Carlsbad CRF Presidents' Day, 2011

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CRF Presidents' Day
Location Carlsbad Caverns, New Section
Author William Tucker
Date February 19-20, 2011

This was Tammy and my first attempt to lead a CRF expedition and "nervous" was the word. Barbe Barker had recently moved and was unable to attend though she clearly wanted to. So, she asked Tammy and I to take over and do what we could to see that things ran smoothly.

The call for particpation did not elicit a large number of positive responses. Injuries, illness, and conflicts of one kind or another left us with too few people to form a restoration team. But, we had two approved sketchers and just enough people to make two strong survey teams. The participants were: Kevin Glover, Jennie McDonough and Phyllis Boneau on team 1; and, Tim Kohtz, Roene Neu, Tammy Tucker and William Tucker on team 2.

We met at the large research hut early on Saturday morning and after scrambling to find badges and the necessary paper work, we listened to Stan Allison as he gave us the Park's instructions for the weekend. The two teams entered through the natural entrance and proceded through the fissure toward the White Giant formation. Team 2 worked to clean up leads just beyond the top of the knotted rope on the trail and successfully tied in to the F-Fissure survey at F4. Team 1 worked much deeper in New Section and they also tied in to the F-Fissure survey at the other end.

On Saturday evening, we exited the cave by hiking back up through the natural entrance. Our team had a lot of trouble getting the so-called "Death Gate" open. The lock worked easily but the gate was tweaked just enough out of alignment that it made removing the lock from the hasp difficult. Team 1 was late in exiting. So much so that we worried that they might have had the same trouble with the gate and be stuck just inside it. So, we reentered the cave to check on them and found them working their way up the trail. A small bat flight was observed (about 1000 individuals estimated).

On Sunday, we did much of the same with Team 2 dropping into a new cross fissure with numerous promising leads off of it. One of those leads through the floor is clearly breathing, hard. The fissure continues strong in both directions so it should continue to be interesting.

Everyone did a good job and received praise from the Park for their efforts. This was Tammy's first time to survey with CRF though she has a lot of survey experience elsewhere and she enjoyed it. She is going to be torn deciding between survey and resto in the future. Roene did well on inventory as did Phyllis. Jennie and Phyllis did excellent work on instruments and Kevin and Tim's sketches look great.

It was a small group but a great weekend surveying in the Park with the evenings' festivities in the hut quite enjoyable. Tammy and I are not so nervous as we were. Thanks to everyone for an enjoyable and productive weekend of cave survey.