the trail, looking back toward the river.

There's limestone in those hills, looks promising!

There’s limestone in those hills, looks promising!

When I finally crested the ridge I could see loads of limestone outcrops all around, certainly a good area to find a cave. Unfortunately the particular outcrop I was looking for was across yet another gully. I began making my way downward trying not to dwell on how much that meant I’d be going back up on the other side to reach the cave. At least there were trees and a little shade along the creek at the bottom.

flower alongside the creek.

flower alongside the creek.

The cave is up there somewhere?

The cave is up there somewhere?

Now though the weather changed as a few thunderclouds rolled in and I nervously hurried along the trickling creek hoping to reach the cave still high above me before it rained. It was a short stretch of trail so soon enough I was safely past the creek. Not before a covey of Quail burst out from the bushes giving me a bit of a start. Just as fast as they appeared  though they retreated back under cover of nearby bushes so I didn’t get any pictures. A dozen ground squirrels sunning themselves on nearby rocks were just as fast but one stuck his head out long enough for a quick photograph.

peering from the rocks

peering from the rocks

Damsel fly Down by the creek.

Damsel fly Down by the creek.

Tut tut, looks like rain.

Tut tut, looks like rain.

Lizard along the trail

Lizard along the trail

I was pleasantly surprised to find the entrance to be larger then I had imagined though the level of damage and graffiti I had heard about was present

Cave entrance

Cave entrance

Formations, columns

Formations, columns

large stalagmite / mound

more formations, marble ceiling

more formations, marble ceiling

Sure enough it was raining when I emerged from the cave but not enough to really trouble me and there was even a faint double rainbow.

rainbows

rainbows

I made it back down in time to stop at Mcnallys for a bite to eat before heading home.

Posts searches and the Internetz


Ventura Pirates Ventura Pirates

So I admit it, I enjoy browsing through the stats on my blog trying to see where folks have come from when they stumble onto my little corner of the internet. I have to say though that the search terms that lead people here sometimes baffle me. Here’s a few recent search terms:

yellow baja bug    
haunted castle halloween    
jenny springs florida cave    
eagle photographer attacked    
map of captain nemo’s voyage    
images spooky tower    
ventura pirates    
sea caves pirate  
tortoise log
auburn photo locations
auburn sunset    
dawn center indian falls apple picking    
cactus v4 triggers and couple    
trail driving with baja bug    
what snakes are on isla holbox, mexico    
pictures of captain nemos cabin    
captain nemo’s prague    
pictures of posey cave blountsville alabama    
bow and arrow grass caving    
back door cave channel islands    
birds mono lake    
captain nemo’s log    
lowered landrovers    
bird in mono lake    
captain nemos mexico    
captain nemo information    
captain nemo’s house in morro bay, ca.

Now going through them most are quite obvious: i.e.

 Yellow Baja Bug Yellow Baja Bug

Haunted Castle Halloween Haunted Castle Halloween

Some though were less then obvious, I have no pictures of “posey cave blountsville alabama ”   however I did post on Cavechat shortly after this posthttp://www.forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16773&sid=205ec90499230fa359cb762ceba009fd” So I assume that’s how the search engine came to the conclusion I might have.

I have no idea what “bow and arrow grass caving” might be referring to and my attempts to follow this search back to my webpage proved fruitless so perhaps that was one of those strange coincidences that led them there?

“Tortoise log”? that’s a strange term but I assume the search engine found my pics of traveling on the “Green Tortoise bus” and combined the fact that I wrote about it in my Log.

most of the rest of them are pretty straight forward so I’ll just leave you with this

Lowered Landrover Lowered Landrover (VW bug chassis/engine with Landrover body)