October 01, 2014

Adam Haydock in Doghill Cave indiana
We drove to the landowners house in bedford and pulled up to a nice property with a river leading towards the wood and to the entrance of Doghill cave.  The landowners were very welcoming and were glad we took an interest in visiting the cave.  The entrance is a large walking entrance and one of the bigger entrances I have seen for Indiana standards. We all entered the cave and proceeded through the stoop walking and around the meandering stream passage until we got to a sand bar where we took a break.  One of the members got too exerted to continue and made a honorable decision to turn around and exit the cave.  We had a experienced caver follow him out to make sure he was able to exit in good care.  Ahead of us was a stream crawling passage and a place where the challenges started to develop. I wanted to keep the team moving as we were working ourselves towards a chill and we had a lot of water to negotiate ahead of us. 
We all had wetsuits but full immersion in water will only slow the hypothermic process for some of group so we had some more people wait back for the caver to come back.  So I took half of the group and the other half stayed back.  we proceeded through the low stream crawl and popped up into a breakdown room and onto another larger room where we found another group coming from the donahue cave connection. We stopped to talk with them for a bit and continued on down the passage as the corridor expanded to a 20x20 passage traversing over breakdown until the stream turned into a canyon passage. 
Now this is where it got really interesting!!!
canyon Passage in Doghill Cave

The watercourse carved out a heavily fluted and scalloped Mosaic of talon outcroppings with chandelier flow stones hanging above us. 

Doghill Cave
Nicole said that this passage reminded her of the Subway in Zion National Park and it sure did look very similar to Zion National Parks slot canyon systems.  We encountered a series of rim stone dam waterfalls with deep water as we swam from one pool to the next while descending down to a chert and a joint level where the watercourse made a right hand turn under a flow stone.  We all had to push through and under this tight flow stone with water streaming under our necks but everyone made it past in good spirits. 

duck under passage Doghill cave

We continued down to a flow stone climb and I noticed some of the weary team with glazed eyes and falling a bit more than earlier. I knew they were starting to get a bit tired and col as we waited to make decisions. We all climbed up on a mound and proceeded to stem over a canyon passage where one of the team had enough and wanted to get out. We had a few others that wanted to keep going but it was critical for this person to get out so I assigned two experienced cavers to the exit group which consisted of Brandon, Stacey, Nicole, and Dutch. They had some challenges scaling over the rim stone dams but they were able to work as an effective team to keep moving and get the job done. Ken Gina, and Joe wanted to keep going, so I allowed 10 minutes to be back to where I was as I wanted to take pictures of the cave
Adam Haydock in Doghill Cave

I did not want to push deeper I to the cave as I wanted to be in the middle of both groups so if the team ahead of me needed help, they can get me and I am not far away from the team behind me. Soon after that group of three went deeper into the cave, Tom, Jorge, Phil, Sooz, Brian, and Cindy came around the corner so I had Tom speed up to Joe, Ken, and Gina while the others caught up to them to go through the low air plugs and the other group made their exit. 
  I was by myself and I enjoyed the beauty of this section of the cave!

Doghill Cave

  It reminded me a bit of Shiloh cave and Rocky River Cave with the rim stone dams and the sharp fluted walls. I would have helped if I had some models with me but I think I. Was able to pull it off decently as the others enjoyed the rest I the cave. After almost an hour of photos, I decided to make a solo exit out of the cave as I was not sure if the others made a exit out of Donahue or will traverse back. It was rather interesting and enjoyable to walk through the cave finding my way out which was not a challenge to do but it was nice to be away from everything and have some quiet time. I got out of the cave and the sun was just about to go go down. Everyone that made it out was dressed and relaxed which was good to see. I was able to debrief a bit and talk about what happened. About an hour later Brian, sooz, and Jorge came out of the cave and try described to me that a caver started to get cold and had to exit the cave quickly. The remaining cavers came back out another 45 minutes later with some tired and weary cavers. Everyone got out safe but I think some of us got to learn about team planning, the hypothermic cycle, decision making, and how fast situations can turn into shit shows. These are remote places so we have to rely on each other to ensure we are all safe and everyone did a fantastic job communicating and knowing their limits. It's no joke in a full days worth of caving and I think most of us got to define that in their own perspective. 
Adam Haydock in Doghill cave

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