May 28, 2015

Swamp Springs

We came to Alfred Crabtree's property the night before to camp and ended up camping in our car which was a change of pace and worked out quite well. We were actually able to fit in the Subaru.  The morning broke and the warm air started to burn off the dew from the night before. Birds chirped, larger birds coasted above the tree lines and a beautiful property on the cane creek was visible throughout the shoreline of this site.
Swamp Springs

 To back it up a bit as to why we are here, I initially secured access to visit a closed cave on state park lands called Black Rock River Cave or Dark River Cave. Years ago cave divers pushed a sump from Windy River Cave and they believed they popped into Black Rock River cave.
Kayaking to Swamp Springs

 Unsure of their where abouts, they left the line and a line arrow in the insurgence of where they made their dive. They are pretty certain the made the connection but I wanted to make sure the connection was made because this is a important piece of information as to how the hydrology of the Rumbling Falls System operates which is though to come from indian spring, into black rock river, into windy river, and on into Rumbling Falls. Furthermore, significant passage is yet to be discovered in the already 16 mile cave system. Unfortunatly, we were not able to access the cave due to technical logistics not working out with the DNR so a future trip to black rock river will have to happen but for now we can assume that those two caves are connected. Swamp Springs is the main drainage for Rumbling Falls and Thunder Run appears to be a overflow system recharging when swamp springs floods. We went to visit where the resurgence of Swamp Springs drains all the water from the cave when Tim and Janice Curtis showed up with kayaks.
Tim Curtis at Swamp Springs
This was a nice change of pace and finally we were able to get some sun and enjoy the warm weather as we kayaked up river to the resurgence of Swamp Springs.

Tim Curtis at Swamp Springs Resurgence
After about a half hour, we made it to the breakdown piles where the water leaves the caves permanently.  It was interesting to see this as this is the bitter end of Rumbling Falls.  I could feel wind blowing out of some of the rocks and I am sure there are leads just beyond those breakdown piles that will lead to the cave itself.
Kayaking to Swamp Springs Cave

  There is another entrance to the cave that I will like to visit another time, but for now we all enjoyed a nice paddle up and down the river.  Eventually we made it back to the property and decided on grabbing something to eat while we made our way back towards Chicago.  Tim and Janice were awesome and I am so grateful for them to bring kayaks for us to use on the river.  That was a real treat and we had a blast meeting them and hearing about some of the photography stories from the past.   
Tim Curtis inspecting the Resurgence at Swamp Springs Cave

FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/exploration-worldwide/sets/72157653151182279

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