October 03, 2014

Christopher G. Anderson in one of the Kayak Passages in Webster Cave.  Photo Taken by Christopher Anderson

First of all, I want to recognize all of the efforts that the WCCSG, WCG, Cave Country Kayaks, experts I worked with, and all the cavers on this expedition that have put in a great deal of effort in making this trip successful.  None of this could have ever happened without all of the hard work and dedication that our collective has.  We are on a endless pursuit to frontier new places where others have never been to and some might find our roads less traveled to be fraught with danger.  To others, the places that we pursue are something of a horror story but our vanguard finds comfort, inspiration, and fascination in the places that we seek to discover.  We are earnest in our resolve to leave the shores behind so we can find out what is beyond the beyond and experience the journey with our fellow brethren.  WCCSG, WCG, Cave Country Kayaks, the landowners that allowed us to access the caves, and the expedition group named in this blog below are that brethren and what made this and other exploratory trips successful.
Webster Cave WCCSG overview map
Nestled in the heart of Breckinridge County Kentucky, a 9.61 mile semi dry kayak accessible river cave system known as Webster Cave, serves as one of the most significant watercourse drainage systems in Sinking Creek Valley. This Valley is home to numerous caves in the immediate area including 12 significant multi mile cave systems that have shown some evidence of a connection by a multi-level matrix system of stream and river passages.  Webster cave is the largest and more hydro logically mysterious and aggressive than any of other the other cave systems in the Sinking Creek Valley region. Webster Cave is home to a 3 mile trunk passage up to 30 ft. in height with subterranean lakes and rivers that make traversing this cave by kayak, the best choice.   The system has been known to release an impressive amount of water out of the spring entrance in periods of heavy rain fall which is believed to be the main relief conduit for a 30 mile radius.  The treacherous and grueling environment demands visitors to be mindful of their surroundings which can include boot sucking mud, the extended wall to wall 54 degree water passages, and of course the drainage potential in rainy conditions commands attention. A few bad choices and this cave will spit you out in due to the water pressure levels or drag you down by your feet while going down the hypothermia trail.  
Epitome Lake First Portage in Webster Cave.  Photo By Christopher G. Anderson
The cave also holds some well kept secrets in the lower bowels of Webster Cave’s cold damp darkness.  One of the cave's best kept secrets is a lower level watercourse known as the Dempster Lake sump resurgence.  This Resurgence relieves a significant amount of water and disappears back underground with little evidence as to where it goes or where it is coming from.  For the past 20 years, the Webster Cave Complex Survey Group (WCCSG) has been surveying this well protected karst feature and efforts have been halted due to the technical and extensive water restrictions that they have encountered, especially in one of the most significant quadrants of the  cave, the Dempster Lake passage.  Only a dye trace and certified cave divers can even attempt to answer the questions as to what is beyond the dempster lake sumps.  Dye traces have been performed and there is some limited evidence that the water might feed into the historic and closed cave called Penitentiary cave.  The only other option was to establish an exploratory trip with a purpose to dive the resurgence at the back of Dempster Lake which is in one of the most remote parts of the cave situated 3 miles back from the entrance. The question remained for the WCCSG as to where they could find such a team with the technical, mental, and the physical ability that will be necessary to accomplish this task...until last Saturday.

Webster Avenue Webster Cave Photo By Christopher G. Anderson

When I accepted this project, I did some research on Webster cave before establishing a team that would be able to overcome the challenges that this expedition would bring while having fun doing it.
According to the data that I have initially gathered regarding the Webster cave system; this complex appeared to be more of an overflow watercourse system that recharges after a significant amount of flood water enters Dempster Lake.  The water table rises and the water pressure spills into the remaining cave.   After this trip, I now have a different opinion as to the overall waterworks in this cave system that I will explain later on. 
The connection to the Dempster Lake passage, resurgence, and the insurgence is down a mud slope to a lake with a perennial flow.  The resurgence itself was described to me as having a rock bottom, around 30 x 40 inches in diameter with a brittle ceiling.  In my opinion, this appeared to be significant as the sumps in this region usually has a silt or mud bottom with water low visibility and especially not as clear as how the visibility has been described to me in the Dempster lake resurgence.  Water appears to flow into the Webster Cave system from other caves in the area and may be a relief watercourse connection that recharges in the main trunk passage of Webster Cave spilling out the spring entrance.  The water also appears to be re surging out of boiling spring to the west/southwest of Webster Cave but the more that I researched this particular piece of evidence, I found that a dye trace appeared to have been connect in the insurgence/siphon of Webster cave's Dempster Lake into Penitentiary cave but I am still not clear on that dye trace.
The dive site appears to be in Mississippian Age St. Genevieve limestone with various chert layers as the rest of the cave system is mainly Mississippian Age St. Genevieve limestone . I believe that this may be a separate system that has connected itself to Webster Cave (or vise versa) through the force of water and water pressure in Webster cave’s overall waterworks theory in high water and flood stage events.   Furthermore,  due to the elevation plain of Dempster Lake, I believe that pushing into this resurgence will render a connection that will allow us to re surface into air passage and continue the survey that will bring the distance of the cave up to 10 miles and beyond.  Diving into Dempster Lake will be a significant passage as this appears to be one of the more ideal sumps to logistically dive into and will hopefully answer a lot of questions regarding the watercourse in Sinking Creek Valley, as well as give a better analysis as to how the hydrology affects Webster Cave.   As the expedition was taking action, we ALL found more interesting twists and surprises as to what was going on in and beyond the Dempster Lake Resurgence than we expected! 

Dempster Lake Quad Webster Cave WCCSG map

The next piece was to select a group of mentally and physically strong cavers with the capability of enduring the demanding environment that this kind of cave will render along with finding the right kind of cavers that can assist with the delivery of diving gear 3 miles back to the resurgence of Dempster Lake.  13 cavers were selected that have had solid experience in cave rescue, cave/sump diving, wilderness first response, mountain expedition, whom collectively gathered in Webster Kentucky Friday night to get setup at a basecamp that the WCCSG prepared for us.  The basecamp was furnished with a warming station, a bulletin board station, campsite quarters, a fire pit, a haul system for kayak lowering, portal potty, generators, medical personal on standby, and a lot of food and water for the participants.  This was a tremendous help for the group which helped prepare everyone for the demands that this bone chilling and mud sucking power sapping trip would be on everyone. We are going to a very remote location deep in the underground, will need to bring their best. Most of the kayaks were sponsored by Cave Country Kayaks and we are grateful for having these kayak rentals donated to our trip into Webster cave. 
I got to Webster Kentucky in the afternoon on Friday so I could get ready for the weekend and visit some of the nearby caves in the area to learn a bit more about what is going on in Sinking Creek Valley. 
Spring entrance to a cave in sinking Cove valley Kentucky.

Jeff and I went to visit some of the local springs and a cave with a very interesting history called Penitentiary Cave.  We drove up to the landowner’s house and got permission to visit this cave.  The cave is otherwise closed but we got access to view the lower level to get an idea of the overall watercourse.  What is interesting about this cave is that during the civil war era, prisoners were taken to this  collapsed passage sinkhole and kept here while guards circled around the collapsed passage.

Penitentiary Cave's collapsed sink passage where Civil War Prisoners were kept.
 Inside the cave there was a lot of graffiti on the walls that the captured soldiers  and prisoners burned into the walls with dates going back from the 1850s to after the civil war in the 1880s. 

Large flowstone in the back of Penitentiary Cave with Jeff Gillette at the top observing the Civil War prisoner Graffiti

Penitentiary Cave Grafitti

There was a large flowstone with a small amount of trickling water coming down from a karst faucet in this room.  On the other side of this room was a down climb that took me to a river passage that continued on for quite a distance. 
Penitentiary Cave flowstone with prisoner grafitti on the ceiling, Kentucky

 I did not travel the water passage due to all of the water and mud but I noticed a chert level and some interesting waterwork carved stone formations.

Penitentiary cave chert watercut formations
Penitentiary cave chert watercut formations.

Soon after leaving the cave, we went to Gerald's Hole which was recently opened up from a rain storm a year ago. Gerald's Hole is situated in the middle of a corn field, so Jeff and I went down into the entrance and observed a lot of mud crawling and low mud passage.  According to Jeff, they think that the cave connects to Webster Cave and might give some clues as to what is going on under the regional terrain as well as a connection between the Mulu passage and the surface.  I am saving this exploratory trip for someone on Sunday.
Jeff and I got back to the campsite and Brian Hunsaker shows up.  Throughout the night, people started to show up including Chris Parks and Steve Keene, Cody Miller and , Kevin Romanak and Justin Thompson.  Ken Penguin and Gina Schaefer show up at around 3 AM which was super late and only gave them 3-4 hrs. of sleep.  Throughout the foggy and cool night, we discussed out plan for the following day in terms of how we are going to approach this trip and the logistics behind it.  We also discussed our dive plan a bit while enjoying some awesome chili that Gerald Clayton made for us.  After a few beers, we went to bed to get a good night sleep for the following day. 
I got up early Saturday morning so I could get my dive gear ready and eat breakfast but I found that everyone took off to a restaurant to eat so I stayed back and prepared for the day. After everyone got back, we rounded up the crew and went over a general briefing.  Our plan was to bring the kayaks and the gear down a 20 ft steep slope to the entrance of the cave. 

Chris Parks and Adam Haydock briefing the group Photo By: Kevin romanak

We had 13 kayaks dropped off on the ledge so all we had to do was lower the kayaks into the entrance instead of dragging them 100 yards through the woods.  The entrance was a 200ft dry stoop walking passage that meandered right with another 100 ft of stoop walking dry mud passage that led us to the epitome lake passage and the remaining cave.  

Justin and Ken preparing to lower the kayaks into Webster Cave Kentucky Photo By: Gina Schaefer

 After our briefing at the bulletin station, 13 cavers worked together to bring the kayaks down with all the gear and proceeded to drag the fully loaded kayaks to the river junction at epitome Lake. 

Lowering Kayaks into Webster Cave Photo By: Gina Schaefer

Lowering kayaks into Webster Cave. Tanks just inside the cave. Photo By Gina Schaefer

 Once we got all the kayaks lined up and distributed the massive amount of gear evenly among the 13 kayaks at epitome lake,  we started to kayak upstream through the following quadrants, Epitome, Blindfish Bvld, and Parks Junction.  As our fleet of kayaks started moving upstream, the sounds of splashing water echoed throughout the passage like rolling water aggressively coming into the cave with cavers cheering and smiling while we all realized that we are actually kayaking inside a cave system!! Not only that, we are going to be kayaking for almost two of the three miles just to get to the dive site...So awesome!!!!!.

The Eiger is a large flowstone is the main trunk passage. photographer C. G. Anderson (foreground) and kayak-assisted Curtis Beasley

We had groups of 4-5 kayaks going in waves in our attempt to not create traffic at the portages but that was short lived.   Our sub groups turned into larger and smaller groups with people taking their time and enjoying the cave while enjoying each others company.  Eventually we made it to Parks Junction which is a main confluence that can take us to the canopy if we go to the left and dempster Lake to our right.   
Breakdown in Webster Cave Photo By Christopher Anderson
We continued down the kayak river passage and noticed the large and extremely old looking flowstone formations in the cave with some rising more than 20ft to the ceiling.  One of the flowstones is called "The Eiger" which was quite impressive to see.  We passed a few active karst faucets raining water down on us and worked our way  through The Marathon, The Necronome, and Geiger quadrants, until we got to the rocky Horror passage.  I could hear the rumbling sound of the kayaks drumming over the breakdown portages and it sounds like deep bass heavy booms and raging rapids as the weighted kayaks cross the portages. When we got to the Rocky Horror passage This was the point where it got interesting, we had to traverse all of the gear and kayaks across this obstacle course of large slippery breakdown until we got into the last lake section.

Rocky Horror Lake Webster Cave Photo Taken by Christopher G. Anderson

Everyone grinded together as we pushed through this challenge and got back to the last water passage leading the dempster Lake Quadrant.  We travelled this final section and entered a place with mud banks where we were able to set up and prepare for the dive.  We finally made it,.. the mud slope leading down to dempster lake.
Adam Haydock starting to Prepare for a Dive in the Dempster Lake Resurgence with Cody, laura, Pat, Chris, and Steve in the background.  Webster Cave Kentucky. Photo By Gina Schaefer

There was a 45 degree mud down slope going down into dempster lake with knee high thick boot sucking mud before we got to the dempster lake passage.  I fired up the jet boil to heat up some lunch and Steve, Chris, and I went over the dive plan. 

Steve Keene, Chris Parks, and Adam Haydock going over the dive plan with others in the background preparing to enter the dempster lake passage in Webster Cave Photo By Gina Schaefer

We had an idea of what we were going to do beforehand but wanted to make our final decisions when we got to this station and modify the plan once we got to the entrance sump.  We stationed some people at the top and some at the bottom so we could all communicate and move gear around.  Kevin took a timeline of notes as the events unfolded and Brian was overlooking the warming station as well as being the dive team liaison between the dive team and the rest of the group.

Chris, Steve and others getting ready for the dive in Webster Cave Kentucky. Photo By Gina Schaefer

This is where people can start getting cold so we made sure we had a lot of heating supplies available for people to utilize.  We kitted up our sidemounts and loaded one kayak with our regulators and other dive gear in pelican boxes and petzl drainage bags.

Ken Penguinn and Chris Parks working with some webbing. In the backround Kevin, and Steve prepare to enter Dempster Lake in Webster Cave Photo By Gina Schaefer

After we got down to dempster lake the kayak came down with half of the group while they helped to ensure that the kayak made it down without any issues.

Kevin, Justin, Jeff, Brian, and ken coming down the mud Slope into Dempster Lake in Webster Cave Kentucky. Photo By Gina Schaefer

 I noticed that the river was flowing a lot more than I expected and the visibility of the water is not what we were expecting.  Jeff looks at me in confusion and explains to me that it should not be like this and it has not rained within a 100 mile radius for at least a week. 

Dempster Lake passage with a higher than normal flow and zero viz water.  Photo by: Gina Schaefer

This creates a bit more of a challenge for us but also creates even more of a mystery as to what is going on beyond the sump and where all of this water is really coming from!  “We are here and we are doing this” is what I told Jeff, so we continued on to the last rocky break down to attach our regulators and tanks so we can prepare for the dive. 
Tanks Packed in the kayak. Photo By: Kevin Romanak

 I brought a snow picket to use as a tie off attachment point but we did not end up using it as we found a decent tie off point on the flaked ceiling.

Chris Parks and Adam Haydock Preparing to dive the Dempster Lake Resurgence Sump in Webster Cave, Kentucky. Photo by Justin Thompson

Once Chris, Steve, and I got all of our diving gear set up we slogged through the thick mud river passage until it got deep enough to float, so we continued to swim to the last section where the first duck under is located.

Adam Haydock, Steve Keene, and Chris parks swimming to the sump and , Ken, Justin, and Cody watch in Dempster lake in Webster Cave Photo By Gina Schaefer

We checked out gear and buoyancy to ensure everything was in place and tied off to a rock in the ceiling. Our support crew was by outside as Steve, Chris, and I explained what we are going to do.

Brian Hunsaker assisting Chris Parks and Adam Haydock in Preparing to dive the Dempster Lake Resurgence Passage in Webster Cave, Kentucky. Photo by Justin Thompson

  Our plan is to have Steve go through the first duck under to find the dome room where the sump is located while Chris and I wait for him to come back.  Once he has found the dome room we were going to located the sump and Steve was going ot continue to push the sump until he popped up in air passage significant enough to survey, or until he hit his thirds. Once this was accomplished, Chris and I would follow the guide line to this new passage and start the survey, take photos, and video.  Steve proceeded underwater and shortly after found the dome so Chris and I proceeded to follow the guideline.  We proceeded underwater and popped up in the dome room.

Adam Haydock, Steve Keene, and Chris Parks about dive the sump in the Dempster Lake Resurgence Passage 3 miles back in Webster cave, Kentucky.  Photo By Justin Thompson.
Once we got into the dome room, the flaking ceiling was accurate with the description but everything else was not.  The water viz was next to zero and the banks of this small dome room were mud.  The bottom was 3-4 inches of mud.  We followed the description of the location where Jeff saw this rock bottom and 30x40 entrance and Steve was not able to find any such entrance.  The zero viz conditions made it difficult so see but Steve was able to find plenty of mud banks and walls, yet no underwater passage or current of water. 

Steve Keene about to search for the entrance to the resurgence in the last small dome in Webster Cave
After 15 minutes of looking around in the location, Chris took the line and continued to look around for the entrance.  Chris followed some kind of passage in zero viz that brought him in a round about, back out to where we started.  That was confusing and quite interesting as it helped answer one of jeffs questions as to where that passage was leading, its leading back into the dome room.  I was looking around at the bottom and kept running into mud banks and walls. The total depth was around 10 ft and our total dive/search time was around a half hour.  We decided to call the dive and return to the kayak due to the zero visibility conditions and the fact that we were not able to accurately locate the passage. We also got line in the passage now and decided to save the remaining gas for the siphon and for the springs the following day.  From the round about passage that Chris found, we feel that this underwater passage might be a honey combed passage with a maze of sub passages that could twist in different directions which could render line entanglements and even have a chance of severing the line.  We also had the hypothermia clock running on the rest of the team so our decision was made to pursue the other lead instead of continuing with this one.  We did find some walnuts floating in the water along with a drug prescription bottle which indicated that the water is coming from the surface somewhere, among other places…but where? 

Adam Haydock Preparing the ikelite camera housing to photo the siphon. Photo By: Kevin Romanak
We returned back to the kayak and proceeded to load the tanks and main diving gear back onto the kayak so we could travel down to the other sump.  The group preceded downstream to the junction where the mud slope is located and where the watercourse continues down and under breakdown back into a river leading under the ceiling.  I proceeded to walk downstream and check out this insurgence to see if there was a potential to dive the river.   Chris Joined me in the decision to pursue the sump and after I went back there I felt that it was not going to work but Chris went back there and felt like there might be potential so I came back and we both looked around for where the water was going under the ceiling.

Steve Keene after the dive. Photo By: Kevin Romanak
It was difficult to locate exactly where the watercourse was continuing as the length of the ceiling was around 15-20ft, the ground up chert bottom and ceiling was around a height of 3 to 4ft. in zero visibility.  If Chris and I would have pushed this sump, we would be belly crawling, underwater, with our dive gear, going with the current, in zero visibility.  We decided that this was something that we did not want to do so we looked around with our feet to see if we could feel our feet splashing around on the other side.  It was hard to tell because of the small dome pockets in the ceiling of this passage that have air in them.  I held on to Chris’s foot and slowly worked by way down the sump with my mouth breathing on the ceiling with splashes of water starting to enter my mouth. I took a deep breath and continued down until I was at a point where I was going to get to far from Chris’s foot.  There was nothing that I could feel so I backed up and came back up.  Chris and I searched around the area of the end of this passage and could not find anything.  We decided to turn back and start the process to exit the cave.

Pat Mudd and Kevin Romanak Loading tanks into the Kayak in Webster Cave. Photo By: Gina Schaefer
We got back to the junction and started to pack our gear away and ascend up the slogging mud slope.   It was quite difficult to get the kayak up the slope with all the gear but eventually we were able to get everything up and got started on loading the kayaks.  Soon after we all made it to the top of the mud slope, it started to cascade which sounded so loud that we thought that water was raging into the cave from somewhere. I took note of the sump, the passage, the mud slope, the siphon, the walls and ceiling and started to think about how the water would actually get up this slope and have enough pressure to blast itself through the rocky horror passage down the main trunk passage and out of the cave in the way that it has been seen to leave the cave. 

Adam Haydock packing dive gear before exiting the cave. Photo By: Kevin Romanak

After leaving the passage and walking out through the water and over the breakdown, I told Chris that it feels like we are leaving with more questions than we got answers on this trip.  The water source doesn’t make sense and after being in the Dempster lake passage, I am not sure if the water rises to a point that it floods the rest of Webster cave.  For this to happen, it would take a massive amount of water pressure and the ground, walls, ceiling, and the low siphon ceiling might look a bit different, smooth, water cut, and the tops of the mud slope would be soaking wet,... more on this later. 

 The cavers that got a bit cold got a chance to heat back up by carrying and dragging the gear through the rocky horror passage and back into the main trunk passage eventually leading out of the cave 11 hours and 30 minutes from when we started.

Ken Penguin, Kevin Romanak, Gina Schaefer, and other portaging over breakdown in Webster Cave Kentucky. Photo by Justin Thompson.
The group was scattered as we were leaving that cave but most of us met at the parks ave confluence in the main trunk passage.  Some people ended up going up this passage to see some amazing formations and active flowstones which appeared to be quite impressive from the pictures that they took. I continued to exit the cave and got within 100ft from the entrance where I left the kayak with the two tanks to get out of the cave, change, eat, and get back inside to take the kayak the last 100ft to the entrance.
Afterwards, people started trickling out of the cave and started to gather around the fire with some great food that Gerald made for us.  The bourbon was flowing and debriefing conversations were in action.  People were sharing their stories on their perspective of the trip and it was good so see that everyone had a blast!

Kevin Romanak and Brian Hunsaker in the main trunk kayak passage of Webster Cave, Kentucky.  Photo by Justin Thompson.
As I was sitting around the fire , I was thinking about the Dempster Lake resurgence and thinking back to when I was in the cave as to how Dempster lake could ever push the amount of water through that sump, down the passage and create so much pressure, that the water would rise almost 40ft. and continue upstream, past the 600 ft. rocky horror breakdown pile and continue to rise into the main trunk of the cave, than have enough pressure to continue another 2 ½ miles out of the spring entrance with a vengeance.  I think that the sump would be a lot bigger due to the water pressure, the siphon would be a lot bigger than what it is, and if that siphon feeds Penitentiary cave, than I think that the water would blast up and out of that cave. Also how come the top of the mounds we not drenched with wet slogging mud?  It was wet mud but that mud passage might look a bit different than how it looked to us.   It also occurred to me that when the mud slope started to run, water was flowing down the mud slope and into Dempster Lake.  The ceiling of Dempster Lake and the top of the mud slope are not even.  A lot of things don’t add up to the original idea that I had based on what I saw.  Plus, why was the water murky and why did it have a higher flow in dry conditions?  Is this because new sink holes have opening up and mud was introduced into the cave, or is a nearby quarry feeding water back underground and now its finding its way through Dempster Lake?  I am not sure what that answer is to those questions but the walnuts and the prescription bottles indicate there are tributaries that connect to the Dempster Lake passage and if a ridge walk was able to be established in the proposed area where Dempster lake is located, I think that this can give us some more evidence as to where the water is coming from and where a dye trace can be conducted based on sinks that might be found taking in water in a rain storm.  Furthermore, maybe prescription bottles can give a clue as to the residents of the area and who might be using these bottles.  Put all these little pieces together and this might be a good starting point to continue the search as to where that water is coming from in the Dempster Lake Resurgence, but for now, the mystery will remain with Webster Cave as the cave did not want to give up those answers.

  An Alternative to the rising water theory is that the main waterworks is coming from the east bore passage which appears to be a bit higher in elevation than the main trunk which is higher than Dempster Lake.  This might mean that a significant amount of water might come from the east bore sump and a collective of other smaller sumps that might render the high cubic feet of water evacuating from the spring entrance in high flow conditions. I am leaning more towards this theory than my previous theory as to where the water is coming form based on what I saw and it makes more sense to me that if the east bore sump is a large emerald green pool of water and drains down into the trunk, than this might have a significant clue beyond the east bore sump.  The water course might have an easier way of finding its exit through the spring and relief down the mud slope and into the siphon of Dempster Lake.  For now the WCCSG has some clues to pursue including dye traces and other ideas to entertain coming into 2015 which can help continue the evolution of the Webster Cave Project. 
Webster Cave's Spring entrance during high flow Photo By Christopher G. Anderson
Overall I consider this trip to be a success as we were able to accomplish most of our objectives except for surveying new cave passage. I am willing to consider a return trip to Webster Cave to pursue the east bore sump as I find this to be rather interesting based on how it was described to me.
Webster Cave Spring Entrance during normal flow conditions Photo By Christopher Anderson
When I got up on Sunday I helped drag the rest of the kayaks and gear out of the cave and decided to head back to Chicago while Gina and Ken went to push Gerald's Hole and Steve and Chris went to Fiddle Springs.  According to Chris, Fiddle Springs has clear water coming out of the ground but might be too tight for a caver to fit through without some movement of rocks.  This will be a future work in progress for a potential dive trip into the spring.   Gina and Ken were able to go back to into Geralds Hole and pushed thru the thick mud and into a passage where there was a climb down.  According to Ken they climbed down and continued to go to a restriction that will need to be dug out on a future trip.

Ken Penguinn and Gina Schaefer after Geralds hole

Ken Penguinn and Gina Schaefer after Geralds Hole Kentucky

I want to thank The Webster Cave Complex Survey Group for allowing us to join them on this trip and for all of the pre planning that went into helping prepare the dive plan.  I want to thank the local land owners that allowed us to visit Webster Cave and the other surrounding caves, your continued support will allow the WCCSG and other cavers to study your underground lands which can help identify and discover new places while understanding the karst geo-hydrology.  I want to thank Cave Country Kayaks for sponsoring kayak rental so we could mobilize this expedition.  I want to thank Gerald Clayton for staying top side and managing the basecamp which played a critical role in ensuring our comfort and safety when we left the cave by having a fire going, food cooking, and having all the accommodations we could have imagined.  Gerald was our medical connection in case we had a incident that needed medical attention so I want to recognize Gerald for being ready to help set up the medical procedure.  I want to thank Jon Durall for bringing Webster Cave to my attention and for putting me in contact with Jeff Gillette.  I want to thank Jeff for partnering up with me and organizing this operation and for taking me around sinking creek valley so I could learn more about the region and visit some of the caves in the area including Penienitary Cave with permission from the landowner. I want to thank Pat Mudd, and Gary Fisher for joining our group and helping us by hauling the gear.  I want to thank Cody Miller, Justin Thompson, Kevin Romanak, Ken Penguin, Gina Schaefer, Chris Parks, Steve Keene, and Brian Hunsaker for your dedication to make this trip a successful endeavor.

Cody Miller, Ken Penguinn, Gary Fisher, Adam Haydock, Brian Hunsaker, Pat Mudd, Jeff Gillette, Justin Thompson, Kevin Romanak, Chris Parks, Steve Keene at the entrance of Webster Cave
I want to thank Christopher G. Anderson for allowing me to use his photos in this blog.  The hard work and dedication he has put into the Webster Cave Complex and in photography speaks to his passion for this cave and I want to recognize that and his excellent photography.
learn more about Christopher Andersons photography and see more Webster cave pictures here: http://www.pbase.com/darklightimagery
Christopher G. Anderson Self Portrait in Webster Cave

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