HGRP - Survey a cave under a water fall

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HGRP - Survey a cave under a water fall

Tammy entering the cave

Location SE New Mexico
Author William Tucker
Date July 30, 2017

Most caves in the Guadalupe Mountains are dry; at least most say so. This cave is one exception. On Sunday, July 30, 2017, a small group of HGRP volunteers were asked to survey a small cave under a waterfall.

The team included: Devra Eve (sketcher), Sam Bensonhover, Tammy Tucker and I.

We arrived at the site and found parking to be a problem. All of the parking places were taken. There were a large number of visitors in the area enjoying the swimming opportunities below the falls. We parked along the side of the road and walked up to meet Dennis, one of the rangers.

Dennis informed us that we were fine where we parked and they he would guide us up to the entrance to the cave behind the falls. Visitors are not normally allowed up there. Devra was going to change into her wet suit while the rest of us used normal caving gear apart from aqua sox.

We had no trouble climbing up to the cave along the moss-slickened rocks; but, we got very wet doing it. We never really had a chance to dry out after that.

We entered the cave and started the survey. Reading instruments in a constant drip of cold water proved to be something of a challenge as did keeping the inventory and survey notes dry.

We set a total of 8 stations and Devra used a disto to make accurate wall locations.

By the middle of the afternoon, we were all very wet, very cold, and very hungry. We were determined to finish the little cave though, so we pressed on until we were all satisfied that we had completely covered all of the cave that could be accessed without underwater breathing apparatus.

It was fun and challenging day.