Well, as always the Amy-Blogs-About-It version.
I left my place on Thursday afternoon to make it to Elkhart, IN for the St Joseph Valley Grotto monthly meeting! Woo my first grotto meeting! Uhm...they remind me of 4-H meetings back from my 4-H days. Minutes, treasure report, old business, new business, motions, second, vote, blah blah. Kinda fun though. Stayed overnight at Beth's then...love her bed. California King size.
and soooooooo comfy.
Didn't get on the road near as early as planned, and instead of pulling in to Capers around noon or 1 got there about 4:30pm, way too late to get any trip on Friday :( Found Billy and his kid (his kid and Beth's grandaughter are same age and play and cave and be....kids I guess heh) set up camp by them. Kids were pretty well behaved I guess but I still don't like little kids. I missed out on the "likes kids" genes somewhere, it was a lesson in patience to be around two 6-yr-olds for most of the long weekend! Sadly I never did find Shelly who I keep wanting to meet and it said on fb she was there, although I did find Tim
nice to see you again and met Dean
Saturday was the only day I got to cave. Signed up for the trip to Buddha because of the carpooling and having the kids along, there wasn't going to be a chance of me doing any Sunday trips, and I was told Buddha was the one to see. Dean actually lead that trip! It was listed as a vertical trip but uh, well he had other ideas and apparently it's a climbing trip haha. I am glad I didn't totally listen and did take webbing, 'biners, and stuff for texas in my pack because I definitely wanted to be on belay with a seat harness for that climb (thank you Marduke for showing me how to make those!). Anyway, got to the cave eventually and peeps who had to changed and then we started in. Cute little climb up at the start, really easy but harder going down 'cause can't see that first bit as ya go over LOL. The cavebit is easy up there, just crawling and walking and jazz until BAM nice big crevice to traverse across before the climbdown. Some things happened that got peeps held up there and a rope got rigged the length of it eventually to clip into, which I'll admit by the time it was my turn I was happy for it, I could've done it without but I kinda have a thing - no reason to take more risk than necessary, have rope use it! I realllllly wanted to get a photo of this from the starting side as it would have been a really neat one what I was seeing, nice and sillouhetted with a huge looking dropoff... - but was too worried to scare someone with a flash which wasn't needed at the time and it wasn't the time to distract and say "ignore this flash" either.
Ah and now the 30ft climb down. Dean made it sound super easy with obvious holds and yada yada. I was expecting something like the little entrance bit was. Uhm...no. To me, it was muchhhh harder. A few I really struggled to even reach, a couple I was going for blind, and some dude beneath me kept doing flash photography I think of me climbing down considering it kept flashing at me. I wish I knew who it was, I want copies, I had to suffer through that horrid distraction I'd better damn well get a copy of each of those photos! >_< Hint to all future photographers: It is quite rude IMPO when someone is struggling with something to sit there flashing photos at them, it really is a big distraction and reallllly frustrating. Anyway, luckily for Dean belaying from top because the very last major step of the climb I couldn't get it. I got one leg over but couldn't get it far enough and was slipping and was falling so decided to just go for it. Didn't work. Fell. WOO I know I can tie a good webbing seat harness!
it held perfectly. But fell enough I was...basically down (I was only about 6-8 ft up, needed another foot to get to the next bit and got that foot with the fall! ha!)
Here is where we climbed down, in the middle of the image. Where right above the falls, where it's a bit overexposed, that's where a ledge is. Was trying to get from that to the large formation on the left you see when I fell. That straddle/move was too far a reach. Yeah yah Dean says people shorter than I have done it. I'm guessing they were way better climbers though :P
Here is a person (who moved too early, ah well) for some scale, some different lighting on it too =) See the last bit is easy once onto that formation, slide off of it onto a ledge where that person's butt is, scramble down. Darnit, I *almost* made it. There is about 15-20ft above the image that was also part of the climbing down.
Well from there I first went towards the direction of where I'm standing and around the little bend instead of through the little squeeze. I guess people don't usually walk that way much? But there are pretties there. I did try out my flashgun some...used that for this one.
And this one as well. Not so happy with it but I kinda liked it in a vintage sort of way when I converted to b&w so what the heck, I'll keep it.
Turned around and went through the little squeeze which was really pretty and good thing at this point I was trailing (the group once down kinda spread out and looked at what they wanted) because I stayed in it for a bit to grab some photos, I like this one best. 2 soda straws? nahhh just kidding! Also, the colours were amazing!
Decided I ought to go see more though so finished squeezing through and climb down. I feel like after falling everyone was super worried about me climbing. Yessss I scream when I fall...sorry natural reaction there. I never flipped out or anything. Scared? at two points on that big climb, hells yes, I bet that was heard in my voice and peeps worried or something. Seriously the rest of the climbing in the cave was what I would call basically easy, just 'cause I look at it a bit to figure out method of attack doesn't mean I'm balking at all climbs FOREVERRRRRR lol
Anyway, found more formations!!! some really pretty moonmilk too I just could not get a photo of and moved on, it wasn't working that day. I wasn't seeing it, not happy with any of the photos I got of it so I ain't sharing! Haha it's weird...the more I photograph in caves, the more I get picky about "eh that's not great, forgetaboutit" when I'm looking through what I got later on the computer.
This shot however, I did get...again with flashgun for this one. For some reason, the stuff I was getting with the flashgun I liked a lot better converting to black and white. Maybe because it's a really old flashgun and the type of light it is or something just...I dunno, looks better to me in b&w, I like the artistic feel it creates.
A bit further and a formation caught my eye...I thought (and subsequently said) "That there, that has GOT to be bacon". Person behind me was nice and shined their light up in it for me. It is curved in a U-shape as is somewhat suggested in the photo. I like how the dogtooth got captured on the backside as well.
And a bit closer up...sometimes I just can't decide which exact photo of the same formation I like better.
There was some really neat texture and colours in some of the...flowstone this is? If someone could confirm what to call this, that'd be great. It was another flashgun photo, by the way. I think that's why it's sparkly, the flashgun seemed to make the water "sparkle" more that was on things than lightpainting does.
I realllllly liked this formation. Looks like someone took one of those soft serve machines and just let it keep gobbing and building up and up and up! I didn't get a good angle on the lightpainting though :( Not enough shadow, looks flat to me. Ah well.
I didn't have time to explore more or get some of the shots I wanted, Dean wanted to get me back up first figuring I'd take the longest. He had an actual seat harness and croll along though so I ended up actually frogging up the first 10ish feet past that stretch that was basically impossible for me, and half frogged/half climbed the rest (few spots was easier to just use one footloop and kinda climb up with the other foot and spare hand) it didn't take long at all. While I sat at the top waiting for others though I did spot this beauty...a contender for my fav photo of the trip...
And to this I say, is proof to all those who say to me "but when you're taking photos, you're missing out on seeing the cave and all the formations"! I daresay I bet no one else has seen this baby in Buddha cave. It's a short soda straw with an arch missing out of it, and the inside reflects around blue when you shine your light into it at the right angle and you can see a crystal-y internal structure. I've never seen any other formation reflect BLUE like that before.
Sunday we went Geode hunting on the way home. I found quite a few, some broken open, some still whole. Wish I knew/had tools to cut them open, one whole one is rather big, maybe 8 inches diameter. Lots of nice fossil finds too!
Lots of fossils...
Nice big crinoid, I actually picked this one up, on the other side it has an imprint of where more of it was before it broke off of the rockbit that runs the length of the piece!
Geodes open in the rockface
Cute little fernlike fossil, I rather like it! Not sure what it is though. This hand isn't mine, I didn't get hairy knuckles all of a sudden :P