December 31, 2015

Kelly Creek levels/correlations.

12-31-15.  2430 on USGS gauge.  Slightly under 2 feet on Bridge gauge.

December 29, 2015

December 21, 2015

It's not the nicest thing to say, but it is true

Then there are friends you will have for life, that you get to see maybe twice a year if you're lucky.

December 14, 2015

Grotto Time

Here is a video I made of the B'ham Grotto December Trip on 12-12-15

Grotto Time from Dangerjudy on Vimeo.

December 13, 2015

Stephen's Gap

I went to Stephen's Gap with the Sewanee Mtn. Grotto over Thanksgiving weekend; here is a video I made of the trip:

SGap11-27-15 from Dangerjudy on Vimeo.

December 9, 2015

Fun Stuff 2015

Jan 1  Mulberry.  Level 2 ft.  Air temps in the 50's. In the Liquid Logic Stomper 80.  With various members of the BCC.  Photos here.

Jan 3 Talladega Creek.  Level 1.5 ft when we put-in, 1 ft. when we took out.  In the Stomper 80. With Joan, David and Amanda, and another David.  I would call this run class II at this level, with the exception of Rob Roy which is an easy III.  Photos here.

Mrs. Steed and I at the scouting rock for Rob Roy rapid on Talladega Creek.
Jan 11 Town Creek.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Air temps 40's, water temp COLD.  Level 386 according to the flowpage tonight.  With members of the BCC.  Photos here.
Jan 18 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Level very low - maybe 6"?  Air temps high 50's-low 60's. With Mark G and David R.

Jan 31 Blowing Saltpeter Cave.  With the B'ham Grotto.   26 of us went to one of the first caves I ever did, great trip.  First time using the Fenix HL55 *with* the Zebra floody.  On the way back, looked in a very decorated IKF found by Donna C. and Jennifer P.  Pics HERE.
Feb 1 War Eagle.  With Ray M, Tim H, Juan F.   Gorgeous gorgeous pit.   Pics HERE.

Feb 8 Ridgewalk/Wyvern Well.  With Dave H. and Andy Z.  Went ridgewalking in the big coon with Dave H and Andy Z yesterday to visit a couple of old leads. We didn't find either lead we were there to explore, but Dave found a new pit lead that needs some vertical exploration, and we found/entered the top area of Wyvern Well, a cave Dave found and added to the survey many years ago. It is a short climbdown to a room that has a window to a drop that I think is around 50 feet, with a skylight. There's another room below that.  Photos HERE.

Feb 14 visit with Miss Iris Ranelli.  Newest member of my family.

Feb 20  Ticks Reunion at the Nick.  First time together since 1997.

Feb 27-March 1  Grotto Getaway.  At the Paint Rock Valley Lodge.  Photos here.

Dale, me, Bruce.  Bridge Day buddies

March 7-8 Mulberry Fork Races.   March 8- paddled the Mulberry in the cavers' new raft, then a second time in the Hyside Paddlecat with Chris G.  Photos here.

March 14-16 ALF 2015.  Ain't Louie Fest 2015.  With the Lost Tribe.
March 14- Whites Creek, level was .9 when we put on, and 1 ft. when we took-out. In the LL Stomper 80.  Air temps mid-upper 50's and misty/rain.
March 15 - O.U.T. Race on Tellico river, level 2.6, in the Blackfly Option 92.  Air temps upper 60's/low 70's, sunny gorgeous day.
March 16 - Middle Tellico, level 2.3, in the LL Stomper 80.  Air temps low 70's, another gorgeous day.  Photos here.  Videos of race here.
March 21 Trail tagging at Ruffner Mtn.  With the Birmingham Grotto.  Photos here.

March 22 Mulberry.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Level about .9 on the bridge, 5.33 online,  1.09 using the correlation 0.75 * 5.33 -2.9.  With Lynn, Josh, and other members of the BCC.

March 24-30 Ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.   Had 8-12" fresh snow fall our first night, so Wed-Thurs was some powder.  Friday went to Grand Targhee and was ice (Sacajawea!).  Saturday was back to Jackson for some slushy snow.  Warm temps.  Photos here.

April 11 Mulberry.  In the Wave Sport Project X56.  With Rundell C.   Level 1.6 on the bridge, we were surprised to find Training Wheels washed out into a flat (nice) front surfing wave.  Didn't bring the camera.  Air temps in the 70's.

April 12 Talladega Creek, Kymulga Mill Putin.   With members of the Birmingham Grotto.  Brought my camera but the battery was dead.  Level on the gauge at was in the 250 range.  The groundskeeper at the mill charges $3 per boat to park your car there (two of us in one canoe for $3, for instance).  He closes the gate at 5pm.
He, and Damon who lives nearby, predicted a 6 hour float due to the deadfall/strainers, but even with a couple of portages we did the trip in a leisurely 3.5 hours.

April 18 Tumbling Rock Cave.  With the Bham Grotto, Scout trip to the Christmas tree.  Photos here.
April 19 High Water Locust Fork.  With the Bham Grotto rafters and Kyle S.  Level 7.5 and rising on the gauge.  Great day!  Photos here.
April 26  Upper Nanty in the Hyside Paddlecat.  With Jenni H. and Ryland G.  Level 650 on Cascades, 1400 on Lower Nanty, and put-in sidewalk covered.  Temps in the mid to upper 60's. Water was a bit colder than usual Upper Nanty release; I wore a drytop and neoprene shorts. Video here.
May 2 Float The Lazy River.   BCC class on the Cahaba, Grants Mill to Overton, level 180.   Air temp 70ish, water temp chilly.  Sunshine, great day.  Photos here.
May 3 Mulberry.   Level under a foot.  (4.99 ft USGS). Taught a kayak private instruction to Julie L. With Joan S.  In the LL Remix 69.  Air temp up 70's-low 80's, water temp chilly.  Wonderful, wonderful day!  Photos here.
May 9-10 SERA.  With the B'ham Grotto including Kathy K.   Visited Buffalo Cove cave and Pickett rock shelter.  Photos here.
May 23 Hiwassee.  With Ry and Jenni.  In the Project X 56.  Beautiful day.
May 24.  Upper Ocoee.  With Wendy A.  and a slew of other shredders, canoeists, and kayakers.  In the Hyside Paddlecat.  Swam at Mikeys, dumped at Callahans, swam under the bridge.  ugh!  All's well that ends well.   First carnage via paddlecat since I bought it.
May 31 Float The Lazy River 2.  On the Lily section of the Cahaba (West Blocton).   In the LL Remix 69.   Gorgeous day.
...lack of photos due to losing my camera in my house after May 2nd trip.   Found it June 22nd.
June 13 Hiwassee.  With Christine B., Allie and Kirk.  In the Project X 56.
June 20 Bike Ride.  With Andy and Lynn.   On an 05 Specialized Allez Elite.
June 27-July 3 Week Of Rivers 2015.  Annual event hosted by the Carolina Canoe Club.
June 28- Nantahala, Ferebee thru falls, in the LL Stomper 80.  With Joan S., Linda D., Lorraine B., and joined by Wendy A. in her new Bakraft.
June 29- Tuck Town (Devil's Dip).  WS Project X 56.  With Joan S., Linda W., Lorraine B. Then a walk thru Bryson City, lunch at the Filling Station, great BLT.
June 30- Pigeon.  In the LL Stomper 80.  With Joan S., Greg M., Lorraine B.
July 1- Tuckaseegee Gorge.  In the WS Project X 56.  With Joan S., Linda D., Lorraine B., Charlotte in her new (used) Varun, others.   2 generators.
July 2- Canoe Clinic on the Nantahala, Ledges to Donnie Dutton.   In the Blackfly Option.  Led by Sarah R. with her dad Rich, Sue R. also in clinic.
July 3- Little Tennessee, in the Blackfly Option.  With many folks listed above also including Oci-one Kanubi.  Level 700, class I.
Photos for the Week of Rivers 2015 here.
July 4 BBQ and Party.   BBQ at my brother Frank's and SIL Rene's house, baby Iris and fam from New York, and niece Sophia visiting from New Zealand.
Then classic Southside B'ham party at kick-ass house, with pool, 3 bands, fireworks, everything...

July 11-19 NSS Convention.   Great time.  Camped with the Howells and Sewanee Grotto.
Sunday: Arrived at Convention, set up camp.
Monday: Trip to Carroll Cave, 3 hr trip, MUDDY, GORGEOUS.   Howdy Party at camp.
Tuesday: National sessions.
Wednesday: International Sessions.  Wed. night party.
Thursday: Float trip on Gasconade River.   Photo Salon Thurs. night.
Friday: Entrance visits to Tunnel Cave and Railroad Cave, then a stop by Roubidoux Springs with Danny C.  Banquet and awards that night.  Valerie H. received her NSS Fellowship.
Photos here.
Incredibly decorated Carroll Cave

Enormous entrance to Tunnel Cave
July 25-26 Old Timers Trip with the BCC.  In the Liquid Logic Remix 69.   Beautiful gorgeous days on the Hiwassee.  Didn't bring my camera so no pics.

Aug 1-2 BCC Intermediate Canoe Clinic.  In the Blackfly Option.  With members of the Birmingham Canoe Club, and the first appearance of Creepy Jack.  Photos here.

Aug 8-9 Hiwassee.  In the Blackfly Option. With the Lost Tribe, and Boy Scout masters and parents.
Photos here.

Aug 16 Bike Ride at Coldwater Mtn. and then Rappelling with the Gadsden Grotto.  At Cherokee Rock Village.  Photos here.

Aug 22-23 BCC Women's Trip/TVCC Meet-up.  On the Hiwassee. Saturday in the Blackfly Option; Sunday in the WS ProjectX56.  Photos here.

Aug 29 Coldwater Mtn. bike ride.  With Larry D.  We met at the Anniston trailhead, and went up through the Rabbit Hole, down Trillium, and returned to the Anniston trailhead.

Aug 30 Lake Howard bike ride, Sylacauga.  With Larry D., Randall D., Shiori I.   Two days of mtn. biking in a row kicked my a*#.   We went up Sylaward trail and through Lakeview Loop and COGS loop.

Sept 5 Sewanee Mtn. Grotto Cave Fest.   Visited Big Mouth Cave with Myrna A., Aaron A., and others.  Auction and pot-luck supper that night.

Sept 6 Ocoee.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Hot day, temps upper 80's. With Christine B., and David P., met up with many others.  Had a boater hit my elbow in the play wave of Staging Eddy, and swam. Ulnar nerve bruise.
First time on the Ocoee in a kayak this season.   The Hiwassee stole my heart this year.

Sept 7 Coldwater Mountain bike ride.  With Larry D., Ann A., and Randall D.  Achieved my goal of doing three different fun things on each different day of Labor Day Weekend.   I wore my creeking elbow pads, and did two laps of Baby Bear/Momma Bear, then one cool off lap on Baby Bear.  Meanwhile Larry and Ann went up Cassidy etc.   Later in the day, went to a birthday party for the princess, at Laura N.'s house, and played acoustic guitars with Ed R.

Photos of Labor Day weekend 2015 here.

Sept 12 Rolling Clinic/Instruction Hiwassee.  Taught a class to Charlotte and Rod.  Stayed the night at Christine's camper and watched football.  Went home Sunday.  Elbow injuries suck!

Sept 17 Missed Gauleyfest.  Pope in cuba

Sept 25-27 GAF 2015.  Stayed in cabin with team V.  Paddled the Upper Nantahala in the Octane with Steve I.   Video here.   Paddled the 'normal' Nantahala in the Stomper with the lost tribe.  Matthew and Colin were in my paddlecat.   Elbow still killing me.
Sunday - took photos and some videos at PBnJ rapid on the Upper Nantahala, and at the Nantahala cascades.  Videos of PBnJ edited together here.  Photos of GAF weekend here.

Oct 9-11 TAG Fall Cave-In 2015.  Much fun, went on a wild mushroom field trip, had hotdogs/brauts and fixings for the Sat. night supper with the B'ham grotto, and there was an 80's hair band as the music after the announcements.  Photos here.

Oct 11  The Ticks at Daniel Day Gallery.   Even more fun, great sunny day at the gallery, awesome time!

Oct 23-26 Elmo's Wedding in NYC.  Wonderful time!

Oct 31 Coosa.  6000cfs, last scheduled release of the season.  In the WS Project X 56.  With Joan, Julie, and Linda B.  Beautiful float.

Nov 8 Lovick section of the Cahaba.  In the Stomper 80.  With Clayton.  Level 250ish, about as low level as would make runnable.  The last rapid really wasn't runnable per se, we just bashed down wet rocks.  Air temp upper 50's, nice float, approx. 3 hrs.  considerable flatwater, class I rapids.  Kingfishers and ducks.

Nov 14 Anvil Cave.  With the Birmingham Grotto, Joan S. and Joy C.

Nov 21 Mulberry.  In the Stomper 80.  With Andy and Lynn, and Clayton and Kah Yee.  Level about 6-8 inches on the bridge, air temps upper 60's.  Training wheels still a hole,  Lunchstop was delightful, 5-0 was shallow.

Nov 27 Stephen's Gap.  With Sewannee Mtn. Grotto.
Nov 28 Coldwater Mtn. bike ride.   With Randall and Shiori.
Nov 29 Sylaward Park mtn. bike ride.  With Randall, Shiori, Ann and Becky.

Dec 5 Locust Fork.  In the Stomper 80.  Level on online gauge 2.81.  Sunny day, air temps started in upper 40's/low 50's, as I left was 58F. With the BCC. Lowish level.
Dec 6 Tumbling Rock Cave.  With Joan S., Joy C., Dave and Valerie H., Andy Z., Shiori I and Jessica G..   Photos here.
Dec 14 Johnsons Crook Cave.  With the B'ham Grotto.  Air temps outside in the upper 60's.  Video here.  Photos here.
Dec 22 Locust Fork.  In the Stomper 80.  Level on online gauge 2.4ish.  Foggy, air temps in the upper 60's.

Me on the Locust Fork 12-22-15.  Photo by Chuck Neese

Dec 25 The Ticks at the Nick.  Floods, thunderstorms, tornadoes, yet still we played and many friends showed up.  The Dirty Lungs opened, great band.

December 5, 2015

Kitty Cat 7

Kitty Cat 6 needs work; meanwhile I just caught myself singing to my cat again so here is Kitty Cat 7.

November 25, 2015

A Perfect Fit

A friend of mine keeps posting songs I love yet have forgotten on his facebook page, here is one:

November 22, 2015

A long long time ago long ago, I dunno how to think about it, The Ticks recorded this.  91 or 92... Anyway, the other day I found it on a decrepit, disintegrating cassette tape.   You can hear the tape noise as it rolls before the song starts.  Classic Ed: it's not a happy song, in fact it's sarcastic and biting and telling the damn truth.

This picture was taken around then:

Ticks with original drummer Tim Bagley early 1990s

My memory fades but I think that recording was the first time I used the Marshall half-stack JCM 900, which I borrowed from a friend, who sold the rig to me a couple of years later.

Well, now we're doing some reunion shows, next one will be at the Nick on Christmas night.  we used to do this Christmas night show back in the 90's, so it is fitting that we do so again.  We did a show at Daniel Day Gallery in October, this photo is from that show:
Ticks at Daniel Day Gallery in October 2015 with drummer Carey Jacks

We kinda look different, but I think we sound better than ever.

November 13, 2015

My first horizontal caving trip as an adult

In December 2000, or January 2001, I'm not sure which, I went on my first horizontal cave trip as an adult, on what I was to find out afterwards was a dare. Kelly Norble had dared John Van Swearingen IV to do the thru trip from the upper entrance of Hurricane Cave, down and out of the lower entrance. 
Very few people to my knowledge have actually done this trip.
I weighed about 30 lbs less at the time, (long story why) which means I would not fit in the upper entrance if I tried today. I truly was surprised I fit when I did the trip back then.
At the time, I thought I was being tested to see if I had what it takes to be a caver, kind of like being beaten into a gang, only with better scenery. As it turned out, it was not the case; I was just along on a different, more sporting kind of trip than Hurricane Cave usually doles out.
I wrote a trip report for the Birmingham Grotto newsletter afterwards, and today I found that old newsletter in the grotto archives. Since it is in pdf form, I can only post images of the two pages of the trip report. It amused me to re-read what I wrote so long ago, so here they are:

There I am on the cover of that month's newsletter with the white helmet on, behind Scott and Amy Parvin, Crissy Frotten in the background, Scott Fee on the hill to the right, at the entrance to Blowing Saltpeter Cave.  I had been bitten by the caving bug.  I'm afraid it's a life-long condition.

...and for those curious as to my first horizontal cave trip ever, it was Anderson Cave back when I was 11 years old.

October 20, 2015

Kitty Cat Song 5

Yes.  I sang this.  To my cat.  For realz.

October 14, 2015

Beautiful art

My good friend Wendy's mother is in hospice.  Her one wish before she died was to be famous as an artist. Perhaps sharing this image can help grant this wish today as she is passing. Janis Arthur, a mom, artist, and so much more. 

The Ticks

Want to know more/hear more about The Ticks, the band I was in for most of the 1990's?  Go here:

and here:

We have had two reunion shows, one in February and one in October.  We have another show, CHRISTMAS NIGHT at THE NICK just like we used to do in the 1990's.  Come have fun with us!

Whistling Away The Dark

October 12, 2015

Kitty Cat 4

Yeah, right as I thought I was ready to go to sleep, I caught myself singing this to Clare Kitty, so I had to jot it down.  This is not as easy as I thought it would be.  And I didn't think it would be easy.

KMart music

This is... wonderful.

shaggy mane

Great time playing with The Ticks in a reunion show at Daniel Day gallery yesterday

October 1, 2015

September 24, 2015

Kitty Cat 3

I am tired of wrestling with the software trying to show the proper syncopation of the bass line for this song I sang to my cat last night, so whatever.   It's hard enough to realize I'm singing to her and scramble to write it down.   Here is Kitty Cat song # 3.

September 22, 2015

Christine in the Pyranha Loki

I went on the Ocoee with Christine recently and she showed me why she likes the Pyranha Loki so much.   This boat is great for stern squirts and enders.  

Christine in the Pyranha Loki from Dangerjudy on Vimeo.

September 20, 2015

Kitty Cat 2

I'm starting to see a common theme here.  As in, the lyrics don't really change from kitty cat song to kitty cat song. Ah well. It's not the point anyway.  Lauding my cat is the point.

September 13, 2015

Kitty Cat songs

I spontaneously sing to my cat Clare every time I come home.    It is something different every time.  I decided to try to start saving the praise n' worship cat songs.  Since I don't want to sing them in a video, here's a version using noteflight.

September 11, 2015

List of cousins

More family tree stuff.  I have several first cousins.  I can't remember them all so here's a helpful list. 


Vincent (Bubby) and Martha Woody
Joe Burl, Johnny (BeBop),  and Sid (Vincent)

Andrew and Rosa Macanally
Tony, Theresa, Regina-Rosina, and Cathey

Tommy and Matilda Rosato
Michael, Lucien and Tommy

Joe and Betty McCain (son named Jerry)
Paula, Carole, Yolanda, Joanne, ?

Kitty and Dale Carra

May and Sam Cantavespre
Francis, Kathy, and Rita

Rosalie and Gerral Turner
Mary Elizabeth, Chris, Tracy, Jay, and Patrick

Sara and Sam Ranelli
Frank, Marilyn, Sam, Kathy, Ricky, and Judy


Frank and Carrie LaRussa (brother was abbajabba)
Mary Ann, Carmela, Eddie, and J.C.

John and Francis Marino
Frank, Jack and John

Vincent and Tina Campisi
Marie, Jeannie, and Freddy

Joe and Lena Rosato
Mary Joe, Josephine, Francis Anne, and Virginia (Ginger)

Sam and Sara Butera
Frank, Marilyn, Sam, Kathy, Ricky, and Judy

Virginia and Frank Colley
Phyllis, Mary, and Dennis

September 1, 2015

August 15, 2015

Entrance to Carroll Cave


Entering Carroll Cave from Dangerjudy on Vimeo.

Trip Report:

NSS Convention and visit to Carroll Cave

This year's convention was in Waynesville, Mo.   I went in a convoy headed by Dave and Valerie Howell in their rental car.  Even though it was just two cars, I felt convoy was an appropriate term.
Normally I do not go caving during convention.  There are so many things to do in other parts of the country that we cannot do here in TAG, whereas we have some of the best caves in the world here in our backyard.  So, even though I brought all of my caving gear, I had no real intention of using it.

After we arrived at the Waynesville High School to sign into registration, I picked up a newsletter for the day (a rag called, if I recall correctly, the Daily Towel) and stuffed it into my purse.  We went back to the campground and set up our tents.  Finally sitting down in my camp chair with a cold beverage, I read the newsletter, to find myself looking at the cave trips for the next day.

3 short trips a day were being led to Carroll Cave, in addition to longer trips to the same cave.  The 3 hour trip seemed like a nice idea.  "Easy" was the succint description, and then there was a paragraph or two about the challenges of the entrance, and the gear required to negotiate said entrance.

Carroll Cave's historic entrance has been closed to cavers for years.  The cave is the second longest in Missouri, at 20 miles + mapped, and cavers being stubborn, clever types, came up with a way to maintain access to the cave. In short, they blasted an entrance.  This newer entrance is a 120' deep tunnel, through solid rock, encased at the top by a metal culvert, inside the bottom of what I am guessing was a tank for holding water in a water tower, over which there is a metal grain silo repurposed to protect the tunnel entrance.

The tunnel itself is solid rock, with water dripping down the center and sides.  There is a metal ladder that runs the entire length of the tunnel, to the cave floor beneath.  There is also a steel cable with a clamp system for people who do not have descending gear.  The passage requires one to wear a harness, and either descend a caving rope, or climb down the rungs of the ladder while safetied to the steel cable.
Getting out requires climbing the ladder; there isn't room for ascending gear.  You'd just be banging into the rungs of the ladder the entire time.  Safety going up can either be the clamp/steel cable get-up, or in my case, a croll on the rope with my frogging harness.

It's quite an engineering feat, how determined cavers built this tunnel into Carroll Cave.

So, back in my camp chair, in the heat of the afternoon, I read the warnings about the tunnel, the required gear, and the necessity to climb the ladder back out.  "That doesn't sound too hard" I thought, and the trip description of "Easy" seemed straightforward enough, so I decided to go on the morning trip. 

While finding out who to tell or where to sign up to get on this trip, I met many other people, including Missouri cavers who all told me to be sure to bring my camera because the cave was so decorated.  This is right up my proverbial caving alley; I love pretties.  
I drove to the entrance location, which was in a gated field with no shade.   The morning was already hot; I believe the day ended up in the mid to upper 90's F.  The only shade was a couple of pop-up canopies near the silo.  There were about 10 people in our group.  I was sweating pretty bad by the time I got all of my gear on.   I had on Wunderwear shorts over some Chilliheads polypro pants, a t-shirt, my knee pads, elbow pads, frogging harness, croll, ascension, swago pack,and my 18" rack; I had forgotten to pack my micro-rack.   I had my new go-pro camera on for its second trip underground.  At the last moment I decided to tether the camera to my helmet, because I didn't trust the glue on the helmet mount.   I was rushing to get out of the sun, and forgot to bring the spare battery. It was hot as hell and here were some of the other people on the trip wearing shortie wetsuits.  hmmmm.  
We signed waivers and went into the silo one by one.  There was a climb-down ladder about 8-10' tall, to the floor of the steel tank.  The entrance to the tunnel was in the floor of the tank; there was a metal culvert surrounding the top of the tunnel.  
I watched someone get on rope and go down, and I had some trepidation about the whole thing.   It was just... intimidating.  
I was next on rope, and struggled to get five bars on the rope while being stuffed in the culvert; hard to describe but that 18" rack was just too big.  The other cavers had hung their packs off of a tether, but I didn't have something to tether with handy.  The guys at the top said I would probably fit ok with the swago pack on my back.   Finally down I went.
The swago pack did get jammed in the tunnel, and kept pushing my helmet up over my eyes.  There was water dripping down the tunnel, which felt wonderful after all the heat upstairs.
The rappel got easier past a bottleneck and I popped out into a wonderfully air-conditioned cave room.  
The others came down and we took off our vertical gear and proceeded down walking passage.   And this is where I started to be surprised.
I didn't research Missouri caves at all.  Didn't even occur to me.  Well, now you shall know that Missouri caves are Muddy.  Capitol M Muddy.
We had walked to a place where there was an exposed shelf that required crawling, only the crawling was in peanut-butter mud.   This was the way to some serious pretties.   I got on my hands and knees, and at times on my belly, and thanked the mud for being so sticky that there was no way I could slide off the shelf into the water/rock some 20 feet below.  And I got filthy with mud.   Suddenly this was an actual caving trip, not just a walk-around-and-photograph-pretties trip.    
After the mud crawl we crossed a stream and went into rooms with ceilings crowded with stals, a white gypsum waterfall formation, and a group of very aggrivated bats.  The bats were a surprise to the trip leaders, who said they hadn't been there the day before.  The bats flew around us as we tried to quickly take photos/video.
We went back through the stream crossing, up into the mud crawl again, and back past the entrance tunnel down mostly walking passage that contained room after room of decorations.  There was however a lot of mud and stream walking.  There was one lagoon of mud that I sank up to my knees in trying to get through.   This was hilarious to watch as people strugged to get through it without falling face first into the mud.  Coming back, I sank up to almost one hip in this mud, and wondered if I could get my leg out with my shoe attached (I did).   Visions of quicksand danced in my head.  
The pretties became over-whelming.   I can honestly say this is one of the best, most decorated caves I have ever visited, and my mind stopped processing all of the scenery.  Some breakdown climbs, some more mud, streambed walking, more mud, and every kind of cave formation.   Finally we came to a stream passage that we were assured would go chest-deep on some of us.  And I said, "I am tired and I want to stay here while y'all go on".  Two other cavers chose to stay with me, the others waded off into infinity.  Now I knew why some had worn shortie wetsuits.  I was cold.
Shake your heads at me all you want, but as the others sloshed away, I turned to the two cavers who stayed with me, and said, "I feel like we've had a joke played on us".   The trip description without any mention of getting generously slathered in mud seemed like a prank to me down there.  I also knew, the only way back was through that very same mud.  But I was grinning.   It was so worth it.
The others came back after about 40 minutes, and we headed back to the tunnel.   It was so fast getting back, that I realized we had taken a long time to go a short distance, due to everyone's photography efforts.    I put on my gear and climbed up the ladder.  I climbed 10 rungs and then rested, several times, to pace myself.   No problem.   I believe our trip was about 4 hours.   Headed back to camp and did some serious deconning and demudding of my clothes and gear with a pressure washer at the decon station.
I would love to go back to Carroll Cave and see some more of this cave.   It is fantastic.  In fact that whole part of Missouri is wonderful, with so many caves, float trips, springs, and other sights to see.   I will be back.

July 21, 2015


The first pit I ever did, and one of the most beautiful places I have ever been:

July 9, 2015

How to check 18650 caving light batteries with a Multi-meter

I'm making this post so the next time I forget, I have the directions handy.

Set the multimeter to 20 DCV

4.2 volts 100%
4.1 about 90%
4.0 about 80%
3.9 about 60%
3.8 about 40%
3.7 about 20%
3.6 empty for practical purposes
3.5 over-discharged

June 23, 2015

This song makes no sense to me...

...However Donna posted the best explanation of it I have ever heard:
 "I think it's about a man nuts about a psycho who does mean things and calls it love.  Odd song for him to shoot a video of for his own wedding!"
...btw they divorced.


May 20, 2015

May 3, 2015

Blue Hole Canoe information

I had some questions about classic Blue Hole Canoe designs and posted them on GDI. Got some great answers and I'm saving them here so I always have the information:

What is the difference between a blue hole starburst and oca?

Kevin H: Starburst has more rocker. I believe it is about 6" longer than the OCA. The Starburst was only in production for 1 or 2 years so they are harder to find.

Kelly M: Kevin is correct. The Blue Hole OCA was renamed the Prowler by Evergreen after they bought the molds from Blue Hole. The original Blue Hole Cumberland was also renamed the Starburst. Two very different boats. The OCA was more of a cross over canoe. You will not find the OCA around as much. You will find the more whitewater specific Cumberland/Starburst. You can see the original design Cumberland/starburst from Steve Scarborough in the Esquif Canyon and the Nova Craft Moisie. Now that Royalex is done Nova Craft is brining the original Cumberland/Starburts back in "Entegra" in the fall.

BBarnett W:  What Kelly Mc indicates as the design intent may be true... but the reality was the OCA was /is a far superior whitewater boat than the big lumbering Starburst. AND there were vastly more OCAs sold than Starburst.

Kelly M:  "Superior" is questionable. It's is just a deferent boat. The starburst is a "lumbering" beast but it is better in really big water. It's deeper and has more volume. Therefore drier and better for bigger water tripping.

Kelly M:  If you want a more performance orientated canoe I agree the OCA is better.

Roy T The Starburst is a great big water tandem canoe. More rocker and deeper than the OCA. I have a Starburst and it is a great boat for taking new paddlers down the Ocoee. I'd rather have a Starburst than an OCA. No ABS boats that size are really "performance" boats. For boats that size, the Mad River Explorer out performs them both.

Ryland GEvergreen made a starburst. I think nova craft made a similar hull.

BBarnett W:  Kelly , I'm not sure what you're calling big water but I've had an OCA on big water (in TN, Colo, N. Mex, Ga, etc) that I would not have tried OR wanted to rely on a Starburst in tough cross go from Pt A to Pt B ... "lumbering" is not a good quality to have in those waters. OCAs could get wet due to lower freeboard (and poor skills) but I'd take wetter over lumbering anyday.
Speercraft, Arkansas Traveler (?) , and one (?) of the big northeastern boat makers also made an "OCA type" boat.

April 29, 2015

Low Head Dams

This innocuous looking low head dam took the lives of two people last Saturday.  One was a recreational kayaker who reportedly did not have on a life vest.  The second was a volunteer member of a rescue unit sent to help.

We paddlers call low head dams "drowning machines".    Here is a presentation about why they are so dangerous:

April 28, 2015

Thinking of Joni Mitchell

I am filled with sadness over her illness.  Here she is in my favorite example of her magnificent, gorgeous voice, her guitar, her lyrics, everything.

Upper Nantahala in my Hyside paddlecat

Upper Nanty in Hyside paddlecat from Dangerjudy on Vimeo

The reported level on the Cascades was 650, and the Lower Nanty was reported as 1400, and the put-in sidewalk was covered with water, so it was plenty, and a good level for the paddlecat.

April 22, 2015

March 19, 2015

January 27, 2015

January 14, 2015

Great version of a Stevie Wonder song

Great article about the making of Deliverance

"Deliverance" is a movie that inspired a whole generation of boaters in the Southeast and beyond to start paddling whitewater.   This is kind of odd because it is, in my opinion, a horror movie; one of the best ever made.   Below is a link to an article about making the film from the perspective of some local paddlers who helped film the whitewater scenes in the movie.