Mother Lode Grotto turns 50!


   

MLG 50th

MLG 50th

     This year the Mother Lode Grotto of the US National Speleology Society celebrated its fiftieth year.  Having had a sucessful fourtieth celebration at Cave city we were pleased to be able to return for this years celebration. Many of us were able to enjoy tours of the caves, there was a wonderful dinner, volleyball matches, climbing, wonderful homebrew beer and the trench gauntlet proved itself popular once more (the beer may have helped) as it was used well into the night. I believe we had close to 100 people show up for this one hopefully the next will be just as well attended.

Squeezed into the womb room

Squeezed into the womb room

swimming the lake room

swimming the lake room

Jeremy squeezes through the trench gauntlet

Jeremy squeezes through the trench gauntlet

Beer!

Beer!

Ron brewed a variety of beer for the event including this specially bottled apricot porter I’m holding for the picture.

   The next day after helping to clean up the camp site three of us headed out to visit Natural bridges where I enjoyed a pleasant swim and tested out the new ousing for my olympus camera by taking a few pictures and shooting some video. Then it was time to head home.  Guess I’ll have to mark 2022 for the 60th on my calendar.

Natural bridges

Natural bridges

 

 

NSS convention Glenwood Springs, Colorado


Paragliding, Glenwood springs, Colorado

Paragliding, Glenwood springs, Colorado

Ric and I made good time driving to Glenwood springs and arrived ahead of schedule. Unsure about camping before registration opened, we went ahead and stayed at a privately run campground on the edge of town. The next morning we located the high school and checked in at registration. Coming out of registration we spotted several paragliders swooping down over the campus and remarked that would be cool to try. After setting up our tents in the quiet campground we walked over to check out the main campground and saw the paragliders landing upriver a little ways. We walked over and talked to them and found out they were offering a discount to convention attendees for that week so we decided to give it a try the next day. By afternoon several MLG members had checked in at registration and we’d said hi to Jim Patera, Marrianne and Jerry, Morley and Ernie. Most of them were going on the geology field trip so the next day Ric and I headed out by ourselves to meet our paragliding instructors. We signed forms agreeing to all manner of things as the truck bounced up the hill, then after a brief instruction we were ready for tandem jumps. A couple of steps and we were floating out over the canyon. I got some nice pics of the High School and campgrounds from above on the way down. We both agreed that while paragliding was fun, it wasn’t an adrenaline rush sort of activity and our rides were over much too soon.

Lightning storm over the campground

Lightning storm over the campground

Mondays big event was the Howdy party being held at Glenwood caverns. Since all of us were interested in trying the various rides we headed up on the tram early. First up was the alpine coaster, first time I rode a rollercoaster with manual brakes, not that we needed them, I spent the whole ride concentrating on keeping the brakes off so as to go as fast as possible. We also rode the zipline, and the swing. The swing was the most impressive as it litterally swung you up over the edge of the canyon so you could see all the way straight down to the bottom. As Marrianne commented. “the view’s great if you open your eyes!”. We took a break from the warm afternoon inside the 4d theatre, a simulation movie theatre with moving seats and short 3d films. I also tackled an interesting squeeze box that required some contortion to get through. We all enjoyed an evening tour of the caves which consist of two seperate sections, an upper mostly horizontal section that exits out on the opposite cliff face and a lower section that has a steep staircase installed leading down to the ‘fairy cave’ section that has wonderful formations, carefully lit with new led lighting. Dinner was fajitas and they had a good band for the party, before long though we decided to take the tram down and head back to our tents.

Glenwood Caverns

Glenwood Caverns

Aragonite, Glenwood Caverns

Aragonite, Glenwood Caverns

The rest of the convention was great fun, the vertical contests, the fine art salons, I thoroughly enjoyed it all. A couple of my favorite things were Wednesdays photography session were we returned to Glenwood Caverns to practice taking pictures and I got to go off trail to photograph some beautiful arragonite, and Thursdays 3D slide shows and video presentations were very impressive. Friday several of us signed up to go rafting on the roaring fork river. Sadly Ric couldn’t join us as the guide recommended against him coming due to his recent knee surgery.

Campground party

Campground party

Rafting

Rafting

Caver ice sculpture

Caver ice sculpture

All too soon it was over and we were packing up to head home. Jim Patera joined Ric and I for a stop on the way home to visit Rifle falls and the several small caves amidst the falls. It was a beautiful location and well worth a visit. Jim headed north from there to do some more hiking but Ric and I continued west towards Sacramento. We had one more stop to make though. We visited the only known location of a shark attack in Utah! At Bonneville Seabase the owners of the property have introduced several species of salt water fish to the naturally occurring pond formed from salt water hot springs. We got to swim with jacks, angel fish, numerous mollys and a couple of sharks. The sharks are harmless nurse sharks and apparently the ‘victim’ of the attack had her hand in its mouth when it bit her so it really wasn’t the sharks fault. We had a great time swimming around, then it was time to head for home.

Rifle Falls

Rifle Falls

Cave formations at Rifle Falls

Cave formations at Rifle Falls

 

Bonnevile Seabase

Bonnevile Seabase

Shark

Shark

Special Public Lecture: What is killing our bats?


Dear all,

on Tuesday September 28 at 7.30 pm, Peter Youngbaer will give a talk on White
Nose Syndrome at the monthly members meeting of the SFBC.

“White Nose Syndrome in Bats – A Conservation Challenge”

by Peter Youngbaer
NSS WNS Liaison

All Western Region members are cordially invited to attend this talk. Please check out the official flyer in attachment and feel free to spread the word!

Address: USGS Conference room A, building 3, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park.
http://tinyurl.com/26e6sk2

Kind regards,
Joke VansweeveltChair SFBC
http://www.caves.org/grotto/sfbc
http://www.caves.org

Western Regional


View near the reservoir

View near the reservoir

Last weekend I rode the train down to Fresno, then was met by my Parents who drove up from Bakersfield. We spent the night at my Aunts then got up really early to drive up to Wishon reservoir for the Western Regional meeting of the NSS. Turned out there weren’t planned activities for the day except for caving trips so since I hadn’t packed my caving gear we went for a drive up to courtwright reservoir to enjoy the scenery. That night there was a wonderful dinner, followed by the usual busness meeting, auction and schnapps tasting.  On the way home we stopped and walked around the Mckinley redwood grove. A very enjoyable weekend.

Hungry cavers line up for dinner

Hungry cavers line up for dinner

Dave plays with his balls

Dave plays with his balls

ICS -15th International Congress of Speleology


Welcome cavers

Welcome cavers

I’ve finished editing my pictures from the pre- ICS trip to the Giant Caves of Mexico, and my pictures from Texas and the congress itself. It really was a wonderful trip, besides the caves in Mexico I got to visit Kickapoo, the Devils sinkhole, caverns of Sonora and witness a spectacular bat flight at the WMA train tunnel where they have approximately 3 million freetail bats roosting. I’m writing up a longer report on my trip to Mexico which hopefully I’ll get done with this week. Summers still going strong though so lots going on and plenty more to post about later.

The main room in kickapoo

The main room in kickapoo

Pool in Caverns of Sonora

Pool in Caverns of Sonora

Bats flying out of the Fredricksburg WMA tunnel

Bats flying out of the Fredricksburg WMA tunnel