(Sligo Lewisburg-Area Meeting)
George and Adrian had suggested a Sligo trip to the Lewisburg area sometime this year, because Lewisburg is about the geographic center of most active Sligo cavers. We picked the Veteran's Day weekend of November 9-10 because there were the fewest conflicts with other events. We later found out the WVCC banquet was also that weekend in Lewisburg, which caused a minor run on motel rooms.
Most of us drove in on Friday night. Saturday morning the gang all gathered at the Western Sizzlin for the cheap breakfast bar and to discuss the day's plans. After fueling ourselves for the day, we all headed down to Greenville Saltpeter Cave. George, Adrian, Jim and others had been there for a video shoot, but didn't have time to see much of the cave. We had previously obtained permission to go to the cave from the Institue of Earch Education, so we dropped off our permission forms at the IEE and headed to the cave. We headed in the Hilltop entrance, and most people thought Jim was joking when he said that the 5' entrance was the tightest part of the cave. We did a loop or two through the cave, seeing almost everything but the Millpond entrance area, which is closed in the winter to protect bats. We tried to count the bats we saw in the rest of the cave, but had to give up because there were so many. A few exited early to nurse some bad headaches, but the rest of us found the Saltpeter area, which is one of the most extensive workings any of us had ever seen. A side passage near the Saltpeter entrance led to the Haystack, a very large and impressive flowstone pile.
A cavers headed off to the WVCC banquet, and the rest of us went off for pizza at the Pizza Hut. While the trip was still fresh in our minds, we all contributed to a mass trip report before heading back to the Sunset Terrace Motel for our evening party.
Sunday we got off to a slower start than Saturday, and we all regrouped at the Western Sizzlin. While we were eating, a small group of cavers from Ohio and Virginia came in, and were wondering what to do that day. We invited them to go with us to Rehobeth Church Cave, and they gladly accepted. We enjoyed the view of the historic church while we geared up, and then we headed off to the cave. It had rained Saturday night, so there was some water running into the cave, but not enough to worry about. The cave is an interesting combination of clean stream passages, large rooms filled with giant mud banks, and sections of nice formations. We climbed and scrambled downstream to the climbup into the Zoo Room, where we explored a number of formation areas. We then headed back under a short duck-under which immediately opened up again into a clean walking passage that lead us to the Kondasum, a large room with numerous nice formations. Back at the main stream passage, a few of us ventured further thru some miserable crawls and squeezes trying to find the Long Room, but we didn't go quite far enough and found ourselves back in the Zoo Room instead. The others had started out, so we followed suit. It was a long drive home for many of us, and we wanted to get home that night, so we took a beautiful shortcut back to I-64. A major hazmat multi-truck accident on I-81 interfered with getting home that night, but that is another story!
A few of the Sligo cavers who were staying Sunday night took the Ohio cavers to Haynes Cave on the way home, and another party ensued afterwards. A few stragglers got a tour of the Bubble Cave property on Monday, putting a nice finishing touch on a GREAT weekend!