Black Beauty

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Black Beauty
Location Little Beauty, Black
Author William Tucker
Date March 27, 2011

A GPS can be a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it can help you find things like caves and cars that are otherwise very difficult to locate. It is a curse because it makes you think that the most efficient way to get there is a straight line which, in the Guads, is never the case.

On Sunday, March 27, Tammy and I were working in the High Guads with the High Guads Restoration Project. Tammy and I were assigned to different teams. My team was to go to Black and Little Beauty to perform basic inventory and trail repair. Others on the team included: Wayne Hutchinson (leader), Phyllis Boneau, Ted Lappin, Vi Schweiker, Garrett Jorgensen and me.

After driving as far as we could, we hiked to Little Beauty. We were not given a step log; but, Phyllis had it on a GPS. The last time I visited the cave years ago, I remember hiking along the ridge until the trees disappeared and then turning to hike along the top of a small finger ridge then down to the cave. It was a long hike but easy. This time, the GPS took us skirting a canyon and bushwhacking back up to the cave. It was long and difficult. We went back using the easier route.

Little Beauty is small but beautiful. It is almost completely covered in flowstone with old formations and one large column. We saw three bats sleeping on the ceiling in separate places.

At Black, the trails were in serious disrepair. Phyllis and I worked on them a little but much more work needs to be done on the trails here. We saw one bat sleeping outside of the gate. I got some good pictures of a carlsbadensis. I still need to find a conicaudus and need some better pictures of longipes.

In one place, I noticed the flagging tape disappearing into a hole in the floor. I pulled on it and it was like a magician pulling scarves out of his pocket. It just kept coming and coming. We figured that water had washed it into the hole.

After returning to camp, I packed everything up and drove to the Queen store to trade Garrett for Tammy. I definately got the better end of that deal. After a green chile cheeseburger, we drove home.