July 18 – Brenmark and Parachute Caves Excursion
Besides IGP, Brenmark Cave was my first local cave. We met at the Brewhouse on Charlotte Avenue at 18:00. In attendance was Dave Wascher, Joe Stewart, David Frasier, Rob Stewart, Bill Harpst, me, Tim and his girlfriend. For the evening, the agenda held a trip to Brenmark Cave, a rare opportunity, and Parachute Cave. We loaded up and traveled on to Brenmark Cave first. The Cave was a nice crawl, with little formations in the beginning. The ceiling did hold nice oceanic fossils, when one carefully looked. The first major formation encountered was this partial breakdown that was slowly being reclaimed by current formations.
Beyond that was another crawl that took us to a clay pit.
This is Bill coming up through to the clay pit.
This is Dave breaching the rim of the clay pit. This became the resting and conversing point for those who did not wish to explore the smaller areas.
You can see Joe’s head, Tim in the background, Rob’s back as he moves on to the rest of the cave, and David Frasier, wiping his face. A few of us did go further to the determined “end” of the cave, which was a tight winding crawl into a small domed room. It was big enough for the four of us to turn around in. Tim’s girlfriend, Dave, and I did explore another small region of the cave that had many different formations usually reaching from the low ceiling to the floor.
This is Dave coming through some of those formations.
This is some more formations.
The only biological that were noted were these salamanders, but I was not looking for the beetles at this time. This is a good one of one of those salamanders. Overall, it was a cave for the area. Not too large, some open areas, some tight areas, and a nice central resting point.
Tim & his girlfriend. While preparing to go on to Parachute Cave, three decided to part ways and only Joe Stewart, David Frasier, Dave Wascher, Rob Stewart, and I were left. This is my second local cave, aside from IGP, of course, and I was excited to visit this cave, since I’ve heard quite a bit about it. We parked in our designated parking area and walked the bit to the cave entrance. The climb to the entrance was easy enough, and we were ready to enter. There was a 10-foot crawl to the chimney down into the cave. This is Joe Stewart’s descent down the 15-foot chimney into the cave.
The first chamber was pretty, but then again, you are talking to a person who can be wowed by the simplest things of nature. This is the ceiling in the first chamber.
There is a short crawl to the left of the chimney that took us to the second chamber. This chamber had much nicer formations.
We went to the far side to see the pit. This is a nice formation along the way. It sort of reminded me of the fountain in IGP. That is Rob Stewart on the other side of the formation.
This is David Frasier and Rob Stewart in the pit.
The water drops you see in the photo are not on my lens, but are actually raining down from the ceiling. This is the ceiling of the pit.
We decided to start moving out. This is David Frasier and Rob Stewart climbing out of the pit.
At the rim of the “pit” is an old rope connected at the top of the flowstone. None of us were stupid enough to try to use this rope to climb, not knowing how long it had been there. Courtesy of Joe, this me looking to see what might be up there.
Dave and Joe were waiting for the rest of us while we were at the pit.
There was a hole in the floor about 8 feet down. The last time Dave had been in this cave, he said that hole was full of water. Rob and I descended into this hole to check it out. We couldn’t go very far. This is me by the hole, courtesy of Joe.
By the time I got out of the hole, David Frasier had found a nice spot to rest.
And possibly this formation is the reason why Parachute got its name .. ?
We all made it out safely, and headed to the trucks. After cleaning up a bit and changing of clothes, we all headed back to Brew House for the after caving meal.