12 March 2009

Back up on the Bench

09 March 2009

Image: Settling in for the night in Bat Cave. Yes, I know. This is quite a romantic setting for Ty and Kyle. Credit: Jon Kalman.

This morning we hiked back into the canyon, and then up to the bench caves. Our plan was to (1) find the bolts that were set to assist in our ascent through the side canyon, (2) pull traps from two caves, and (3) deploy the Anabat at one cave.

Image: This is a rather common scenario on this trip. We move gear up canyon, then down canyon, and then we do it again. Credit: Ty Spatta.

All of our objectives for the day were met, and we were able to get done relatively early. Kyle and Ty banged out Babylon Cave and Doc and I completed Packrat Cave. Thus far, we have found these caves to be rather depauperate of cave-dwelling arthropods. This is not surprising given the low nutrient input these caves receive, as well as the aridity of these features.

Image: Collecting arthropods. Credit: Ty Spatta.

We were able to make it to our camping cave for the evening. While two days ago, we slept in a cave that Kyle and others slept in prior, tonight we will sleep in Bat Cave. This cave has not been occupied since the Native Americans used it. This cave had cleared sleeping platforms that were supported with dry-laid stone walls, and contained several pieces of yucca cordage and contained remnants of a yucca-fiber sandal. It was rather humbling and even somewhat eerie to sleep in this cave.

Image: Critter-proofing our bag of food before we make the climb up the side canyon. Credit: Ty Spatta.

Image: Setting a safety anchor in front of Bat Cave. We were on this safety while using the bathroom at night. From this entrance, there is a steeply sloping bench approximately 25 feet wide -- below this is the canyon floor approximately 1100 feet down. Credit: Ty Spatta.

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