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Monday, January 12, 2009

Cave!

My friend Jason was successful in finding the cave the other day, and I was anxious to get out and see it myself. Luckily this time of year the days are slow so we were able to meet up today and get out there. As soon as we entered the woods we saw a deer high on a ridge above us. As she looked down at us, barely visible between the trees, fog drifting in the air, it really felt like a good omen. It took a little bit of searching to find the entrance back but as soon as we came across a deep trench we knew we were close. Here is the entrance to the cave with Jason getting ready to put his helmet on.

You have to climb up on a little ledge to get into the main part of the cave. The tunnel really doesn't lead all that far back, but far enough to slither around a few corners and hide plenty of cool little animals, so it was easy to spend a bit of time in there. The cave stays close to the surface and in a couple of places there are some vents that let in natural light, like this one:


On either side of the "main passage" there are some shallow crevices that lead back. Here is one, showing the large drops of water that are on the ceiling of most of the cave:

Jason has done a lot of cave research in the past, and is full of awesome (and some harrowing) stories about exploring caves and searching for cave critters. Check out his blog for some of his photos of today. Here he is photographing a cave moth:


Here I am exploring a crevice for critters. There was some cool orange fungus growing in this hole too:


I didn't have a proper helmet with headlamp, but still managed to maneuver my flashlight in ways to get some cool shots of cave critters. Here are my favorite images of a spider, snail, and moth. Notice the drop of water ready to drip off the snail shell:




What a fun adventure it was today!

7 comments:

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika - adventurous indeed...not for me caving got stuckish and left behind once... spectacular cathedral sized cavern at end though.

Are you able to Id's on those hibernating moths? Latin names would be handy as you may well have different common names over there. They look very similar to species over here.

Cheers

Dave

Michelle Savoie said...

HI Monika!
I hope you are enjoying the lovely winter atmosphere of San Juan Island. I miss all those slow quite days. You blog is just wonderful and I feel like I get to live vicariously through it. Thanks for keeping it updated and for all the beautiful photos. Truly I can not complain too much though, as this is the nicest Portland winter I can remember. Still longing for a little ocean, maybe an orca or even a harbor seal...for now just in my imagination. :) OK back to studying for me!
Michelle

Monika said...

Dave, I would definitely be more leery of narrow passages in longer caves myself, but I was okay because this one was so small. I'm not sure on the moths, but I'll look into it and let you know!

Michelle,
You're right about the days being slow and quiet. SO different from those bustling summer days - what a change of pace! It's all right but I hate how early it gets dark! I'm glad you're enjoying the blog and photos. Good luck with your studies!

Monika said...

That wasn't too hard to narrow down...my best guess on the moth is the Tissue moth, triphosa haesitata, which commonly winters in caves in this part of the country. It's definitely in the triphosa genus, if not that specific species. I'd be interested to hear if you have it as well!

Monika said...

Triphosa califnorniata looks like the other main possibility.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Monika

The only Triphosa species we have is also called The Tissue but it not the same species as your Tissue...very confusing!

See http://www.ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3468

Having unfeasable difficulties with the works website this morning AAAARRRGGGHHH www.solariscentre.org...if it'll open for you....!!!???

ADVENTURES IN NATURE said...

WOW! That is SO COOL to find a CAVE!!! I love to tour caves, we have lots of them in south Texas especially southwest of San Antonio and I've always wondered what it would be like to come across one that hadn't been discovered - you know there must be tons of them out there! Be careful though, they aren't very forgiving and can be full of surprises. Please post more about the new cave if you have any news.