The expedition into the Reynolds River passage will be this coming Saturday. We have 20 cavers including some who I’ve only known through their name and long history of contributions to caving in the Northeast. This should be a fun and exciting weekend.
Though Most of the passage was mapped in 1965, hundreds of feet beyond the 4-Way Junction remain to be mapped. Seasoned cavers Art Palmer and Chuck Porter will map from the 4-Way Junction towards the pool at the end of the cave, while another mapping team will start at the pool and map out to meet them.
The map to the left was surveyed in 1965, the year of my birth, and drawn four years later. The circles along the cave passage with numbers show the height of the passage at that location. As you can see, some parts of this passage are very small. On top of that, the shade part are filled with water. This is why we’ll need to wear wet-suits for this trip. Though it might look tough to a non-caver, I it will be much easier than some wet passages I’ve had to negotiate in the past. Hopefully we will be able to add several hundred of feet of passage to the map when we’re done.
There are some spectacular formations in the passage, and very few photos exist, so some of us will be spending time photographing the cave. Howe Caverns requests the right to use photos taken on this trip. Since my adventure camera was long overdue for an upgrade, I went out and purchased a 14 MP Fuji S2950 camera. I also purchased a Pelican 1200 watertight case. In an attempt to capture as much of the expedition on video, I fastened a universal camera mount to my helmet so I can attach my Kodak waterproof HD video camera to it. Hopefully with the headlamp and extra lighting I will be carrying will be enough for the video.
As I mentioned before, each of us will be donating $50 – $100 to the Schoharie Relief Fund. Due to the generosity of my friends and coworkers, so far it looks like I will be handing them a check for over $300. I again encourage those who can spare a few dollars to do the same. You can find where to send the donation at the Howes Cavern Relief Fund webpage.
We will be entering the passage aroung 9 am and hope to exit by 5 pm the latest. The entire expedition will be about 6-8 hours. After we exit, we’ll be eating a hearty meal in the Howes dining area. Shortly after eating I will be making the 4 hour trip home.
I’ll be tweeting and sending picture to the website when possible. Once I’m home though, I probably will fall into a deep coma like sleep until the next day.