13 October 2008

Into the Abyss

Originally Drafted 09 October 2008

Preparing to enter Abyss Cave. Credit: Kyle Voyles/NPS.

Today, we surveyed Abyss Cave. This cave is located about two miles from Zuni Cave. This cave is characterized by extensive breakdown on the floor. It involved a lot of scampering over the rocks and large monolithic boulders to navigate through this rather large lava tube.

This rim fragment was found near the entrance of Abyss Cave. Note the hole near the rim. This is likely a hole for placing a leather or yucca fiber handle. Credit: Kyle Voyles/NPS.

While there was some evidence of use, this cave was not as extensively used by ancient Americans. In the front part of the cave near the main entrance, we found two areas where the floor had been cleared, and dry-laid stone walls were constructed. We also observed dry-laid stone walls on the surface near the cave.

One of the two cleared areas on the floor of Abyss Cave. Credit: Kyle Voyles/NPS.

The team ahead of me received a great treat while deploying traps ahead of me. They entered a side passage directly below a large skylight. When they did, they disturbed a pair of great-horned owls. They were actually able to watch the owls fly over head as they moved to a less disturbed part of the cave.

Once we were done here, we went into town for a few provisions. We decided to eat dinner in town.

While we were getting water, a guy approached Kyle and I and asked if he could help us with our water. He indicated he was a “professional,” and that he did this at the jail. I told him that I appreciated his offer, but we thought we would be able to handle getting our water. He was a very interesting fella.

I saw this juvenile gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) sunning in the road on our return back to camp.

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