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The Big Bend Chat Archives => Big Bend National Park Q&A => Topic started by: 10ftTall&BulletPrf on March 07, 2006, 09:33:42 AM

Title: Caves?
Post by: 10ftTall&BulletPrf on March 07, 2006, 09:33:42 AM
So, in a couple of threads, caves have been mentioned as asides. One was mentioned in the Casa Grande thread.

Are there numerous caves in the park? Where abouts?  

I love finding caves but you won't catch me going into them. I don't ever enter someone's home without an invite.  :wink:
Title: Caves?
Post by: WL2 on March 07, 2006, 05:03:58 PM
Now here is a subject that is interesting.  We cannot find official locations of caves since most are very sentisitive for one reason or another.  Even if we do know a location, giving it out would be inviting damage.  However, if we do not talk about exact locations there have to be some interesting things about the caves in the park.  

For instance there is a bat cave somewhere on Emory peak.  This is no secret.  Google it and you will find a lot of information.  Anyone seen it or the bats coming out at sunset?  

There is also a cave listed as 'flower cave' due to the mineral deposits located there.  Again google it and up it pops.  I think some of the mineral are rare.  Any geologist or cavers care to let us know a little more about what they saw inside?

There are also some caves listed on the 1:24000 topos.  These are obviously no secret.  Has anyone been to one of them.
Title: Caves?
Post by: BigBendHiker on March 07, 2006, 06:42:44 PM
Quote from: "WL2"
There is also a cave listed as 'flower cave' due to the mineral deposits located there.  Again google it and up it pops.  I think some of the mineral are rare.  Any geologist or cavers care to let us know a little more about what they saw inside?

Thanks, WL2 for the information...here is what Google turned up...would be neat to explore this one:
http://www.caves.org/pub/journal/PDF/V43/v43n4-Hill-Mineralogy.htm

In her book, "Beneath the Window", Patricia Wilson Clothier talks of a cave they referred to as "Alum Cave".  Wonder if Alum Cave and Flower Cave are one and the same?
Title: Caves?
Post by: 01ACRViper on March 07, 2006, 07:10:14 PM
there is an enormous books of texas caves in the library i'm going to go look through now  :shock:
Title: Caves?
Post by: travii99 on March 31, 2006, 04:41:36 PM
There are actually several caves in the park.  Unfortunately most of them (that are more than just a small hole) are extremely difficult and dangerous to explore and require skilled caving techniques.  The cave at the top of Emory Peak is being surveyed by some Texas cavers right now and it requires a load of gear that needs hauling by horses.  Also, any and all caves require permits from the park before entering.

I haven't heard of Flower Cave, but have seen the caves on the topos.  Most caves are formed in limestone, not volcanic rock, so there won't be too many in the BB anyways.  The limestone that is there just doesn't seem to have too many caves in it either (lack of past hydrology).

There are a few people documenting and surveying the caves for the park, but it is all pretty hush hush..

TS
Title: Caves?
Post by: WL2 on March 31, 2006, 05:05:42 PM
Hush Hush is OK.  We do not need to know where they are to find out more about them.  So if any of you cavers want to talk about what you saw without letting us know where.  Speak up.
Title: Caves?
Post by: travii99 ? on April 01, 2006, 08:44:52 AM
Quote from: "WL2"
Hush Hush is OK. We do not need to know where they are to find out more about them. So if any of you cavers want to talk about what you saw without letting us know where. Speak up.

Sorry, that last one was written in a hurry.  Hush hush means that I don't know anything more about about what they are finding, and don't know who does.  

Emory Peak cave is a tall vertical fissure in the volcanic rock that has various "levels" produced by rocks wedged in the tight crevice.  Bats do use the cave in the summer months, but I don't know if there are that many.  The cave is basically just a large vertical crack with many levels that is both deep and wide (but tight).  I don't know what the status (length and depth) currently is, but I will see if I can get that info.

There is another sinkhole on the western half of the park that is also kind of dangerous.  It is a hole leading to a rock slide over a 60' pit (with rocks loose at the top).  The cave is about 178' deep and is basically similar to Emory Peak cave in that it is a vertical fissure.  Not much of interest in the caves.  I have no location on it either.

One caver actually came down with an unknown lung issue after being in Emory cave while dust got kicked up.  He was never able to  narrow it down to anything known.  It wasn't Histoplasmosis or any other known thing.

The caves on the topo maps in the Chisos, I haven't been to them, but heard that they are just shelter caves (again in volcanic rock, not good for long caves).  I wouldn't mind checking them out though..  Thats all I know.  Apparently there are some on the mexican side that might be easier to visit, except for the border issue!
Title: Caves?
Post by: Alchemist2000 (no login) on April 07, 2006, 08:45:44 PM
Quote from: "BigBendHiker"
In her book, "Beneath the Window", Patricia Wilson Clothier talks of a cave they referred to as "Alum Cave".  Wonder if Alum Cave and Flower Cave are one and the same?

I just finished this book and couldn't help but think the same thing after seeing the description of the Flower Cave here.  This is a description of a trip that Patricia Wilson and her family took in the summer of 1938, from pages 87-88 of "Beneath the Window":

"With the help of Sam, who loaned us extra horses and saddles, we took my aunt to picnic at the head of Blue Creek.  The Burnhams and Nails, plus Julia's cousins, Evelyn and Dorthy Burnam, rode with us past the tall columns of copper-colord layered rock, in strange pillars like twisted phantoms.  Mother and Daddy trailed in the International with food and camping supplies.

The adults stayed in the base camp of the moutain trail near Cedar Spring while the children climbed the side of Ward Mountain to the alum cave at the bottom of a tall bluff high above the camp.  The shallow cavern, backed with a white, powder-like wall of alum, sheltered us from the June wind.  From this place, I looked across the canyon to the mountains rimmed with layers of limestone, fading to a light blue in the distance."

Sure sounds like it could still be found!   :)   Anybody know about this?  Maybe if Viper goes exploring around Wade Mountain he can do some looking.
Title: Caves?
Post by: Alchemist2000 on April 07, 2006, 08:47:08 PM
Oops. :oops:  :oops:   I didn't realize I wasn't logged in.
Title: Caves?
Post by: BigBendHiker on April 07, 2006, 09:04:14 PM
Quote from: "Alchemist2000 (no login)"
Sure sounds like it could still be found!   :)   Anybody know about this?  Maybe if Viper goes exploring around Wade Mountain he can do some looking.

I have played around with Google Earth to see if I could spot any feature that looked like a cave, but to no avail.  I would sure like to know where it is.

BBH
Title: Rampant speculation on my part
Post by: Lemming_of_the_BDA on April 12, 2006, 09:30:28 PM
Quote from: "BigBendHiker"


In her book, "Beneath the Window", Patricia Wilson Clothier talks of a cave they referred to as "Alum Cave".  Wonder if Alum Cave and Flower Cave are one and the same?


This is directly from the description of "Flower Cave":
Quote
Darapskite occurs in Flower Cave, Big Bend National Park, Texas, as cave "flowers", crust, "hair", flowstone and stalactites.


This is the description Ms. Clothier gives us:
Quote
The shallow cavern, backed with a white, powder-like wall of alum, sheltered us from the June wind.


I'm skeptical that these caves are one and the same. I would think features such as cave flowers, hair, flowstone and stalactites aren't going to establish themselves in a cave that she describes as "shallow". I also think they are remarkable features, the type worth mentioning, which she doesn't.


As far as the location of Alum Cave, there are plenty of clues, but some of them are confusing and somewhat contradictory. This is Ms. Clothier's description:
Quote
"...we took my aunt to picnic at the head of Blue Creek. The Burnhams and Nails, plus Julia's cousins, Evelyn and Dorthy Burnam, rode with us past the tall columns of copper-colord layered rock, in strange pillars like twisted phantoms. Mother and Daddy trailed in the International with food and camping supplies.

The adults stayed in the base camp of the moutain trail near Cedar Spring while the children climbed the side of Ward Mountain to the alum cave at the bottom of a tall bluff high above the camp. The shallow cavern, backed with a white, powder-like wall of alum, sheltered us from the June wind. From this place, I looked across the canyon to the mountains rimmed with layers of limestone, fading to a light blue in the distance."


Based upon the description in the first paragraph, there's no doubt they were headed up Blue Creek Canyon, a.k.a. Red Rock(s) Canyon. Cedar Spring is in Blue Creek Canyon, but it is a substantial distance from the mountain. It wouldn't be a casual hike for a child. Plus, the mountain itself isn't actually Ward Mtn, except in the most general sense. Ward Mtn proper is a few miles north of the head of Blue Creek. She says the cave sheltered her from the June wind. I think the wind blows mostly South-North & vice-versa. That means the cave would be facing West, yet she says she looked across the canyon to the mountains. If she means Blue Creek Canyon, then she would be looking Southwest or South, which means she wouldn't be very sheltered.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this cave could be located fairly easily. Come January of 2007, I'm gonna look for it as part of a hike from Blue Creek Ranch to Laguna Meadows. I intend to turn north at the base of the ridge that extends south from Ward Mtn. This is where the head of Blue Creek is. I'm going to bushwack to Ward Spring along the base of this ridge. Then I'm going to U-turn back to Blue Creek Canyon and continue into the Chisos and Laguna Meadow.

This is pending ShaneA's approval, of course. :D
Title: Caves?
Post by: bdann on April 13, 2006, 12:01:20 AM
Hiking up Blue Creek in Nov '04 I spotted a cave, though it seemed rather difficult to reach.  You would indeed be looking Southwest were you perched up in said cave and I think you'd have a spectacular view, though I didn't attempt to reach the cave itself.

I suppose Ms. Clothier could be mistaken on the orientation of this cave, though who knows if what I saw is what she's referring too.
Title: Blue Creek Cave
Post by: Joe on April 13, 2006, 01:20:13 AM
Around 1974 while walking from Laguna Meadow down through Blue Creek Canyon, my hiking buddy and I walked up to the cave that bdann described. It's on the north side of the canyon, and you can't miss it.

I don't remember it being particularly hard to get to, but it was a long time ago and I was quite a bit younger.

It sounds like the description of Alum Cave. It was shallow and the walls were black from fires, but there were definitely no cave formations.
Title: Re: Rampant speculation on my part
Post by: 01ACRViper on April 13, 2006, 03:45:50 AM
Quote from: "Lemming_of_the_BDA"


Based upon the description in the first paragraph, there's no doubt they were headed up Blue Creek Canyon, a.k.a. Red Rock(s) Canyon. Cedar Spring is in Blue Creek Canyon, but it is a substantial distance from the mountain. It wouldn't be a casual hike for a child. Plus, the mountain itself isn't actually Ward Mtn, except in the most general sense. Ward Mtn proper is a few miles north of the head of Blue Creek. She says the cave sheltered her from the June wind. I think the wind blows mostly South-North & vice-versa. That means the cave would be facing West, yet she says she looked across the canyon to the mountains. If she means Blue Creek Canyon, then she would be looking Southwest or South, which means she wouldn't be very sheltered.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this cave could be located fairly easily. Come January of 2007, I'm gonna look for it as part of a hike from Blue Creek Ranch to Laguna Meadows. I intend to turn north at the base of the ridge that extends south from Ward Mtn. This is where the head of Blue Creek is. I'm going to bushwack to Ward Spring along the base of this ridge. Then I'm going to U-turn back to Blue Creek Canyon and continue into the Chisos and Laguna Meadow.

This is pending ShaneA's approval, of course. :D



ward mtn is actually a large pluton like pulliam and vernon bailey, and runs from carter peak to well beneath the south rim
Title: Caves?
Post by: Lemming_of_the_BDA on April 13, 2006, 08:39:04 AM
Quote from: "bdann"
Hiking up Blue Creek in Nov '04 I spotted a cave, though it seemed rather difficult to reach.  You would indeed be looking Southwest were you perched up in said cave and I think you'd have a spectacular view, though I didn't attempt to reach the cave itself.

I suppose Ms. Clothier could be mistaken on the orientation of this cave, though who knows if what I saw is what she's referring too.

Quote from: "Joe"
Around 1974 while walking from Laguna Meadow down through Blue Creek Canyon, my hiking buddy and I walked up to the cave that bdann described. It's on the north side of the canyon, and you can't miss it.

I don't remember it being particularly hard to get to, but it was a long time ago and I was quite a bit younger.

It sounds like the description of Alum Cave. It was shallow and the walls were black from fires, but there were definitely no cave formations.


The location and the description certainly seem to fit her details. Perhaps it's not such a secret after all.
Title: Caves?
Post by: 10ftTall&BulletPrf on April 13, 2006, 10:31:46 AM
I just want you guys to know how much I appreciate your posts!

I am just eating this stuff up and can't wait to go exploring myself!
Title: Cave in Blue Creek
Post by: TheWildWestGuy on April 14, 2006, 09:10:38 AM
On a hike from Blue Creek to Laguna Meadows I exited the main trail and went up to a large overhang/rockshelter on the NW side of the trail around ~5200' contour line.  You could see it from the trail and it was only a short distance away and higher up than the trail.  Looked like paleo indians had been using the spot but no cave paintings remained that I could find.  Lots of bear scat in the area. ... TWWG
Title: Caves?
Post by: Lemming_of_the_BDA on April 18, 2006, 04:17:26 PM
Quote from: "10ftTall&BulletPrf"


I am just eating this stuff up and can't wait to go exploring myself!


When do you expect to be back in the park? It's only 108 days until I get to go again. =P~
Title: Caves?
Post by: WL2 on April 18, 2006, 04:57:28 PM
I found another reference to a cave in BIBE.  It was called Knight cave.  A Frank Setzler worked it in 1931.  No mention of even the general area.
Title: Caves?
Post by: 10ftTall&BulletPrf on April 19, 2006, 08:27:48 AM
Quote from: "Lemming_of_the_BDA"

When do you expect to be back in the park? It's only 108 days until I get to go again. =P~


Not soon enough.  :(   :cry:  :(  :cry:
Title: Caves?
Post by: WL2 on April 25, 2006, 05:54:36 PM
It is starting to look like I like caves, but the simple truth is I keep finding references to caves while searching for other stuff.  Anyway the latest is the Mesa De Anguila Sinkhole.  Some 180 feet long and 65 feet deep.  See the link below.  Do not know where it is but a good guess in up on the mesa. :wink:

http://www.utexas.edu/tmm/sponsored_sites/tss/index.html
Title: Don't Worry...
Post by: SHANEA on April 25, 2006, 07:05:40 PM
Quote from: "WL2"
Do not know where it is but a good guess in up on the mesa. :wink:


Don't worry, I KNOW WHO WILL FIND IT :!:  :shock:
Title: Re: Don't Worry...
Post by: Bobcat on April 25, 2006, 07:11:35 PM
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "WL2"
Do not know where it is but a good guess in up on the mesa. :wink:


Don't worry, I KNOW WHO WILL FIND IT :!:  :shock:


Wonder who that would be :?:
Title: cave story
Post by: Anonymous on April 28, 2006, 12:23:19 AM
Interesting expedition to the cave at Aqua Fria:

Before a trip to BB in 2002 I  read about a place called Aqua Fria where there is a cave and cold spring.  There are also pictographs that have been sketched by Forrest Kirkland in his famous book.  My buddy and I decided to make an expedition and check it out.  Rangers told us that it was possibly on private land and be careful about not crossing any fences.  

We found the general location and set about exploring.  There was some mining in the area and a lot of the land was clearly owned by the mining company.  There were some old barbed wire fences that were no longer standing near the cave.  We went ahead and passed the sprawled barb wire and found the cave and spring.  The small cave had a thick layer of ash on the floor.  There were many faded pictographs.  It was a really cool site that was clearly an ideal habitation for indians.    We took some pictures & found a couple canyon lizards and started to head out.  About that time an old man in a pickup truck came storming down the dirt road.  We tried to hide in the mesquite brush but he came right to us with a shotgun.  

We explained to him what we were doing and how we had read about this historic site.  He informed us we were on private property and told us to get out or he would shoot us.  So we started walking our way out down the dirt road with the old man driving slowly behind us with the shotgun hanging out the window.  It felt like we walked 5 miles with that shotgun at our back.  We stopped at the end of the road and talked to the old guy for a couple minutes.  In the end we apologized to the old guy and we had a  laugh about it.  I'll never try that again.