Girls' Trip 2010

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Girls??? Trip to South Texas
Location South Texas: Caverns of Sonora, S Cave, Ch Cave, Kickapoo Caverns
Author Tammy Tucker
Date June 7-10, 2010

Bright and early on June 7th, 2010 LeeAnn, Amy and Tammy met to continue the annual tradition of a caving ???Girls??? Trip???. We loaded our luggage, our guns (not loaded), and 7 chickens into LeeAnn???s Forerunner and headed out. Our first stop along the way was Pepe???s restaurant where we enjoyed Mexican food while surrounded by the festive colors (and trinkets and Christmas lights) of authentic Mexican d??cor. Amy reminisced about the time she lived in Bolivia and we all shuddered as she recalled her narrow escape from that country. Mid afternoon we arrived in Sonora to begin our first caving adventure. Caverns of Sonora proved to be as beautiful as we remembered, though I think I blocked out the memory of the high humidity in the cave. After visiting with LeeAnn???s relative and taking pictures of the resident peacock, we proceeded to the Rock House. We were graciously received and grateful for a good night???s rest. Of course, Noodle the dog made it his business to inspect everyone and everything, so we ended up putting the cage of chickens in the house with us.

The next morning started early, as the adolescent roosters began experimenting with their ability to crow. Food was the only way to keep them quiet, but, of course, then their pecking made it sound like a rainstorm had moved in. We needed to get them to their ultimate destination ASAP. We waved goodbye to our hosts (as they had places to be) after a breakfast of fried eggs and loaded up chickens and guns in the Forerunner. Cherry Springs was our stopping place. We found the running stream and set the captives free. As hawks circled overhead, and a hog wallow was in evidence by the water???s edge, we knew that life would be short but sweet for our feathered passengers. Amy, LeeAnn, and Tammy hiked to the big oak tree and enjoyed the shade while LeeAnn instructed us in the skill of pistol shooting (you didn???t think the guns were for the chickens, did you?!). We had fun practicing, but not hitting much. We hiked back and as we got closer to the car we noticed the chickens were all still healthy and happy in their new home. Ignorance is bliss.

Our next stop was for rifle shooting and swimming. At the swimming hole, LeeAnn set up a can on a stick for Amy and Tammy to shoot at. Despite our best efforts, the can quickly realized that it had nothing to fear. LeeAnn, ever the encouraging teacher, decided that what we needed was a larger target. A MUCH larger target. She got a 2 ?? ???x 2 ?? ??? insulated shopping bag for us to aim at. Thankfully some of our shots hit home (though never actually in the middle of the center circle) and Tammy and Amy had fun checking to see where each bullet ended up. Next: Swimming time! We stripped to our suits and agreed not to take pictures of each other. Amy dipped her feet in the cool water and enjoyed a Texas pedicure as some of the local fish nibbled on her toes. We all swam and soaked in the sun. A most lazy and relaxing afternoon. Wednesday was Texas Safari/Caving day. LeeAnn opened the sunroof on her Forerunner and the three of us spotted goats, llamas, an emu, and other Texas wildlife on the ranch. Many photos were taken (the llama picture by Amy was proceeded with her comment, ???Look how close they???re letting me get.??? The black llama folded his ears back and raised his head in preparation to spit???..) We marked the approximate starting places for the 3 caves we planned to visit. Each member of our team took their turn being in charge of the GPS as we found the caves. First we went to S Cave, then to R C , and last Ch. In the entrance to S Cave we encountered a heavy- breathing mammal that did not want to be disturbed. So, we didn???t disturb him. Thankfully we were still able to get to the passage that led to the major portion of the cave. R C was rigged with a handline to help us navigate the slope down and up. And we took the plunge surrounded by a healthy number of Daddy Long Legs (I believe they???re called the ???pulsating brillo pads???; thank you Skinny). Last, we made our way to Ch Cave and rigged a rope for the 40??? drop. The coolness of the cave was welcome and we happily explored. At the rigging site, this cave, too, had a massive crop of Daddy Long Legs and they came ???boiling??? out when we disturbed them. In the evening we hiked to some shelter caves that show evidence of ???foreign guests??? from across the border. Back at the Ranch we inspected each other for ticks, ate a quick supper and went to bed.

Thursday was our last day. We had planned to go to Kickapoo Caverns, but could not, as they were preparing for an anniversary celebration that was coming soon. Instead, LeeAnn, Amy and Tammy went ???into town??? and toured the family museum. We saw hundreds of arrowheads, barbed wire samples, peace pipes, and other artifacts of a past life. Thank you so much to our Rock House hosts and to LeeAnn for planning (and driving for!) this great summer trip!