Clarksville - August 2009

A group of five of us –Clarion, Anna, Julia, Robert, and Devon- left Boston on one of the prettiest days of the summer with the intention of spending most of the day underground. As we were getting ready to go into the cave, we saw another group of cavers getting ready. Upon entering the Ward entrance, Anna’s  headlamp went on the fritz, so we stopped to get one of her backup lights out. By the time we got down to the rest of the group, Robert had broken out the carbide lamps. He made the rest of the to the Lake room with the carbide light. Since the last time I had been at Clarksville, the passage that goes back behind the lake room has been dug out and I was able to get a lot farther. We saw a few really cool formations, including flowstone and straws. After the Lake room, we headed back along the main passage looking for the Thook entrance. Once we got to the entryway it took a little while letting the beginner cavers find the way out. Evidently the dig over by the Thook entrance has also been worked on as it is much wider and it dead ended with signs of recent digging.  

After we left the Thook entrance, we took a food break and made sure that all of the carbide that had spilled had been thoroughly watered and rendered unusable. Unable to find the marked trail back to Ward, we followed an unmarked trail that followed a barbed wire fence and a cliff, coming up on the Ward entrance from behind. One of the managers of the property was there with a group of beginning cavers. The trip seemed to be largely a clean-up effort for them though as people had left a lot of garbage lying around. We actually found a lot of garbage inside the cave too, including several unburned cigarettes and a large, empty can of tea.

After stopping and talking and being asked about the Virginia plates on our car and if we knew how to decontaminate, we re-entered the cave through the Ward entrance and went to Gregory entrance. We ended up exploring the Pixie Passages before finding the way to Gregory. When we got the Bathtub, a couple of people were starting to feel the cold. Since they didn’t really want to get wet and we didn’t find a dry way around it, Robert offered to carry people through the bathtub. As Robert tried to carry the first person across, he slipped on a rock and they fell into the water. However, Robert redeemed himself and carried the next person safely across the Bathtub. We continued on and found the waterfall. It made a really pretty and wide sheet of water that fell all of a foot and a half. Farther on, we finally came to Brinley’s Sump, the last major obstacle before the Gregory entrance. The water level was much the same as the last time I went though and everyone came through, though it was really nice to have the entrance to the cave right there to get outside where it was warmer. Back out in the sunlight we quickly got warmed up and changed and headed back to Boston.